Suzanne Patt Benvenisti Joins Hadassah’s Israel Offices as Deputy Executive Director; Will Be Named Executive Director in January

Gidon Melmed becomes Israel Offices’ deputy executive director for development

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Alix Friedman

NEW YORK, NY — Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is pleased to announce that Suzanne Patt Benvenisti has joined Hadassah’s Israel Offices as Deputy Executive Director. Reporting to Executive Director Audrey Shimron, she will represent Hadassah’s interests in Israel and oversee a staff of 26 fundraising, public relations and other professionals. In January, she will become Executive Director when Ms. Shimron, one of the most highly valued members of Hadassah’s leadership team, becomes Executive Director Emeritus after 40 years at Hadassah.

Ms. Patt Benvenisti will work closely with Prof. Yoram Weiss, MD, Director General of the Hadassah Medical Organization, and former Speaker of the Knesset Dalia Itzik, Chair of its board, to elevate the Jerusalem medical center’s reputation in Israel and around the world. In addition, she will represent the interests of Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, before the Israeli government, which oversees and helps support public hospitals in Israel. She will also work with the organization’s youth villages, which provide wraparound services for at-risk Israeli teens; build and strengthen partnerships with other Jewish organizations in Israel; and oversee the ongoing collaboration between the organization’s Israel and American philanthropy and marketing teams.

Hadassah is also pleased to announce that Gidon Melmed has been named Deputy Executive Director for Development at the Israel Offices, where he has been Director, Development, Donors and Events, since joining Hadassah in 2016. Mr. Melmed’s responsibilities will include collaborating with Hadassah’s hospitals to set fundraising priorities, taking the lead in identifying and stewarding high-level donors and providing strategic direction to Hadassah’s international fundraising operation. He will report to Ms. Patt Benvenisti.

Suzanne (“Suzie”) Patt Benvenisti’s background includes work in social and health care policy, child welfare, youth programs and nonprofit management. Before joining Hadassah, she spent 10 years at Jerusalem’s Taub Center for Social Policy Studies, most recently as Director General managing a $2.9 million budget and a 32-person staff. She played a key role in doubling the Center’s budget and staff and increasing the reach and impact of the Center’s research on social policy and philanthropy in Israel. She oversaw the launch of the Center’s early childhood initiative and the development and implementation of a five-year strategic plan.

Ms. Patt Benvenisti, who was born in the US and immigrated to Israel in 2011, previously served as the director of public policy at Aetna. She has worked in development for Homes for the Homeless in New York City and the Israel Scouts in Tel Aviv and has consulted on strategic and operations planning for the Community Partnership for Protecting Children in Portland, Maine. With her husband, she spent a year volunteering at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, which provides a home for children orphaned by the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath. The village is modeled on Israel’s youth villages, two of which Hadassah operates and which were built for the children of Holocaust victims.

Ms. Patt Benvenisti has personal as well as professional ties to medicine and to Hadassah. The daughter of Israeli physicians who attended Hadassah Medical School, she met her husband at Camp Tel Yehudah, the teen leadership camp of Young Judea, whose Israel and camping programs Hadassah has supported since 1936. She was a camper and later a staff member at several Young Judaea camps, a regional president of Young Judaea in Texas and a member of the organization’s national board.

“Suzie’s knowledge of Israel’s health care sector gives her invaluable insight into the issues Hadassah’s hospitals face,” said Rhoda Smolow, Hadassah National President. “That insight, combined with her leadership skills, myriad achievements and experience in all areas of nonprofit administration, ensures that she will be an excellent representative of Hadassah, a true partner for our hospitals’ leadership and an exceptional manager.”

Added Hadassah CEO Naomi Adler, “Suzie is very fortunate to have a strong and experienced senior leadership team, including Gidon Melmed. Gidon has done a superb job leading the Israel Offices’ philanthropy effort, without which our hospitals would not be able to deliver the outstanding care for which they are known.”

Said Ms. Patt Benvenisti, “This multifaceted position gives me the opportunity to bring together many aspects of my personal and professional background and to put into practice everything I have learned in my previous roles. There is no place I would rather do that than at Hadassah, an organization at the forefront of health care innovation in Israel and a place to which I and my family have such a strong personal connection.”

Suzanne Patt Benvenisti earned a master’s degree in public policy (MPP) from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA in political science, summa cum laude, from Barnard College. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and three children.

Gidon Melmed holds an MBA from Swinburne University of Technology and a BSc in life sciences from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has more than two decades of experience leading nonprofit organizations in Israel and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.


Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With nearly 300,000 members, Associates and supporters, HWZOA brings women together to effect change and advocate on such critical issues as ensuring the security of Israel, combating antisemitism and promoting women’s health. Through the two hospitals of the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) in Jerusalem, HWZOA helps support both exemplary care for more than one million people every year and world-renowned medical research. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2005 for building bridges to peace through medicine. Additionally, HWZOA supports several Youth Aliyah villages that set at-risk children in Israel on the path to a successful future. For more information, visit or follow Hadassah on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.