July 2023 Symposium & National Assembly Meetings: Highlights

July 17, 2023

July 2023 Symposium & National Assembly Meetings: Highlights

Following their hearts to The Heart of Hadassah — Pride, Passion and Purpose symposium and the July 2023 National Assembly/Business Meetings in Chicago, nearly 250 Hadassah leaders, members, Associates, donors and staff gathered to show their support for Hadassah’s mission to heal our world.

The rooms at the symposium were “filled with the air of inspiration,” said Hadassah National President Rhoda Smolow. “It is all about sharing Hadassah’s joy.”

Exceptional Speakers and Discussions

During the two-day symposium, panel discussions highlighted the Hadassah Medical Organization doctors who perform lifesaving work with the latest medical innovations, women leaders who live the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) every day, the next generation who is embracing and educating on Zionism, and Rhoda's learnings during her tenure as president in an interview with Maayan Hoffman, The Jerusalem Post’s deputy CEO-strategy & innovation and host of the Hadassah On Call podcast.

Distinguished symposium speakers included, among others, Meredith Jacobs, CEO of Jewish Women International; Dr. Erica Brown, vice provost for values and leadership at Yeshiva University; Jennifer Griffin, national security correspondent at Fox News; Destiny Albritton, national outreach director at the Israel Campus Coalition; Prof. Yoram Weiss, director general of the Hadassah Medical Organization; Dr. Alexander Gileles-Hillel, senior pediatric pulmonologist and sleep researcher at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus; Dr. Lisandro Luques, pediatric surgeon at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem; Dr. Henry Chill, urogynecologist at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem; and Dr. Adar Zinger, head of the IBD Center at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.

Meredith Jacobs gave sage advice for the women in the audience. "As women, we lift as we rise,” she said. “We make space for other women. We pull them up. We create a world where we all thrive. That’s what I encourage you all to do as you leave here today.”

The symposium also offered many meaningful opportunities for learning, with workshops focused on Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah and Young Judaea with Youth Aliyah Chair Marcie Natan and Young Judaea Team Member Elaine Silver, Israel and the media with Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Daniel Aschheim, Israel innovation with Maayan Hoffman and more. Learning, as Rhoda noted, “is part of our DNA.”

Important Moments

The National Assembly Meetings held many poignant moments. Said Hadassah CEO Naomi Adler in her address to the attendees, "It’s a very exciting time to be a leader of Hadassah. We have made tremendous strides so far this year. Through our collective efforts, we make a significant difference in the world around us." Important news and presentations from the National Assembly Meetings included:

  • Hadassah delegates elected Carol Ann Schwartz as the 28th Hadassah national president. A proud member of a four-generation Hadassah family, Carol Ann will begin her four-year term on January 1, 2024. She brings over 30 years of Hadassah leadership expertise to the role.
  • Hadassah delegates elected Michelle Hubertus, current national treasurer, as a national vice president and Viviane Kovacs, current coordinator of the Philanthropy Division, as national treasurer. They will begin their three-year terms on January 1, 2024. Scroll down to see additional election results.
  • Hadassah passed two new policy statements: Strengthening the Abraham Accords and Affirming Support for Reproductive Health Medication.
  • Hadassah volunteer leaders and senior staff presented updates on the work and impact of their divisions in driving Hadassah's mission.
  • Hadassah Office in Israel Executive Director Suzanne Patt Benvenisti and Hadassah Zionist Scholar-in-Residence Michelle Rojas-Tal had a compelling conversation about current events in Israel, moderated by Hadassah Zionist Educator Diana Diner.  

The meetings ended with a special moment for Rhoda, who noted that these were her first and last July meetings. Hadassah leaders presented Rhoda with a plaque in commemoration of a bench that was donated to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in her honor. Rhoda steps down as national president on December 31, 2023.

Additional Election Results

GRA Board Members


Clara Gillman


Susan Musicant Shikora


Michele Rubin

At-Large Board Members

Stephanie Z. Bonder

Michelle Conwisar

Tracey Drayer

Gail Hammerman

Sally Kleinman

Dale Marcus

Cathy Olswing

Frieda Rosenberg

Rhonda Saunders

Diane Sigel

Cheryl Sperber

Laurie Werner

Deborah Wiskind

Elected Members of the 2024 Finance Committee

Lynda Heyman

Debbie Knight

Barbara Shurberg

Diane Sigel

Laurie Werner

Elected Chair of the 2024 Nominating Committee

Roni Schwartz

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