You’ll need more than two hands to count how many times Jody Comins, 55, has been to Israel. And with 25 years of being actively involved in the Boston Jewish community, she has the experience and expertise to thrive as Hadassah’s Evolve Israel Travel chair.
Earlier on her Jewish professional career path, Jody served as a leader in Boston’s Jewish communal world, working at JCC Greater Boston, Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters. A founder and past board president of MetroWest Jewish Day School, Jody now works as a divorce and family mediator and is the author of Speaking Out: Voices of Adult Children of Divorce.
In 2015, Jody’s ties to Hadassah were formalized when she became a Hadassah Leadership Fellow (HLF). She has since traveled to Israel with Hadassah four times: once as a Fellow, twice leading Momentum partnership trips for Hadassah of New England, and once as a bus leader for eight Hadassah communities. “Each trip had its own highlights,” Jody says. But it was on the HLF trip that she first visited Hadassah’s Meir Shfeyah Youth Aliyah Village and the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO).
“I loved seeing both places that I had learned about for so long.” She even went back the following year with her family so they could learn about the miracles that happen there.
Now, as chair of Evolve Israel Travel, she oversees three Evolve Hadassah: The Next Generation programs: Momentum partnership trips, Evolve Israel Experience (EIE) and Evolve Leadership Fellows, a natural step up from national Hadassah Momentum outreach co-chair. Jody and her Hadassah volunteer and staff partners have been creating itineraries for EIE and Evolve Leadership Fellows, highly subsidized and curated trips for a select group of Hadassah women, including an EIE trip this October.
“I am most excited to share my love of Israel with women who have never been or haven’t been in a long time. I can’t wait for them to experience Shfeyah and HMO and also the sights and smells in the markets, the beautiful Mediterranean and the sound of Hebrew everywhere. We have a lot of great activities in store for them.”
Yet it’s not only travel and a love for Israel that drew Jody into the world of Hadassah. “I’m a Zionist and love all Hadassah does to support the State of Israel,” she says. “I’m also really proud of the lobbying that happens here in the US.” Jody is particularly pleased that Hadassah lobbied for BRCA legislation calling for insurance companies to pay for BRCA genetic counseling and testing for women who meet certain personal and/or family history criteria.
A lifetime member of Hadassah since birth, she grew up in Marblehead, Mass. learning Hebrew words from the back of Hadassah Magazine, loving Hebrew school and being keenly interested in Israel’s history, people and culture. At 17, she embarked on her first Israel adventure, igniting a lifelong love for Israel and a fascination with Hebrew. “I wanted to speak Hebrew fluently, live in this community and walk barefoot on a kibbutz all the days of my life.”
After studying Hebrew at George Washington University for two years, Jody found herself on yet another kibbutz as part of a Haifa University program. Upon returning to the states to study at the University of Massachusetts, destiny intervened, and she landed her dream job of promoting Israel on campus.
Jody’s daughters — Talia, 23, and Elizabeth, 20 — are following in her footsteps. Both have strong Jewish identities and have visited Israel multiple times, either with family, their Jewish school or Jewish camp. “I hope that they find their place in the larger Jewish community when the time is right. If it’s with Hadassah, of course that’s a bonus!”
Jody has traveled to Israel even more times that are not described here, recently blogging about her latest Israel adventures.
Excited about the opportunity to travel to Israel with Hadassah? Visit our Evolve Israel Travel webpage for details and requirements for the Evolve Israel Experience. Trip dates are October 23 to November 1, 2023 and applications are due April 24.
Read more about Evolve Hadassah: The Next Generation.
Meet the first class of Evolve Hadassah Fellows.