Our Members

Women to Watch, Women Who DO

Hadassah honors the amazingly interesting, diverse and accomplished members of Hadassah. Each member brings a unique and powerful voice and perspective to our organizational tapestry.

We are excited to showcase and honor these members—Women To Watch, Women Who DO.

We live in every Congressional district in the nation. We are mothers and daughters, nurses and doctors, housewives and teachers, activists. An invisible connection binds us to each other, into a community. We share a profound love for the Jewish people, and Israel. We share a commitment to women and believe in women’s strength—and our own. We strive to act on our Jewish values, and make the world just a little better, every day. Above all, we know that each of us can make a difference and that, together, we can transform the world, and change history. We know it because we’ve been doing it for a century, and we won’t stop now. Come along with us, into our second century.

Hadassah Women Who Do

Lori Good
San Diego, CA

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a pediatric dentist and have been practicing in San Diego for 25 years. I love working with children, but particularly like treating children and adults with disabilities.  I met my husband in dental school and we have been married for 25 years. Our oldest daughter, Melissa, is a sophomore at the University of California, Davis, majoring in Animal Science, and hoping to become a vet.  My younger daughter, Jenna, is currently a senior in High School and is applying to college in order to become a sign language interpreter.

How did you get involved with Hadassah?
Once I finally finished what seemed like years of schooling and joined the working world, I decided that it was time to start giving back to my community.  I happened to see an ad in a local Jewish newspaper, advertising a meeting of young women who were interested in volunteering and raising funds for Hadassah Hospital in Israel.  As often happens with Hadassah groups, I was asked to take on a leadership role almost from the beginning. Over the years, I have served as Treasurer, Secretary, and President of my chapter.

What is it about Hadassah that resonates with you?
From the beginning, I have been impressed that Hadassah is almost completely volunteer driven.  Because Hadassah is an organization with so few paid staff, almost all the money we raise goes to the projects we fund. As a dentist, I am particularly interested in the science and research that comes out of Hadassah. I’m impressed that in so many areas, we are at the forefront of medical research.

Share something you would like people to know about you.
Many of the women I met that first day at that first Hadassah meeting are still my friends.  We've shared Shabbats together, raised our kids together, and become family to each other over the years. 

Amy Degen
Groton, MA

Tell us a little about yourself.
Born in New Jersey, I moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut when I was eight. Graduating from Cornell University with a Masters in City and Regional Planning, my city planning jobs were all for Community Development Corporations, working on affordable housing. My husband of thirty years and I have two daughters-- Danya who lives in D.C., and Alia, a senior at the University of Vermont.
I just completed a three-year Co-Presidency with my chapter. I have coordinated the Hadassah CHECK IT OUT program where we have educated over 16,000 students since 1998 about Breast and Testicular Cancer. I am working on a Hadassah L’Dor V’Dor multi-generational program for my region, which involves bringing together life members who have not been involved with Hadassah.
I am a Holocaust educator, and currently teach at my synagogue. I am on the Boards of the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation and the Groton Interfaith Council. I am a Co-founder of the Groton Area Jewish Community Group and help coordinate food for Christmas day for shut-in seniors. I brought the movie Paper Clips to my town that resulted in students collecting over 1.5 million pennies, which are now displayed in a container at our middle school.

How did you get involved with Hadassah?
I was made a life member by my mother-in-law in 1991. I vividly remember attending the Hadassah program that day at her Chapter, and being pinned by a sweet older member. I kept saying “I haven’t done anything for Hadassah,” and she responded that I will. My mother-in-law’s sister was Miriam Portman, who was a Region President of Hadassah Northern New England and a National Board Member. She was my Hadassah mentor. When I moved to Groton, MA, I looked for a local Hadassah chapter to join. Coincidentally, I became a member of Nashoba Valley Hadassah, which was a chapter that Miriam had mentored and helped establish.

What is it about Hadassah that resonates with you?
I love that Hadassah helps me feel connected to the State of Israel. I love supporting cutting-edge research and medical care at the Hadassah Hospitals. I am passionate about organizing and creating programs and Hadassah gives me that opportunity. I am big on L’Dor V’Dor, and Hadassah allows me to be a link in the chain of supporting Judaism and Hadassah from generation to generation.

Share something you would like people to know about you
In the summer of 2015, my husband and I drove from Krakow to Bialystok (in Poland), where my ancestors had lived and were murdered during the Holocaust. There are two Holocaust Memorials in Bialystok, the only proof that there was Jewish life in the region. We formed a family-and-friend volunteer crew of 11, to restore the largest cemetery in Bialystok, where all the gravestones were knocked down or vandalized. This restoration will help to ensure that the cemetery will not be built upon by the Polish government.

Maxine, Rochelle and Alana Schube
Atlanta, GA

Tell us a little about yourself.
Maxine (Maxx): I was born in NY and moved to Atlanta when starting high school. At 15, I met my husband, Keith, an Atlanta native, at the Jewish community center. We married right after graduating from college and recently celebrated our 33rd anniversary. We have three children: Rochelle, Jeremy and Alana. I am one of three girls. My middle sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 33 (20 years ago) but genetic testing was in its infancy, and we had no female cancers in the family. Six years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 41. The doctors recommended genetic testing, and we found out I had the BRCA1 mutation. My parents were tested. My father was the carrier. We were told to have our children tested when they were in their 20s.

Rochelle: I am a LMSW and a bereavement coordinator and counselor at Crossroads Hospice. After watching my family's pain after my aunt passed away when I was only 10, I knew I wanted to help other people during such a difficult time. I am also proud to be an ambassador for an organization called Bright Pink that provides support for young women at high risk for these cancers. I had genetic testing at 23, tested positive for BRCA1, and opted to have my breasts and ovaries checked every six months, thinking that when I reached 30 I would talk to my doctors about prophylactic surgery. When my younger sister was 23 and I was 28, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had my routine MRI scheduled, and they saw a suspicious irregularity. Unable to do a needle biopsy, my surgeon recommended a double mastectomy. Luckily mine was benign, but I am relieved that I don't have to worry about breast cancer anymore.

Alana: I am an elementary school teacher at The Davis Academy, the Jewish day school I attended growing up. Knowing my mom had breast cancer I decided on genetic testing at 21. I tested positive for BRCA1 and was told I did not need surveillance until I was 25. At 23, I was finishing college and student teaching at the University of Georgia. I continued doing breast self-exams, and one day I felt a lump. Because I knew I was at high risk and carried the BRCA gene, I went for a biopsy and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Knowing saved my life. I went from a full-time to student to a full-time patient overnight.

How did you get involved with Hadassah?
We are a four-generation Hadassah family. Maxx's grandmother (Rose Sandler) and her sister (Esther Forman) were founding members, major donors. There is a rose garden at Hadassah Medical Center Ein Karem named for Rose. We have heard about Hadassah from the time we were born, and are all lifetime members. We were raised with the knowledge that Hadassah women are known as "Women who do!" We were always updated about the medical breakthroughs constantly being discovered at Hadassah hospital. Hadassah is the organization that discovered the link between Ashkenazi Jews and the BRCA mutation, and that knowledge got us to where we are today.

What is it about Hadassah that resonates with you?
We were not very active in Hadassah until we were honored last year at the 2016 Atlanta Breast Strokes Event. This is when we really felt the power of these extraordinary women. Once we delved in, we learned the power of Hadassah. We have been updated, are utilizing the latest medical research being discovered, are impressed with the awareness and education that is being spread, and Hadassah's important advocacy for women and their health issues. We have experienced firsthand lifelong friendships with extraordinary women and our own personal growth. We are proud of the context that Hadassah provides for our rich Jewish continuity. We are grateful to be a part of all of it!

Share something you would like people to know about you
Our goal in coming forward with our story is to show that breast cancer doesn't care how old you are: It is not our mother's disease anymore. Young women need to know their own bodies, pay attention to irregularities, be empowered , be educated. You can save your own life (like Alana did) or someone else's.

Maxine: Although both of my daughters tested BRCA positive, our son was negative for the gene. He was lucky. But men can and do carry the gene, so men, boys, and sons should be tested, too. My girls are all good now! Our story has a happy ending, and we want other people's story to be happy, too!

Keeley Kossof
Vernon Hills, IL

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 42 years old, vision impaired and a mother to my 13-year-old son, Adam. I am divorced, but in a wonderful and fulfilling relationship for the last five years. Family as well as friends are very important to me. Before losing my vision, I worked at our family salon and spa. I was a hairstylist and makeup artist with a large following. After losing my vision, I wasn't able to continue in my profession and soon developed a line of hair fragrances called Mane Intentions. In 2015, I returned back to school and became a certified professional coach. I began a practice called LyfeTrac. I have always loved helping others, whether it is on the inside or out. Being a life coach is very rewarding!

How did you get involved with Hadassah?
I became involved in Hadassah back in 2008. I had gone to a membership opener with a few friends and instantly felt the connection. It was a great event and I joined immediately.

What is it about Hadassah that resonates with you?
Aside from the wonderful connections and friendships I made through Hadassah, I am most connected to the findings that are generated from medical research on many diseases and health conditions.

Share something you would like people to know about you
What I would like people to know about me is that through all of my life experiences, I have found it within myself to persevere. Negativity gets us nowhere and I believe in the power of a positive attitude. It's never too late to reinvent yourself!

Barbara Aqua
Tacoma, WA

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a retired licensed practical nurse and a retired business owner. I am a cancer and heart attack survivor and the mother of two wonderful daughters, a 28-year-old pharmacy tech and a 22-year-old physical therapy assistant. I have been married to the best husband ever for 35 years. He retired from the Air Force/Army after 22 years and is now a registered nurse at the Veteran’s Administration. I fill my days with laughter and love of my family and my two baby dogs. I also am a career volunteer. I have worked with my community PTA for 11 years, serving as treasurer, numerous committee chairs and all around hard worker. I was a Girl Scout leader for 12 years and was Chief Cookie Sales (22,000 in one year!). I have also served on Sisterhood as Treasurer, Purim Events, and organized a drive to build a new outdoor sukkah, and restored the High Holy Day Torah covers after 50 years of loving wear.

How did you get involved with Hadassah?
My mother, mother-in-law, and both grandmothers were involved in Hadassah so I knew that it was inevitable that I become engaged with this organization. My local chapter was doing a community event for foster children and I knew this was something I need to get involved with. I immediately joined as a life member and donated a handmade quilt for a foster child. I volunteered to chair the next event, and it is shaping up to be amazing.

What is it about Hadassah that resonates with you?
My mother-in-law went on a Hadassah Mission. She came back with so much feeling for the hospital, the patients, the doctors and the entire organization. She shared that with us, and she was so inspiring. I knew that this was something that I need to be involved with.

Share something you would like people to know about you
I greet each day with happiness and joy. I have almost died three times, and I know what a gift life is. Do good-- the world needs you to. Be happy-- the world needs to be a happier place. Live life like there is no tomorrow because each day is so precious.

Stacey Dorenfeld
Los Angeles, CA

Stacey Dorenfeld of Los Angeles, CA, is living a life that she loves due to the people and experiences she has been blessed with. She gives much of her energy to repairing the world, and feels that she is a better person because of Hadassah.

While still a fairly new Life Member, Stacey has already immersed herself in Hadassah. She represented Hadassah Southern California by attending the Jewish Public Affairs Committee (JPAC) conference in Sacramento for two consecutive years. She has led seven women to their own Day on the Hill session and participated in Day in the District programs. She serves as the Hadassah Advocacy Chair in California, and the Editor of a quarterly newsletter for her local group, B'yachad. Recently, Stacey was chosen as a Hadassah Leadership Fellow, where she journeyed to Poland and Israel with 15 other women. The experience not only moved her, but also brought a greater passion and understanding of her responsibility as a Jewish woman to Israel, Zionism, and Hadassah.

Throughout her life, Stacey has been involved with a variety of Jewish organizations and Jewish outreach programs. She is an active member of the Jewish Women’s Initiative (JWI) and AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee).

Stacey received her B.A. in communications from California State University, Northridge and has been involved in several business endeavors including, but not limited to, interior design, developing an original line of motivational consumer products, jewelry, and extensive writing, both professionally and for pleasure. She currently works as the Operations Manager for a family law firm, is a published author of three books, and is the face behind the lifestyle blog, StaceyInsideOut.com.

Stacey has two daughters-- both members of Hadassah and involved with AIPAC, Hillel and Chabad; and a son studying to be a firefighter. In her spare time, she will be most likely be on a hike, at the beach, or in a game of Mahjong with her friends.

Robin Fischel
Stamford, CT

Robin Fischel from Stamford, CT is grateful to her mother-in-law for gifting her with a Hadassah membership.

Robin’s participation in Jewish life began in high school and grew tremendously in college where she was active with Chabad. Upon her return to Stamford, following graduation from the University of Maryland with her Bachelors (GO TERPS!) and Boston University with her Masters, Robin became submerged in Jewish life including the Jewish Family Service, the United Jewish Federation, and the Friendship Circle.

She finds it incredibly important to give back to the community that she was raised in, and hopes that she can make an impact and difference through Hadassah.

Robin is a Speech-Language Pathologist at an inpatient rehabilitation hospital in New York, where she specializes in the adult population. She loves her work as all her patients certainly keep her on her toes!

She lives in Stamford, CT with her husband, Jason, and their dog, Manny. She loves boating on the Long Island Sound, running, hiking, and playing with Manny and her parents’ dog, Brinkley.

Martha Jo Katz
Atlanta, GA

Born and raised in Ocilla, GA, Martha Jo Katz is a new member of the Greater Atlanta Chapter in Hadassah Southeastern.

She has had an illustrious career in the modeling and hotel industries. For 18 years she worked as a model, featured by Saks Fifth Avenue, Vogue, and Yves St. Laurent and appearing in the New York Times, Women's Wear Daily, and other publications.

For Martha Jo, playing dress up for the world's top designers led to a second career. She is a 22-year veteran with a focus in sales and catering. Upon retiring in 2011, she volunteers and works as a catering consultant.

Martha Jo has chaired/co-chaired many events and serves on several boards and committees, including the Georgia Cancer Foundation and the Buckhead Business Association. She is also a member of the Etz Chaim Synagogue Sisterhood and the William Bremen Jewish Home Auxiliary.

Martha Jo has been married to her college sweetheart, Jerry, for 55 years and has a son Steven, a daughter Roben, and four grandchildren, Marissa, Andrew, Brent, and Reed.

Martha loves to paint, grow orchids, and is currently working on a book titled "Two Block to Grandma's House."

Dylan Dorenfeld
Agoura Hills, CA

Dylan Dorenfeld, originally from Agoura Hills, CA, is grateful to her Jewish background for truly shaping who she is today, and is so thankful to her mother for gifting her a membership to Hadassah. She is a member of the B'yachad Chapter under the Northern ARC in Hadassah Southern California.

Dylan graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2015 and moved across the country to begin a new chapter of her life. Upon graduation, she wanted to incorporate her love for Israel and Judaism with her love for learning new things and found this within the AIPAC Fellow program.

She currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and works for AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). She has dedicated the next two years of her life helping to ensure Israel's safety and security, and finds it to be a rewarding experience.

When she is not working, Dylan enjoys spending time outdoors running, hanging out at the beach, or checking out a local farmers' market. She loves exploring new places, and her time thus far in South Florida has been full of miniature adventures.

Katie Perez
Littleton, CO

Katie Perez grew up in Littleton, CO, and is happy to be raising her son Manny and daughter Sophie in the same area with the love of her life, her husband Jimmy. Katie is a member of the L.E.A. Chapter's Young Women's Group in Hadassah Desert-Mountain.

A former funeral director, Katie is now a homemaker. Joining her Young Women's Hadassah Group has given her the opportunity to socialize with Jewish women who are also raising preschool-aged children. It has almost been a year since she joined Hadassah, and she is drawn to the creative possibilities of programming and fundraising.

Katie hopes one day to help her daughter become a Young Woman of Hadassah, just as her Aunt Jan Klatskin has done for her.

Sarrah Bechor
Queens, NY

Born and raised in Queens, NY, Sarrah Bechor is a lifelong activist Zionist with academic and professional expertise in policy analysis and business development. Sarrah is a member a member of the New York Atid Chapter in Hadassah New York.

Sarrah's master's degree focused on U.S. foreign policy, Eurasia, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the issues of nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and sectarian conflict, among others. She has conducted research abroad and published writings as a fellow or grantee on behalf of think tanks and the US government.

In her current post with a technology start-up company, she is responsible for building global strategic partnerships in the fields of technology, social entrepreneurship, business and media to engender creative thinking around and advance technical solutions for the world's most pressing challenges.

Sarrah works closely with various pro-Israel organizations to establish and grow passionate young professional communities and further the ever-critical conversation around Israel. She enjoys traveling, learning new languages, and attending and participating in policy talks and conferences.

She has long been familiar with the work of Hadassah and was thrilled to be gifted a membership.

Barbara Ross-Innamorati
Westport, CT

Barbara Ross-Innamorati is from Westport, CT, and is a member of the Westport Chapter in Hadassah Connecticut.

Barbara spent the majority of her professional life working in finance for Fortune 500 companies. Seven years ago she embarked on her own business venture, and is now the Founder and Designer of an award-winning artisan jewelry company, EVOCATEUR. All the jewelry she designs is made by hand at the company's studio in Norwalk, CT. She designed Tel Aviv travel cuffs in on honor of her first trip to Israel.

Last summer, Barbara took her first trip to Israel with her husband, Joe, for their 30th wedding anniversary. This visit had such an amazing impact on her life that she now will be taking her mother and daughter to Israel on a three-generation trip! She has a son Daniel who is an attorney in Los Angeles, and a daughter Laura who works in online marketing in Chicago.

Debra Flaherty
Bronx, NY

Debra Flaherty is originally from Bronx, NY and moved to Palm Coast, FL in 1997. She is a member of Palm Coast Chapter in Hadassah Florida Central.

She has worked in the substance abuse field for 25 plus years, and is actively involved in the recovery community. She was the Founder and CEO of Break the Cycle, Inc., an outpatient substance abuse treatment center in Bunnell, FL. She sold Break the Cycle, Inc. in June 2013 to enter into early retirement.

Debra's family members are husband Peter, son Victor, daughter Jackie, son-in-law David, and her one-year-old grandson Ari Moshe.

She enjoys long-distance bicycle riding, and recently celebrated 30 years of sobriety.

Stephanie Weitzman
Newton, MA

Stephanie Weitzman grew up in Marblehead, MA, and now lives in Newton with her husband and two children. She is a member of Hadassah Boston, where she is a recording secretary. Her grandmother made her a life member at birth, but Stephanie considers herself a newly active member.

Stephanie has worked at the Family Estate Planning Law Group and the Vincent E. Bonazzoli Law Firm as the client relations director and executive assistant. She supported the same estate-planning attorney for 13 years. She currently works at Ballentine Partners, LLC, as a senior client service associate.

In her community, Stephanie has served on the Board of Trustees at Temple Emmanuel in Newton, MA and as Corresponding Secretary of their Sisterhood. In 2011 she Co-chaired the Cookbook Committee and the Sisterhood published a new cookbook titled "From Our Table: Kosher Recipes for Every Day and Holidays."

Stephanie likes to bake and cook in her spare time. Some of her favorite treats to make are chocolate chip cookies, challah, and scones.

Debra Sharker
Atlanta, GA

Debra Sharker from Atlanta, GA, is a member of the Greater Atlanta Chapter in Hadassah Southeastern.

Debra describes herself as a "thriving survivor" who is passionate about giving back in the cancer war. It was the "Check It Out" program that first connected her to Hadassah. Within four months of becoming a member she assumed the role of Education/Public Policy Vice President and Coordinator.

Debra works full-time in the consumer electronics industry. Her true passion lies in volunteering, and she wishes there were more hours in the day so that she can volunteer more.

Debra is extremely proud of her five nieces, two of whom have made Aliyah and live in Jerusalem. They have had three children at Hadassah Hospital and she attributes the birth of her two grandnephews to Hadassah, as her family has only had girls for three generations.

Debra creates and designs her own jewelry, and is fond of stitching. Three of her canvases hang in two homes in Jerusalem.

She has a tattoo of a purple butterfly with a pink ribbon on her right arm. The butterfly is a symbol of new life and metamorphosis, and has given her strength throughout her personal battle with cancer.

Melissa Liverman
Detroit, MI

Born in Montreal, Canada, Melissa Liverman moved from Philadelphia to West Bloomfield, MI in 2014 with her husband, Josh, and two sons, Noah and Julian. Since moving, she was looking to volunteer at an organization, and felt that Hadassah would be the perfect fit for her as it has always held a special place in her heart.

Her late grandmother, Fryderyka Fuchs-Hojda, was an active lifelong member of Hadassah, and Melissa has many fond memories of accompanying her to fundraisers and fashion shows each year. Hadassah was an integral part of Fryderyka’s life, and her chapter named “Leorah” was particularly inspiring to Melissa, as all of its members were Holocaust survivors.

Her association of Hadassah with her late grandmother and the wonderful things they do locally and at their hospitals in Israel, inspired Melissa to drop into their West Bloomfield office to inquire about volunteer opportunities. She feels it was Bashert because as much as she was looking for an organization to be a part of, Hadassah was in need of younger women to carry on its mission.

In the few months she has been volunteering, Melissa founded the “Leorah” chapter, which is named in memory of her grandmother and her fellow Holocaust survivors.

Melissa enjoys traveling, working out, and spending time with her family.

Holly Seltzer
Washington D.C.

Women’s health and empowerment have always been important to Holly Seltzer, a member of Hadassah Greater Washington.

She is proud to be a member of an organization like Hadassah that conducts cutting-edge medical research, presses for gender equity in clinical studies, and encourages women to create meaningful change in the world.

Holly grew up near Washington, DC, and has lived in Los Angeles, Key West, and Baltimore before making her way back to her hometown seven years ago. She now lives in Bethesda, MD, with her boyfriend and their dog and cat.

She is trained as a journalist, but has spent most of her career doing communications and public relations for nonprofit groups working to improve individuals’ health and well-being.

Holly has had the opportunity to work for causes that are important to her such as advocating for progressive health policies, raising awareness about mental health issues, and advancing women’s sexual and reproductive rights, including medical research to improve women’s HIV prevention options in developing nations.

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