Inside Hadassah: Lighting the Way

April 2014 Home Column List 2

Inside Hadassah: Lighting the Way

Nancy Falchuk

For several years, Jewish groups have stressed the importance of marketing themselves to the young in our community, creating dynamic programming that appeals to a youthful demographic as well as listening to their particular needs as the future of American Jewry. So it should give us great pride that there are already many twenty-something Jews who credit Hadassah with building their Zionist identity. As one Young Founder and Year Course graduate explains, “Hadassah has not only graciously provided me with invaluable experiences, life-long friendship and an irreplaceable education, it has become my extended family.” In this issue, we share several moving stories of young Jews who quote similar life-changing Hadassah moments.

And, over in Israel, two young Hadassah Academic College students designed the official torch of this summer’s international Maccabiah Games. The torch will be prominently on display at the games’ opening ceremonies on July 18, lighting the way for thousands of diaspora and Israeli Jews gathering in the State of Israel. —Nancy Falchuk

A Starred Review for Hadassah!
In a significant sign of the financial and structural health and well being of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, we are thrilled to share that Hadassah recently received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s top independent charity evaluator. This honor reflects our esteemed standing among other charities in the country, and also shows an increase from our rating the previous year. Kol Ha-kavod!

Yaki Marcus (left) and Yossi Cohen (right)
hold their Maccabiah torch.

HAC Students Design Maccabiah Torch
The 2013 International Maccabiah Games get under way on July 18, and the torch that will be on display at the games’ opening ceremony has a Hadassah connection. The cone-shaped torch, inspired by a shofar, was designed by Yaki Marcus, a student at Hadassah Academic College’s Department of Inclusive Industrial Design, and Yossi Cohen, a graduate of the department. The front of the torch features a depiction of the Land of Israel, while the top of the “cone” has curved lines similar to the branches of a menora. The torch’s five sections reflect the five continents on which Jews live today.

Meet the Veep: Susan Moye
Susan Moye has a deep appreciation for the people of Israel. She views them as brave, living with the constant fear of war and the necessity to defend the land. She feels a responsibility to live a life of love, respect and support for Israel.

Moye, with degrees in mathematics and sociology, and her husband, Gary Moye, a chemical engineer, were asked by her father early in their marriage to help with one of his McDonald’s restaurants in Cleveland. When an opportunity came to own a franchise near Huntsville, Alabama, they left Ohio and moved south.

Susan Moye.

Wanting to connect with the Jewish community, Moye found Hadassah. The local chapter in Huntsville (and later in Montgomery) and Area Vice President Debi Shendelman embraced her. At her second meeting, Moye was elected chapter president, automatically becoming a member of the Southern Region. She eventually joined their ranks as president.

Hurricane Katrina was Moye’s biggest challenge as president of the Southern Region, which includes Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, parts of Louisiana, Alabama and Florida’s panhandle. Twenty-five percent of her board came from flooded areas; the treasurer’s home was literally under water. For three months, Moye was both treasurer and president. The following summer the Hadassah National Convention was held in Nashville, Tennessee.

More recently, when Moye saw that Charity Navigator, America’s top independent charity evaluator, had reduced Hadassah’s previous four-star rating to just two stars, she became concerned. Working with a team from the national office, she spearheaded the drive that ultimately led to restoring our four-star rating.

The Moyes now make their home in Atlanta, near their two daughters and families. As a national vice president, Moye serves as the Southeast resource chair and is a member of the constitution committee. She and her husband are Hadassah Centennial Founders. —Sandra King

Dr. Kevin Tabb. Photo courtesy of Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center.

Expertise Imported from Israel
Emergency physicians at Hadassah Hospital are world-renowned for the sad expertise of triaging, treating and healing victims and perpetrators of terror attacks in the close proximity of the ER. So in April, when accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lay seriously wounded after a gunfight with law enforcement in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center—within feet of victims suffering the loss of limbs and other horrifying injuries—it was a familiar experience for BIDMC President and CEO Kevin Tabb. Dr. Tabb, a native of the San Francisco area, graduated from Hebrew University–Hadassah Medical School and completed his internal medicine residency at Hadassah–Hebrew University Medical Center at Ein Kerem. He is also a former Young Judaean and today sits on the board of directors of the Hadassah Medical Organization. “It was very similar to what I was used to in Israel in that we had to admit many injured people in a short period of time,” Dr. Tabb told the Ynet news Web site. “The fact that we [were] treating both the victims and the suspected terrorist also reminds me of similar situations in Israel.”

Life-Changing Experiences
Brianna Greenspan keeps a list of people who have been touched by Hadassah, as she has. The collection is ever growing, and Greenspan has set a high standard, based on her own life lessons.

“Hadassah has not only graciously provided me with invaluable experiences, life-long friendship and an irreplaceable education,” she says. “It has become my extended family.” A 25-year-old Houston native, Greenspan is a student at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, and she works in sales on the side. While on Young Judaea Year Course in Israel several years ago, she volunteered at Hadassah Neurim Youth Aliyah Village, teaching Russian and Ethiopian immigrants about the Holocaust. The program culminated in a trip to Poland.

Year Course trip to Poland.
Photo courtesy of Brianna Greenspan.

“It was only after my time at Hadassah Neurim that I began to fully comprehend my Jewish identity,” notes Greenspan. She credits Year Course with opening her eyes to Hadassah’s mission.

Greenspan was born with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition caused by a defect in the synthesis of collagen. Some of her interest in Hadassah’s network of medical institutions is highly personal: She hopes to initiate a research project through Hadassah’s Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center aimed at identifying a complementary medicine program to help manage or remedy the symptoms of EDS. She also would like to see the Goldyne Savad Institute of Gene Therapy at Hadassah Hospital investigate the genetic origins of the condition and produce an effective treatment.

Greenspan has become a Hadassah Young Founder and names several women who inspired her Hadassah journey, including her Houston neighbor, Ann Baker Ronn. Ronn has deep Hadassah roots: She is a third-generation Texan and Hadassah life member and has held numerous roles within her chapter; most recently, she cochaired the very successful Women of Courage event, together with her mother and sister.

Ronn’s three daughters are all Hadassah life members and attend Young Judaea camps. She and her husband have taken the girls to Israel to visit Hadassah Hospital; years ago, Ronn’s family dedicated an operating theater in memory of her grandmother. “Hadassah is a big part of our lives, and something that my girls know is important,” says Ronn, who is in her late forties and works in insurance and finance.

Greenspan enjoys meeting peers who share her passion. “It is great to behold when new members share the same enthusiasm I have in regards to Hadassah,” she says. Two stand out in her mind: her close friend Elanit Green and fellow student Tyler Harris.

Green, 25, grew up in Israel and attended Year Course with Greenspan as part of the Israel Scouts. She knew of the program because her British parents participated years ago and spoke fondly of their experience. In fact, because of their time on Year Course, they chose to make aliya and raise their family in Israel.

“Hadassah opened my eyes to an amazing program that brings Jews from all over the world to volunteer together, learn about Israel and mostly learn from each other,” says Green. She adds that whereas in Israel there is a strong divide between various ideological groups, Hadassah taught her that “Judaism has many faces.” Currently a third-year student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Green attends Hadassah events and helps her mother with volunteer work for the Israeli group.

Harris had minimal Jewish exposure before he found his way to Young Judaea’s programs in Israel. After high school in southwest Florida, his grandmother—a Hadassah life member—offered him a one-month trip to Israel in the summer. One thing led to the next, and Harris was back in Israel for Year Course.

“I was 19 and I had never traveled alone before,” says Harris. “I met Jews of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. My time with Hadassah opened my eyes to the Jewish world and culture.” Upon his return, Harris attended American Jewish University and hopes to finish his studies at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton this summer.

Greenspan loves to share the stories she has collected and marvels that each person can truly find her or his own niche within the organization. She has no doubt that her list of Hadassah enthusiasts will continue to grow.


Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

To the Voting Members of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (“HWZOA”):

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that an annual meeting of the voting members of HWZOA will be held in two sessions at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel located at 300 S. Charles Street in Baltimore, MD. The first session will be held on July 30, 2013 at 1 P.M. for the purposes of (I) voting on the adoption of amendments to HWZOA’s Constitution to modify the composition of the Nominating Committee, elected National Board members, and National Officers and (II) conducting any other business. The second session will be held on July 31, 2013 at 10 A.M. for the purposes of (I) adopting the HWZOA budget and quota, (II) electing the National Board and National Officers, and (III) conducting any other business.

Only HWZOA’s voting members, i.e., the registered delegates of HWZOA, are entitled to attend and vote at this annual meeting.

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