At the spring conference, Hadassah national president Nancy Falchuk, first row, far left, was the keynote speaker, and Susan Beller of Little Silver, second from left, was installed as the region’s new president. With them are members of the incoming and outgoing executive boards, from left, front row, outgoing regional president Michelle Kaplan, Esther Fendrick, Heather Kibel, Joannie Weinfeld, and Karen Brodsky; and, second row, Kim Wishnow-Per, Carol Charen, Sherryl Kaufman, Helaine Tockerman, Linda Fellen, Joyce Cohen, Debbie Kestin Schildkraut, Judy Greenstein, Michelle Krasner, Arlene Ferman, Martha Friedman, Debbie Glick, Leslie Posnock, Amy Solomon, Synde Kaufman, Caryn Berla Arias, and Marsha Schiffman.
May 12, 2009
Hadassah’s national president praised the organization’s 13,000 regional members for their dedication to Jewish continuity and their ongoing partnership with Israel.
Nancy Falchuk was the keynote speaker at the Southern New Jersey Region’s spring conference, held May 3-4 at the Freehold Radisson.
The occasion also marked the region’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Falchuk paid tribute to the regional members who, she said, reflect the passion and timeless values of Henrietta Szold, who founded the women’s Zionist organization in 1912.
“These women take the time to educate themselves and bring Israel closer to the American-Jewish community,” Falchuk told NJ Jewish News before delivering her keynote address. “Their passion — and mine — grows right along with the spirit of tikun olam.”
She added that throughout the years, many regional members have been part of Hadassah’s national board and many members of the region’s Young Judaea — Hadassah’s Zionist youth movement — also have become national board members.
“Much of the strength of the national board comes from these women,” said Falchuk. “There is a huge amount of faith in these inspirational leaders and their nurturing qualities. The women of the Southern New Jersey Region are a tight-knit, passionate group of Zionists who care about Israel and their local communities.”
The Southern NJ Region has 46 chapters in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Somerset counties.
The region’s fund-raising efforts for the new $210 million Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower at Hadassah Medical Center’s Ein Kerem campus in Israel have helped propel the project toward its scheduled 2012 dedication, Falchuk said.
The 14-story, one million-square-foot tower is slated to contain 500 beds, 20 operating rooms, 50 intensive care beds, and a heart and internal medicine institute as well as surgical, medical, and cardiac intensive care units; satellite radiology; and a dedicated imaging center.
“The women of the Southern NJ Region are not waiting for the future — they are helping to build that future,” said Falchuk. “They are guided by Hadassah’s mission to save lives, prevent illness, and protect the health and well-being of future generations.”
Falchuk’s interest in Hadassah’s medical endeavors partly stems from her own medical background. A nurse, she is a cofounder of the Hadassah National Center for Nurses’ Council and also chaired Hadassah International’s Medical and Scientific Relationships unit, which creates coalitions between the Hadassah Medical Organization and other major academic centers.
“When I first became a nurse, I thought I was the one and only Jewish nurse,” she said. “But now there are 7,000 Jewish nurses in the council. Nursing has always given me a strong link with Hadassah, because the sharing of medical knowledge helps to build bridges of peace and repair the world.”
The second day of the conference featured an education symposium, Tikkun Olam (Saving the World): Jewish Responsibility: What Can We Do? with keynote speaker Rabbi Robert Wolkoff of Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick presenting Judaism and the Environment — the Bible and Beyond. Environmental workshops were led by experts from the fields of medicine, agriculture, and government.
Falchuk praised the region’s Hadassah women for being role models for their families — especially their daughters.
“Zionism is promoted by what children see, hear, and feel in their homes,” she said. “That’s where they first become aware of the importance and value of their Zionist heritage.”
Falchuk, a resident of Newton Center, Mass., became Hadassah’s national president in 2007. She grew up in a “Hadassah home” on Long Island and said her allegiance to the organization has never wavered.
“I think that each of us has a fire in our hearts for something wonderful, and the fire in my heart is for Hadassah,” she said. “In this organization, ideas take hold and then grow into programs. And the women of Hadassah will always grow right along with them.”
For more information about Hadassah’s Southern NJ Region, call 732-643-1100 or visit www.snj.hadassah.org.