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President's Message


My heart is breaking for the people of Israel. Exactly one year ago I was there for the Region Presidents’ trip followed by Hadassah’s 100 convention. I had never been to Israel so being there with my Hadassah “sisters” and meeting so many people during our tours was really special. And now, of course, I am worried about each and every one of these very special people – our tour guide, Yeshay, and our driver, the retired IDF soldier who toured with us along the Gaza strip, the young IDF officer who took us on a tour of the Mt. Herzl memorial to the fallen, the amazing staff at our hospitals and the students at our youth villages; the people we met in those villages, in the restaurants, shops, walking down the street, and hotels. The wonderful Bedouin lady who prepared a fabulous meal for us at their community center. The amazing Barbara “BG” Goldstein and Barbara Sofer and her husband. Our current National President, Rhoda Smolow, CEO, Naomi Adler, and Past National Presidents, Ellen Herskin, Marcie Natan, Nancy Falchuk, Marlene Post, and Bonnie Lipton, amazing leaders all.

We visited the Path to Peace Project, where we each added a mosaic to the wall separating Israel from Gaza. We visited a metal artist, Yaron Bob, using the metal from exploded rockets to create wonderful works of art. Look up “Rockets to Roses” to see his creations. I’ve included some pictures from last year’s trip to show you the wonder of Israel if you haven’t been lucky enough to go there yourself.

My heart is also breaking for those of us in the United States and around the world who are experiencing the unsettling effects of increased antisemitism and hate crimes. Some of Hadassah’s suggestions for fighting antisemitism created in an information handout by Joyce Laiter and Rita Shapiro, National Antisemitism Co-chairs, 2023 include:

  1. Know the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” Over 1100 entities, (countries, states, cities, businesses, agencies, and organizations) have accepted this definition.
  2. Read Natan Sharansky’s 3D Method of Determining Antisemitism. These include demonization of the Jewish State, holding Israel to a double standard such as when Israel is singled out by the UN for human rights abuses while major abusers such as China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria are ignored, and delegitimization of the State of Israel.
  3. Read the January 2023 policy statement by Hadassah
  4. Sign up for Hadassah Action Alerts by going to, go to “Get Involved" found near the top right side and choose “Advocate & Take Action”. Once there, you can sign up for “action alerts.”
  5. Meet with your legislators and local officials to share that you care about antisemitism and want them to act to decrease it. Be sure to thank them when they support Israel and policies designed to lessen antisemitism. Let them hear from you often. Click here to contact your local representatives.
  6. Read and discuss “Antisemitism Questions of the Month” found in myHadassah. Reading and thinking about these issues helps us all define how we feel about these common situations and how best to respond.
  7. For a resource of the Focus Project, click here. This site gives suggestions on how to help out, speak out, seek help, and stay informed.

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Dr. Omar Amir, Director of the Heart Institute at Ein Kerem. He did some of his medical training in Houston!

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Region Presidents at the Path to Peace mosaic on the wall separating Israel from Gaza

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An Israeli Market

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Welcome sign at Meir Shfeyah Youth Village

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I found my name on the display at Ein Kerem of Keepers of the Gate.

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Evolve Hadassah with Rhoda Smolow, National President

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The Gandel Rehabilitation Center being built at Mt. Scopus Hospital. It is being rushed to completion.

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Members of Hadassah at the Haas Promenade overlooking Jerusalem


Jerusalem At Night

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Dallas Momentum Group


Recently, Holocaust Museum Houston, sent a message quoting Elie Wiesel, “Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment- become the center of the universe.” They went on to say, “Today the people of Israel are the center of the universe and our mission to teach the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy have never been more important.” I totally agree and believe that Hadassah with our membership of almost 300,000 members and associates should be at the forefront of this effort. If you agree, stay informed and take action. 


Sandra Smith
President, Hadassah Greater Southwest

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Since our founding in 1912, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), has stood side-by-side with Israel through tumultuous times, including the War of Independence, the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War. HWZOA is once again being called upon to heal the people of Israel during these unprecedented times.

Since the start of Operation: Swords of Iron on Saturday, October 7, 2023, there is an urgent need for the kind of hard-won expertise in delivering wartime trauma care - including creating the physical and human infrastructure needed to handle sudden large influxes of severely injured patients - for which Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) is well-known.

HMO, as Jerusalem’s only Level-1 Trauma Center and one of only six such centers in all of Israel, is treating many of the most wounded patients and sharing helpful information with other Israeli hospitals. As terror attacks in Israel continue and Israel engages in a military response, there will be an ongoing need for the kind of hard-won experience in delivering trauma-informed care for which HMO is well-known.

HMO has launched an emergency psychiatric ER service for adults and children, given the many citizens suffering from anxiety attacks. This new service is aimed at allowing people to be discharged within one hour and is provided at the ER at Ein Kerem. As staff shortages abound around the country - due to the large number of medical personnel, who have been called into reserve duty - Hadassah is committed to treating these war and terror victims, as well as continuing to provide the award, winning level of care to which our patients have become accustomed.

Donate Now

Take Action

Amid the brutal Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, Hamas kidnapped over 240 people, including women, children, and elderly and disabled individuals, Israelis and American citizens. ACT NOW: Ask your lawmakers to stand with Israel and publicly call on Hamas to release all hostages immediately by supporting resolutions in the House and Senate. Urge your local representatives and share this link to spread the word and show your support.


Hadassah Lights Up Times Square

A fundraising and messaging digital billboard has gone up at 1500 Broadway in Times Square as of Thursday, October 19. The digital billboard will be shown every 15 minutes for 15 second intervals now through December 31. We have the opportunity to change the messaging on a weekly basis. All are encouraged to visit Times Square, to take a selfie and to share it on your social media with pride.

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Israel at War: Live Briefings

Israel at War Live Briefings: The Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) is responding swiftly to the horror and terror unfolding in our beloved Israel. Watch and share the most recent Live Briefing video to stay informed on our efforts during this time of crisis. Check and Hadassah@home for listings of upcoming live briefings from Israel, held on select Thursdays at 11:30 am ET. To view past briefings, visit

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A Message from Karen Kessler

Although it has been a few weeks since the brutal and horrendous attack on Israel on October 7th, the pain has not subsided. I talk to my family and friends almost on a daily basis, and they are all still traumatized.

No Israeli can even fathom how this could have happened. Israel, the Start Up Nation, has The Best Army in the world that has The Best Security. How was it so vulnerable and not able to protect and defend their own citizens – men, women, children and the elderly. How could they not protect people who were sleeping in their beds on a Saturday morning or celebrating at a music festival?

As a community we are anxious - waiting for the safe return of the hostages, waiting to see what will happen next, waiting to see if Israel will go into Gaza. What will happen to the soldiers? What will happen to the children who are now orphans?

I go to bed worrying and I wake up worried about what happened while I was sleeping.

Sadly, we know this will mean a rise in antisemitism. Jews all over the world need to make sure Israel becomes strong again! Don't think for even one minute that this will never happen here. Act to make sure it will never happen here. Just last week a friend told me that she had her first anti-Semitic encounter at work and she's about to retire.

As we ask ourselves what can we do other than make a monetary donation, here is what we all can do. The war is on the ground in Israel and on social media all around the world. Please use the power of social media to showcase what is happening in Israel.

Just like the Israeli song from the 1960's says: "The Whole World is Against Us.” It is a very old hymn that our ancestors taught us, but we will prevail."

Israel has been through a lot in 75 years but the people of Israel are resilient. We will come out of this stronger and even better. We need to stand together with no fear in our hearts, just love.

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Dallas Chapter

On Tuesday, October 10th, fifty Dallas-area Hadassah women gathered at The Legacy Willow Bend for an in-person Breast Cancer Awareness luncheon. It was our first time together in four long years. The luncheon was generously hosted by The Legacy Willow Bend, which means that all funds we collected went directly to Hadassah.

Award-winning children's author Nancy Churnin spoke movingly about her recently published book "Mama's Year with Cancer." Nancy writes about people who have made the world a better place and inspire children to be heroes and heroines. She won the 2021 National Jewish Book Award and the 2022 Sydney Taylor Honor for her book "Dear Mr. Dickens," and two Sydney Taylor Notables for her 2021 book "A Queen to the Rescue, the Story of Henrietta Szold Founder of Hadassah."

Sadly, Nancy's co-author Shayna Vincent passed away from breast cancer in September. Her mother, Johanna Luza, came to the luncheon and spoke about Shayna's courageous journey ... diagnosed with cancer while nursing her youngest daughter. Johanna reminded us that breast cancer is possible regardless of age.

Chapter President Marjorie Rosenberg spoke about Hadassah's vital mission of Tikkun Olam, and appealed for donations to Hadassah at this extraordinary time, reminding us that support of Hadassah is support of Israel. It was a wonderful event, and so meaningful that we could gather in common cause with Hadassah's mission of Tikkun Olam. In light of the horrific attack on Israel only days before, we took comfort in being together, in supporting Hadassah's critical work, and in reiterating Am Yisrael Chai.

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Anita Friedman, Linda Fisch, Amy Applebaum, Susan Erlich

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Johanna Luza, Nancy Churnin, Marjorie Rosenberg

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Seated: Rosie Bloom, Magie Furst Standing: Dorothy Garsson, Catherine Ruditsky, Katy Szende, Margie Shore

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Hadassah Associates

Alan Lipschultz, Executive Vice-President of Hadassah Associates, has reached out to us to identify potential leaders in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. If you know of an Associate who would want to work with Alan and our Chapters to build a strong leadership group, please let me know at so I can connect them with Alan.


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As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to thank you all for your membership and for your generosity, especially as we try to support our hospitals and youth villages during this time of crisis. Kirk and I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday.

- Sandra

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Check us out on Facebook by typing Hadassah Greater Southwest in the search bar or clicking here. We hope you will join our Facebook group and invite your friends to join us, too. Thanks to our Facebook manager, Sandye Fertman, for keeping us up to date.

As you know, Hadassah West launched Facebook and Instagram pages last year, and we’ve been really pleased with the wonderful responses from members in all five regions. Thank you for continuing to promote these social media pages in your meetings and communications. Here are the links in case you need them:

Instagram: hadassahwestgeo or

Please click here to read Hadassah’s Charitable Solicitation Disclosure Statements.

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