Hundreds of Hadassah members and supporters gathered at the Breman Museum on Sunday, Nov. 1, to launch a yearlong celebration of 100 years of the Zionist women’s organization in Atlanta.
The opening of a compact exhibit highlighting the group’s first century of work came a day before the 99th anniversary of the first local meeting of 18 ladies. Today, Greater Atlanta Hadassah has more than 3,600 members and associates and is vibrant and growing, GAH President Paula Zucker said.
“We’ve come so far, so let’s celebrate,” Phyllis Cohen, who is chairing the centennial celebration, sang during a welcoming number.
Cohen read from the minutes of the first local Hadassah meeting (on display at the entrance to the exhibit) while wearing white gloves and a hat in the style of the founders, who referred to each other as “Mrs.” and within a year found themselves planning for 1917’s 20th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress, arranging High Holiday hospitality for Jewish soldiers and raising an annual total of $4.05 for clinics fighting trachoma in children in Palestine.
Trachoma then was the primary health concern for Hadassah, founded in 1912. Today, Hadassah National President Marcie Natan reminded the group, the Hadassah Medical Organization is leading research into macular degeneration causing blindness in the elderly, as well as doing groundbreaking work on ALS, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer and other diseases.
“We need your support as members, as donors, as partners,” Natan said, “because we’re making a difference for the Jewish people, and the name of Hadassah is written into the history of Palestine and the state of Israel.”
The Breman exhibit is scheduled to be open until March 6 and is accessible with normal admission to the museum. Centennial events over the next year will include the national Hadassah convention July 25 to 28 in Atlanta and a gala celebration next October.