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WOLFE'S WORDSAugust 15, 2007
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Hadassah Women, Hadassah Lieberman
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
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The first rule of writing--always start with a "shpas' (joke)!

"Elsewhere in New Hampshire, Senator Joe Lieberman withered today and remained optimistic till the end--He then snapped, 'Shut up, Hadassah, you're ruining my Joe-mentum.'"

The above joke, by Jon Stewart, refers to the former Hadassah Freilich Tucker, the second wife of Joseph Lieberman, not Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.

And then there's the story of the tour "oytobus" with 30 Hadassah ladies aboard. It turned over and all were speedily dispatched to "himl." On their arrival, one of the admitting angels wouldn't let them in. He told them that the admitting "kompyuters" were down so they would just have to wait. At that moment G-d intervened and said that he could speak to Satan to see if they could be temporarily housed in his domain until they could correct the "kompyuter" error.

A few hours later G-d receives an urgent "telefon" call from Satan who tells him that he must take the Hadassah ladies off his hands.

'What's the problem?' G-d asks.

Satan replies, 'These Hadassah women are ruining my set-up. They have been down here only a few hours and already they have raised 'tsvey hundert' dollars for a new air conditioning system.'"

Hadassah was founded in 1912 by Henrietta Szold (1860-1945). The founder said, "Dream big dreams and take the practical steps to make them a reality."

It is a volunteer women's organization; its members are motivated and inspired to strengthen their partnership with Israel, ensure Jewish continuity, and realize their potential as a dynamic force in American society.

Hadassah is concerned with the birth and growth of health care in Israel. Their fundraisers help Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), a world-renowned medical complex in Jerusalem. One U. S. chapter raised over $15,000 to purchase a Neonatal Incubator for Hadassah Hospital. Another chapter raised funds to purchase a new modern fire truck with the latest state-of-the-art fire fighting equipment. And members of another chapter do "shtrikeray" (knitting) of afghan squares for premie blankets. Hadassah and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) have pledged $3 "milyon" for the Tirzah Reservoir to capture and store water.

Today there are more than 30,000 men affiliated with the women's group.

According to Dan Greenberg ("How To Be A Jewish Mother"), "Your family and friends will expect you to be able to relate amusing stories which you have heard at 'der katsev' (the butcher) shop, at a meeting of Hadassah, or which your husband has told at a previous gathering of these same people...Begin the story at the ending--the punch line--since this is usually the funniest part of the story."

One of the funniest stories about Hadassah--the organization--was told by Harvey Tobkes (, at a luncheon: (from Hillary Clinton)

My Dear Ladies of Hadassah...let me start by saying how nice it is to be among mishpokhe. I'm reminded of a Sunday morning a few weeks back when I was sitting with my husband, the former President of the United States, and our beautiful and talented daughter, Chelsea. (An investment banker now, by the way, with a very good company. I know I don't have to tell you what a makhaya it is, having a child like this.)

Anyway, I was sitting having my usual bagel with some good novy and a schmear, and I said to my husband, "Bill-eleh. How fortunate we all are to be living in this great country of ours. I mean, sure, we've still got that momzer in the White House. Not to mention Cheney, that chazzer. Or the farshimulte meerskite running the State Department. And don't even get me started on Gonzales, that little toochis lecker! A chalyera on all of them, I say!"

"But this is my point. Where but in this beautiful country of ours would you find a boy named Grossman playing quarterback in the Super Bowl? (Okay, he lost the game, but gay g'zind). And where, but in America, would I be sitting down with lady senators Mrs. Dianne Feinstein and Mrs. Barbara Boxer, not to drink Sanka and play mah jongg, but to decide the important domestic and foreign issues of the day?

And so, ladies, today as I reach out the hand of friendship to you, my shvesteren, my landzsmen, I come to ask that you join me in my quest. And to assure you that behind this goyishe punim is a yiddisher kop.

I hope to meet each of you personally at the lovely dairy brunch following this event.

And I hope you'll forgive me if I pass on the whitefish, it's a little salty and I'm retaining. God bless America! We should all live and be well!

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe has been a member of Tobay Hadassah (Syosset, NY) for over 40 years.


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