Hadassah Elects Rhoda Smolow as New National President

Tuesday, Jul 16 2019

Hadassah's 27th National President Rhoda Smolow

Contact: Renee Young
Hadassah National Public Relations

July 16, 2019 – NEW YORK CITY–Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) announced Rhoda Smolow of Great Neck, NY was officially elected as National President at its Convention at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. The new President, the organization’s 27th in its 107 years, will lead over 300,000 members, associates and supporters through the beginning of Hadassah’s second century as the world’s largest women’s Zionist organization. 

Smolow will oversee Hadassah’s continued efforts and initiatives in support for Israel, public advocacy on women’s health, leadership training for women, and will champion the groundbreaking, life-saving medical research and treatment at its two Jerusalem-based hospitals.

Outgoing National President Ellen Hershkin, whose term ends December 31, 2019, has led the organization since 2016, maintaining the historic agreement between the Government of Israel, Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) and HWZOA, and advocating on key issues of national importance. Milestones of Hershkin’s tenure are: completion of the $363M, 19-story Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower fundraising campaign, the opening of the $10M Irma and Paul Milstein Heart Center and the launch of the $91.2M 360 Degrees of Healing Full Circle Campaign, all at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem campus and the Rehabilitation Center and new Maternity facility at Mount Scopus. Other highlights include: creation of the 28-member Coalition for Women’s Health Equity; the re-opening of the Young Women’s Department and of Hadassah’s Government Relations Office in DC. Hadassah was instrumental in garnering support for the Never Again Education Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate this week by Senators Jacky Rosen, Kevin Cramer, Marco Rubio and Richard Blumenthal. The House version of this Bill, (H.R. 943), is sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney and presently has over 200 cosponsors.

Hershkin states, “Rhoda Smolow exemplifies the ideal of selfless service to Hadassah. Over the course of her Hadassah career, Rhoda has brought energy, imagination and dedication to every level of service in which she has been involved, from the committee level of her chapter to Co-President of the Great Neck Chapter, President of the Nassau Region, Hadassah Past National Vice President and currently Hadassah National Secretary. Rhoda’s example is an inspiration to the next generation of women who are dedicated to Hadassah’s mission to effect change and bring healing and justice to the world. Rhoda is the embodiment of the Hadassah motto ‘The Power of Women Who Do.®’”

Hadassah CEO/Executive Director Janice Weinman states, “Rhoda Smolow has been unwavering in her commitment to women’s health and well-being, to Israel and to Jewish values and continuity. As the role of women and Jewish life here and in Israel has evolved over time, Rhoda will play a critical role in developing new programs and initiatives to enable Hadassah to meet those challenges.”

Smolow states “I want to salute Ellen Hershkin for her tireless commitment, devotion and dedication to Hadassah. I am both thrilled and humbled at the opportunity to follow in her footsteps, and those of the many brilliant and accomplished presidents who have preceded her, and by the example of ‘Practical Zionism’ of our founder, Henrietta Szold. Under my leadership, Hadassah will continue its mission of ‘Tikkun Olam’ (healing the world) and its commitment to providing the means and opportunity for Jewish women to make changes in both the U.S. and Israel.”

Smolow’s election is the culmination of 39 years of service to Hadassah, for which she is currently National Secretary, a Past National Vice President and a member of the Hadassah National Board in addition to being one of Hadassah’s Representatives to the American Zionist Movement. Smolow was Past President of the Nassau Region, a Great Neck Chapter Co-President and Past President of the Erev Group of the Great Neck Chapter. Smolow, a resident of Great Neck, NY, is part of a five-generation Hadassah Life Member Family. She is also a member of Hadassah’s Keepers of the Gate. She and her husband Craig are part of a three-generation Hadassah Founder Family and are members of Hadassah’s Society of Major Donors.

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With 300,000 members, associates and supporters Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on critical issues such as women’s health equity and the security of Israel. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace” through equality in medical treatment. For more information, visit my.hadassah.org.

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