Joyce Backman

Joyce Backman

Westport, CT
Westport Chapter, Hadassah Connecticut

What is it about Hadassah that resonates with you?
Hadassah resonates with me on several levels. I love that my grandmother and my husband's grandmother were involved in Hadassah and helped build the nation of Israel, while being New York housewives years ago -- before cell phones and email. I love that Hadassah empowers women to work together to help other human beings. I love that lives are changed all over the world because of the work I do at my computer late at night. I love that my best friends in Connecticut are all involved, and we get to spend time together doing meaningful things. I love that I have grown so much through my Hadassah experiences, and finally I love that I have come to embrace the country of Israel, which I have visited eight times, including three times in the past 11 months.

How did you get involved with Hadassah?
My grandmother was a member and wanted to make me a life member when my first child was born. I discussed being a member with my mother and she said, “Just say yes to Grandma because she offered to make me a life member and I said no and she was disappointed. You don’t have to do anything.” I became a life member and received a phone call from the local chapter in NJ, but I was busy with a new baby and a new job, and therefore didn’t get involved.

When I moved to Connecticut a few years later, my realtor said I should join Hadassah because there are a lot of nice young women involved in Hadassah in Westport and I would fit in. I went to a new member coffee and said I would be interested in volunteering, and by the time I got home there was a phone message offering me a position. That was 16 years ago, and I have had board positions ever since, have met many amazing women, and have had quite a few life-changing experiences because of Hadassah (sent my children to Camp Sprout Lake and Tel Yehudah, and now my daughter is on Year Course living in Israel).

Tell us a little about yourself.
I have always wanted to be a nurse and loved the Cherry Ames books as a little girl. I went from high school to college at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. After college graduation, I worked as a nurse in New York Hospital for seven years on a medical telemetry unit and then the cardiothoracic ICU. While working as a nurse, I went to graduate school and earned a master’s in public health policy and management from Columbia University. I met my husband, Ken, at a nurses' party when he was a medical student. We moved to Chicago where I worked as a nursing analyst at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. When my husband finished his training, we moved to New Jersey and then Connecticut. I work with my husband as the business manager in his allergy practice. We have two children, Spencer and Kate, and just became empty-nesters, except for our dog. I am currently training for my third-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

As a nurse, what do you find most inspiring about Hadassah’s efforts?
I am a nurse and derive enormous pleasure from helping people. Hadassah’s focus is helping people. Its mission is my life mission. When I hear about new medical advances that have come out of Hadassah, I feel proud to support Hadassah.

Joyce Backman is a member of the Hadassah Nurses Council.

It's the 100th anniversary of the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing.
Learn more about our nurses -- and impact. 

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Elise Feldscher

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Dorothy Lasensky

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Donation Questions

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

(800) 664-5646

Israel Travel

(800) 237-1517

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