By:   Marion Stone

To begin on a personal note, it was momentous to be attending the 12th birthday of the Hadassah Levonah group. I was already a member of Hadassah’s Hebrew speaking Modi’in Mor chapter. I was at the first meeting that was chaired by newcomer to Modi’in, Diane Saltzman, a Hadassah stalwart from USA, at the home of Ronda Israel.

A Bat Mitzvah brunch, was held on the balcony of the Caffit restaurant in Modi’in.

The proceedings began with a welcome message from Rivkah Cooper Vice President of English Speaking Chapters.

Michal Shmueli, President of Hadassah Israel, sent a message in which she tribute to Rose and Ellen for their hard work in turning the Levonah chapter into one of the most successful in the country.

 rose_scharlat.jpg  ellen_shemesh.jpg
 Rose Scharlat  Ellen Shemesh

New co-Presidents, Rita Katz and Zenia Cohen presented Rose Scharlat and Ellen Shemesh, previous co-presidents, with an artwork ‘thank you’ gift, based on ‘Song of Songs’. Rose and Ellen thanked everyone for the gifts and tributes that they have received, especially the gift of support that from the group. They told us that they had met many people, including doctors and nurses, from all over the country. They feel that they have received much more from others, than what they have given.

The buffet brunch was made up of colourful salads, cheeses, omelettes, shakshouka, and provided healthy food for everyone’s taste.

Bat Sheva Israel
 Bat Sheva Israel

Levonah’s planning chairperson Ronda Israel, who is Levonah’s planning chairperson, was unfortunately ill on the day, so her daughter, Bat Sheva, very capably stepped in and managed everything very well. Bat Sheva read out Ronda’s speech which included the candle lighting ceremony. The speech covered the stages of the chapter’s development with honouring the people who have made it possible.

Main points as follows:

First to light were Ann Belinsky, past president of the Mor Hebrew speaking chapter and who today is a member of the National Audit Committee, and Lona Lehr, Project Co-ordinator from the National Hadassah Israel Office. Ann read greetings from Diane Saltzman, and recalled how Mor and Levonah pair together as they translate into Myrrh and Frankincense. Lona said her welcome to everyone.

That first year money was raised for the Osteoporosis Department, and in 2012 money raised went to the Orthopedic Department

Marion Stone writes about each chapter event which is published in our newsletter and on the Hadassah-Israel website. Today you see Marion taking notes and photographing our celebration. Marion lit the second candle.

Fundraising efforts in 2013 were for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Programs throughout the 4 years of Diane’s presidency were interesting and varied as we were educated by Hadassah medical representatives about women’s health and all the wonderful innovations and research going on at Hadassah Medical Center. After 4 years of presidency Diane handed the baton to Harriet Spitzer and Rivkah Cooper. Past co-presidents Harriet Spitzer and Rivkah Cooper lit the 3rd candle for their four years of dedicated activities.

Ann Belinsky Lona Lehr 1st Candle Marion Stone2nd Candle Rivkah Cooper Harriet Spitzer 3rd Candle Ruchama Berkovitch Frieda Odzer 4th Candle
 Ann Belinsky & Lona Lehr   Marion Stone  Rivkah Cooper & Harriet Spitzer Ruchama Berkovitch & Frieda Odzer

It was during 2014 that Ruchama Berkovitch was program chair. Ruchama would also eventually chair the Yom Hashoah programs each year. Frieda Odzer was a gracious hostess to all the board meetings, as well as being recording secretary, and later she became our Bikur Cholim chair. Ruchama Berkovitch and Frieda Odzer lit the 4th candle in appreciation for their long standing work for our chapter.

In July 2014, one of our most memorable programs was held at the home of Regina Duvkot as Operation Protective Edge was defending the people of Israel against Hamas terror. The Modi’in siren suddenly sounded the alarm that rockets were heading our way. All 25 ladies immediately went into Regina’s Mamad-safe room and waited for the all clear. They all sighed with relief as they returned to the meeting.

On June 12th 2014, 3 Israeli yeshiva boys hitch hiking home from the Gush - were abducted by Hamas terrorists. This incident brought every Israeli together to pray for their safe return. Harriet and Rivkah approached Ronda Israel to lead the group in Tehillim praying for the boys’ safe return. The boys, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel were eventually found murdered by the terrorists, but Ronda volunteered to continue the learning of Tehillim in a once a week, ladies learning class that was held at the home of Miriam Pinchas. Instead of a one time Tehillim reading, Ronda offered to teach a class explaining what Tehillim were all about and the history of their author David Hamelech. 8 years later the class continues learning, and has so far covered the books of Shmuel,  Malachim, Daniel, Megillat Esther and currently is learning Ezra and Nechemia.

Adele Koolyk lit the 5th candle for Ronda Israel, the group’s devoted teacher.

Ellen Shemesh and Rose Scharlat became acquainted socially. They became joint co-presidents and under their auspices the chapter grew not only in membership but was constantly breaking all national fundraising goals, and soon became the most successful chapter in Israel. Rose Scharlat and Ellen Shemesh, our two honorees of today, lit the 6th candle. Rose and Ellen now work hard as fund raising chair and membership chair.

The husbands, Ari Salzman, Harvey Spitzer, Sruli Cooper, Gary Scharlat, Yechiel Shemesh, Jeffrey Cohen, the late Lou Katz, Gerry Wine, and Aaron Israel, constantly support their wives. Thank you for all the great talents and help you bring to our chapter. Gary Scharlat, Yechiel Shemesh,& Jeffrey Cohen lit the 7th candle.

Bonnie Bachenheimer creates the newsletters and flyers you receive. Bonnie lit the 8th candle in recognition of her communications skills and work composing the flyers and newsletters.

Adele Koolyk lighting for Ronda Israel 5th Candle Rose Scharlat Ellen Shemesh 6th Candle Gary Scharlat Jeffrey Cohen Yechiel Shemesh 7th Candle Bonnie Bachenheimer 8th Candle
 Adele Koolyk for Ronda Israel  Rose Scharlat & Ellen Shemesh Gary Scharlat,  Jeffrey Cohen,    Bonnie Bachenheimer
    Yechiel Shemesh  

Sandy Wine has been the chapter treasurer since Rose and Ellen became co-presidents. She also collects travel size/hotel size shampoos, soaps, and  other toiletries and takes them to the hospital for patients to use while in hospital. She also helps the children of the Hadassah Hospital school as our chapter collects books, markers, art supplies, and games at our annual ice cream game night. Thank you Sandy for all your devotion to the patients, the children and our chapter.

Sandy Wine lit the 9th candle. Sandy told everyone how much the patients and staff appreciate what the Chapter sends.

One day in 2017, Mimi Nadlebach offered some of her brother, Baruch Elichai’s paintings, as a fundraiser. Resulting from this, Rose hatched a plan for an auction and bazaar that could raise large amounts of money. That year we were raising money for the hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This led to the annual Chinese Auction, a great and successful fundraiser. With appreciation for her generosity, Mimi was asked to light the 10th candle.

We are blessed with great talent in our chapter. We have taken art lessons from Leah Laker and Marilyn Libman. We have beaded necklaces, cooked, baked, sung with Rabbi Jeffrey Shron, exercised with Shelly Kramer and observed Tu B’shvat seders with the haggadah written by Ronda Israel. One day Sandy Cohen, a graduate of Julliard school of Music in NY approached our presidents and offered to play in concert with her piano partner, Yochanan de Graff.  Sandy Cohen lit our 11th candle.

Sandy Wine 9th Candle Mimi Nadelbach 10th Candle Sandy Cohen 11th Candle Zenia Cohen Rita Katz 12th Candle 
 Sandy Wine Mimi Nadelbach Sandy Cohen Zenia Cohen & Rita Katz

Time flies and now the new co-presidents, Zenia Cohen and Rita Katz have taken up their positions for our 13th year and beyond.  Rita Katz and Zenia Cohen our new co-presidents lit the 12th candle.

Dorothy Friedman led the group in singing Hatikva.

Delicious deserts were set out as the event came to an end, with thanks to the participants for attending this special occasion, and the merry singing of ‘Siman Tov U’Mazal Tov’.