July 9, 2008
Young women find it’s not their bubbe’s Hadassah
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"People might come to one event and get really excited but then never come back and become just another on-paper member," she said. "It's not just about getting them on paper -- it's getting them to stay active. That's where the struggle comes in."
Local Hadassah groups are responding to the challenge in different ways.
Dana Bigman, co-president of Lev Eisha (Heart of a Woman), said her Westside group caters to the busy schedules of women 35 to 50 by holding meetings after working hours. Nazila Mansourie Sanieoff, who has volunteered with several Persian Jewish groups in the Beverly Hills area, said singles parties and networking events have attracted crowds of up to 500 by opening their doors to -- gasp! -- men.
"Hadassah is a women's organization, but lots of men got involved," said Mansourie Sanieoff, 34, of Brentwood. "The guys actually liked helping out."
On a technological level, some Hadassah chapters are reaching out to a younger audience by expanding their Web presence. A few are even making forays into Internet social networking sites like Facebook and holding live online chats, according to Rothman.
In the meantime, Hadassah officials are banking on the organization's name recognition and longevity to draw young members into leadership roles.
Rabishaw said she understands that not everyone can make the same type of commitment: "We're not all cookie-cutters -- we realize that women may only come to one meeting a year because their lives are just too busy right now. But if that's all we've done, we feel like we've accomplished something."
As part of the national convention, Rabishaw is co-chairing "Girls Gone Wild," a networking fete at Elevate Lounge downtown, featuring kosher food, drinks, dancing and a discussion with Osnat Moskowitz, director of donor services for Hadassah Medical Organization.
With all of the programs available to them, Neshama Tova co-chair Diaz said, new members have plenty of options. At 45, she knows she's already at the upper limit of the "young leaders" group: "I'll be crossing over soon. But I'm still young at heart."
For more information about "Girls Gone Wild" on July 14, contact Lauren Rothman at (818) 343-9316.
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