On a cool evening in early October, approximately 60 women gathered in the contemporary Winston Wachter Fine Art gallery in South Lake Union. Over wine and Mediterranean-inspired appetizers, they chatted and perused the exhibits before taking their seats for a short presentation.
“Hadassah’s not just about our grandmas. It’s about us,” said Tamar Boden, a Hadassah regional board member and one of the event organizers.
The occasion, Hadassah Plus Art, was the first of three new “Hadassah Plus” events geared toward bringing a wider demographic of women into the Hadassah fold. Hadassah Plus Cuisine and Hadassah Plus Wellness are in the docket, due to roll out in early 2014.
The organizers didn’t spend much time talking about Hadassah, but quickly handed the proverbial mic over to Stacey Winston-Levitan and Mimi Sternberg. Winston-Levitan, a co-founder and owner of the gallery, briefly described the exhibitions: Erich Woll’s “When Things Go South” glass installation, and Peter Waite’s “Space Travel,” large paintings of architectural spaces laced with neon gridlines.
Sternberg, an art educator, tied the evening to Hadassah with a presentation on Marc Chagall’s stained-glass windows installed at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital chapel in Jerusalem. Sternberg said she first saw the windows as a 15-year-old on a visit to Israel and was “blown away.”
Through descriptions of five of the windows and a history of the artist’s life and relationship to Israel, Sternberg explained that the stained glass was meant by Chagall to be a “transparent partition between [his] heart and the heart of the world.”
Of the 60 or so women in attendance, Boden and her co-planner Naomi Newman estimated about 50 of them were new faces to Hadassah events. The turnout was mostly the result of outreach to about 300 women in their personal networks.
According to Boden, they received good feedback and acquired a handful of new members.
Newman noted the challenge of
recruiting women to yet another evening activity, which was partly why they chose to hold the event in an art gallery.
“Everyone loves art. It’s like food,” said Newman. “You don’t have to be a highbrow expert.”
Newman, who has a public-relations background, encouraged guests to attend by convincing them they deserved a night of art, wine, and the company of other women.
“Women forget that they are fabulous,” she said.
In addition to raising money for the organization’s medical and Jewish life initiatives, “Hadassah really stands for bringing women together,” Newman added.
“People don’t always take the time for themselves,” she said. “It’s good to allow women to enjoy life and something good.”