Seattle Chapter Hadassah is proud to honor Lucy Sondland Pruzan at its May 1, 2001, Gala Dinner.
Lucy was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, where her family found refuge, having left Germany just prior to the outbreak of World War II. She characterizes her mother and grandmother as early role models. Both were hard- working women who rose above a difficult situation and hard circumstances to make a life. The refugee Jewish community in Montevideo was fractionalized. It was made up of small enclaves, each representing a remnant from a different European community and each extending help but largely to its “own.” The lack of a unifying, community-wide Jewish entity made a strong impression on Lucy.
Later, after her family moved to Seattle, after Lucy graduated from Garfield High School and the University of Washington School of Nursing, she began translating her childhood experiences into a lifelong concern for helping others in need. Professionally she worked many years as a registered nurse at Swedish Hospital. Her volunteer work at the Stroum Jewish Community Center actualized two important values: her need to stay close to the Jewish community and her conviction that if she wanted things to happen, she would have to step up to the plate.
With a growing family, she realized how important the role of a strong JCC is in fostering Jewish youth. When she retired from her nursing career, Lucy was able to act on this vision by serving as president of the SJCC. She later served as president of the Jewish Federation and on the boards of the Samis Foundation, the University of Washington Arts and Sciences Development Board and the United Way Campaign.
In 1970, Lucy went on her first mission to Israel and toured Hadassah Hospital at Ein Karem. Three strong impressions remain: surprise at how very up-to-date the hospital was, the joy of seeing all kinds of people being cared for and admiration that both were so, given how recent and how devastating the 1967 war had been. Lucy celebrates Hadassah’s medical mission to actualize “the healing of the daughter of my people.” Motivated by firsthand family experience of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, Lucy has requested that all proceeds raised at the Gala Dinner be directed to neurological research at Hadassah facilities in Israel.
In Lucy’s words, “We live in a privileged time and we all have a responsibility to our fellow Jews and the larger community. We have what we have because the people who came before us paved the way. The only way to continue is for each of us to take a small part. It is wonderful to be in a position to write checks but we also need to participate in a hands-on way.”
Honorary chairs Eileen and Bob Gilman and Michele and Stan Rosen invite the community to join them and guest speaker Deborah Lipstadt at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, at the Sheraton Hotel for the Seattle Chapter Gala for Giving. For reservations, call 425-401-9338.