As I prepared for over 80 people to come to our home for our annual Simcha Cocktails and Comedy Night on Nov. 16, I thought about the importance of community, especially our Hadassah group. This is the second year my husband and I hosted this magnificent event, and we love opening our home to help Simcha Hadassah’s group make a difference for others.
The committee spent months preparing for this evening. We mailed invitations to members and we used Facebook to lure our friends to this wonderful evening. By reaching out to other “young” Jewish women, we were able to promote our cause this year: cancer research. The Cocktails and Comedy Committee was ecstatic it was a sold-out crowd. As our goal was 70 people, who would have thought we could get over 85 people?
This particular event began at 7:30 p.m. with dairy appetizers and cocktails. Then, we all descended downstairs to our basement to see a professional comedian perform on stage. Afterward, we all went upstairs for desserts. Yes, we were packed into our basement like sardines, but no one complained (remember sardines are a kosher fish and we have a kosher home, so we were OK). After the comedian, people seemed engaged for hours, and time seemed to fly for me. What we expected to be a few hours evolved into an amazing evening with friends and surprisingly, many people were still mingling after midnight.
Although some members of our committee left around 1:30 in the morning, we were so excited that we were not tired. We reviewed the components of the event, including sponsorship, which we were thrilled to get jewelry sponsors (jewelry designer Leslie Sandler and Jaime Gnaidek), a child therapy center (Expressive Therapy), an editor/writer (Nancy Frieder), a dentist (Dr. Julia Lipps Joachin) and of course, a realtor from REMAX (me), each of whom donated money just to be acknowledged.
This was our second year having sponsors and it was a win/win situation, as it was easy to make a poster and a flyer to say “thank you,” and we raised more money for cancer research. I know I will always try to support anyone who helps me raise money for philanthropy. In addition to sponsorships, we had a raffle, which raised more than $500 with donated items: a 14-K pearl and diamond earrings, Lia Sophia jewelry and several pairs of Wizards tickets.
At the end of the night, as exhausted as we were, we felt wonderful! The co-chairs of Cocktails and Comedy Karen Blomberg, Suzy Slyn Davis and Toby Morse and I, and our presidents Nancy Shapiro and Sue Alterman, were proud that this year we brought in more than $4,100, and after expenses donated well over $3,000 for cancer research.
Our Hadassah group, Simcha, is considered the “young” Hadassah group, as a majority women are 30-55 years old and looking for a meaningful yet fun interaction with other Jewish women. Personally, the group has been great professionally. As a realtor, I have met numerous people whom I typically would not have interacted with, and developed great friendships. Being a group of young women, many of us have children, and we do not have a tremendous amount of free time, so we want to make every free moment meaningful.
In Hadassah, we focus on education and fundraising, such as Cocktails and Comedy Night, but we also have a great time planning and interacting with the other members. To make a large group smaller, we have subgroups so we can develop friendships with people with similar interests, such as playgroups and mom’s happy hours (always a fun night that can bring a smile on my face). Our activities vary from “ladies only” nights, to couple nights and of course we have many family friendly activities. Some of my favorite family activities are the Chanukah party and make your own hamantashens.
Although we have postcards to inform our members of upcoming activities, a lot of our communication is done by Facebook. I post articles about Hadassah, especially stories of Hadassah’s impact on individuals, as well as a calendar of upcoming activities. Yes, we are Hadassah, but we are a “young group of women” and “not your mother’s Hadassah;” we cherish the old values, yet embrace new technology and new ways to look at life and try to make it better.