I can’t think about Mother’s Day without thinking about Hadassah. What?? Why??
My mother was Hadassah through and through. I was born and raised Hadassah – because of my mother, Bernice Samorodin Luskey, and because of my two grandmothers, Rose Frauman Luskey and Sophia Looban Samorodin. Hadassah is in my DNA! It’s a 5-generation thing for my family.
We all have memories of our mothers that we think about on Mother’s Day. One of my earliest memories is my mother having women stop by the house to pick up a stack of cards. They had coffee and a piece of cake and it all seemed nice to me. What were those cards? No idea! I didn’t care (I was only 4 – 5 years old) – we had cake on those days! I learned many years later that she was the Donor Solicitation Chair, and they were picking up their cards to make donor calls. She was raising money for Hadassah!
I knew that Hadassah had a style show because my sister, Janice Luskey Miller, and I were two of the models. And again, there was that Hadassah thing – raising money for a hospital in Israel. Later, there were the cards and certificates she sent – yes, on behalf of Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah!
I learned so many things from my mother – how to be a dedicated volunteer, how to truly be committed to a cause, how to work together as a team/committee, and how to bake a great apple cake! I learned about Hadassah and why she chose that organization to devote so much time, effort and dollars to. From Mother, I learned that family is everything – and teaching them to do for others is what’s right. She taught me about giving to others in need and about involving your family when you do. She taught me l’dor v’dor – from generation to generation. I learned tzedakah and tikkun olam from her. Her cards and certificates helped repair the world. She helped save lives every day though Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), Youth Aliyah and Young Judaea. She turned words into action, and most importantly, she passed that on to all four of her children. I, in turn, have worked just as passionately to pass that on to my two children and three grandchildren.
Mother’s Day has an incredibly special meaning to me personally. My first-born child was born on Mother’s Day! In fact, I spent all day in labor waiting for him to be born. So now, every few years, we celebrate both his birthday and Mother’s Day on the same day. It’s special. But since July 4, 2019, it has also become a hard day for me. My 95 ½ year old mother passed away that July. The first Mother’s Day after her death was in 2020, and we all know about May 2020 – COVID-19. My mother wasn’t here to call or send flowers to. We couldn’t be with my son’s family (or my daughter’s family either). I could be depressed and mope all day or I could decide to learn from what I was taught growing up – to be thankful for all our blessings and to give to others. I could donate in Mother’s memory for Mother’s Day to honor all she gave me and taught me for almost 64 years. I could say a prayer for all we have, including our good health. I could celebrate being a mother, loving – and yet missing – my mother, and having a daughter and a daughter-in-law who are amazing mothers. I decided that was the route I wanted to take. Keep the wonder and beauty of Mother’s Day even during a pandemic. Celebrate instead of weeping.
My mother loved being a mother. She was there when we got home from school every day and delighted in our accomplishments as children and as adults. When I was installed as the Region President of the Upper Midwest Region of Hadassah, my mother was the one who installed me. And then she went on to surprise me by making me and my husband, Stephen, Founders of Hadassah. As I went on to National portfolios and offices, Mother was the one telling all her friends that her daughter was a “macher” at Hadassah! My first office at Hadassah had a nameplate on the door and I couldn’t wait to take a picture of it and send it to her. Her pride in my accomplishments grew and grew and she made sure I knew how proud she was. When I was installed as a Hadassah National Vice President, I felt her presence there and knew she was smiling from her home. She had helped me reach this position by showing me what’s important, by being my role model and showering me with love every step of the way.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you! Whether you are someone’s mother or aunt or sister or friend or colleague, you are showing others the path and supporting them along the way. Thank you from this mother. Now where’s my recipe card for apple cake? I think I need to make one for Mother’s Day this year!