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Judaism: Kolot Nashim provides a place for Hebrew women to volunteer, and create lasting friendships

Posted: April 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Kolot Nashim members Bonnie Birkham, Michele Lobl and Dolores Fox work the reception table as part of Seder 2009. Kolot Nashim is a Santa Clarita chapter of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. The chapter, chartered in 2003, welcomes members of all religious backgrounds and ages.

 

The women of Kolot Nashim come together not only to volunteer in the community, but to create lasting friendships with others of similar backgrounds and to share a cultural bond.

Kolot Nashim is a Santa Clarita chapter of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. The chapter, chartered in 2003, welcomes members of all religious backgrounds and ages. Men are also encouraged to become associate members.

Connectivity
Kolot Nashim members work together to volunteer and raise money for the community and for Hadassah projects worldwide.

The organization plans various activities ranging from fundraisers, tea parties and religious celebrations.

“We focus on connectivity to people of similar backgrounds,” said Dale Baron, Kolot Nashim’s current president. “You don’t have to be Jewish to join. We are sharing on a cultural level, not a religious one.”

Laurie Morgan, a founding Kolot Nashim member, said she wanted to form an organization that could contribute to the world and bring women together. A Hadassah group let them do exactly that.

“Many women want to contribute to a larger community without being affiliated to a particular temple,” said Morgan. “The women can come together to do charity work, and do it without focusing on the religious aspect.”

Morgan emphasizes that the group draws them together as women from similar backgrounds and histories, with ties to eastern Europe and Russia.

Multigenerational
Kolot Nashim was at first composed mostly of middle-aged women with older children. The group has evolved into a multigenerational group of all ages.

The group now has members aged 19 to 80, and women who have joined with their daughters, mothers and grandmothers.

“We welcome women from all walks of life,” Baron said. “We have students, housewives and businesswomen as members.”

Natalie Tamsut, vice president of membership, said her grandmother involved her with Hadassah at a young age. After moving to Santa Clarita, she sought out another chapter that she could join.

“The group is full of wonderful ladies and fun events,” Tamsut said. “I can contribute my time productively. We support Hadassah Hospital, and the organization was even one of the first responders in Haiti.”

Hadassah offers a state-of-the-art hospital in Jerusalem that is nonpartisan and welcomes the sick of all religious faiths and backgrounds.

“This is the perfect outlet for me to feel like a part of the Jewish community,” said Morgan. “I can fundraise for the hospital, feel a tie with my Jewish roots and connect with my culture in a different way.”

Another Hadassah chapter, Kochava, is also active in the Santa Clarita Valley.

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