East Brunswick mayor declares October Hadassah month

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EAST BRUNSWICK–Honoring its more than 45 years of community outreach and service, Mayor Brad Cohen has proclaimed the month of October “Hadassah Month” in East Brunswick.

The East Brunswick chapter of Hadassah is part of the Hadassah Zionist fundraising organization for Israel, with more than 330,000 members, supporters and associates in the United States, according to the chapter’s co-chair of Publicity, Christine Sullivan.

“We support the Hadassah Medical Organization’s pioneering research and treatment that is shared with the world,” Sullivan said. “In 2005 Hadassah was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In the U.S., we lobby for women’s health issues.”

Councilwoman Sharon Sullivan read a proclamation on Sept. 23 on behalf of the East Brunswick Mayor’s Office, declaring October as “Hadassah Month.”

“I am grateful to the mayor’s office for the recognition given to our chapter and am proud of our efforts to raise funds for the pioneering research done at Hadassah Medical Organization – the celebration of our Jewish heritage, promotion of women’s health, education, advocacy and volunteerism in our community,” Christine Sullivan said.

She explained that the East Brunswick chapter was established in the township about 50 years ago; however, the Hadassah organization was founded more than 100 years ago by Henrietta Szold.

“[Hadassah] started from a study group, which raised money to send two nurses to the mid-east to alleviate horrific health conditions,” Christine Sullivan said. “Hadassah became the first to bring modern medicine to the Middle East and has since grown to be a powerhouse in research, treatment, and disaster relief sending fully equipped medical teams wherever emergencies occur in the world.”

Christine  Sullivan, who is also the chapter’s chair of outreach, said the chapter holds monthly meetings at the East Brunswick Jewish Center, Temple B’nai Shalom, and the East Brunswick Public Library. Many are open to the public.

The chapter also has several social groups that include Knit and Nosh, two book clubs, Lunch Bunch, and Mah Jongg.

Holding many free public events throughout the year, Sullivan said the chapter will hold an upcoming “Knowledge is Power: What You Need to Know About Hereditary Cancer Risk” meeting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the East Brunswick Library, off Civic Center Drive.

“Since Hadassah’s discovery of the BRCA mutations that increase the risk of certain cancers in men and women, our knowledge of hereditary cancer has grown exponentially,” Christine Sullivan said. “In this informative program, medical and genetics experts from the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey along with a BRAC-positive ‘previvor’, will discuss how you can understand, determine and reduce hereditary cancer risk for you and your family.”

With community outreach and service being a large part of its chapter, Christine Sullivan said the chapter also delivers senior meals, serves in Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen, disseminates medical information at its gift wrap fundraisers, donates to the local food pantry, holds diaper drives, and holds Hire Attire events to help neighbors in need to dress for success.

If someone wants to join, Christine Sullivan said residents can contact Vice President of Membership Liz Salston or visit its website.

“All that’s needed is a love of Israel and a passion to repair of the world,” she said.

Christine Sullivan said residents can show their appreciation toward East Brunswick Hadassah by volunteering in its biggest fundraiser, Holiday Gift Wrap, which takes place during December at the Brunswick Square Mall in East Brunswick.

“All proceeds go to Hadassah Medical Organization and its robust stem cell research. This breakthrough research is occurring in breast cancer, colon cancer, testicular cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, ALS, AIDS, Alzheimer’s and both wet and dry macular degeneration, and more,” Christine Sullivan said. “In Hadassah, we educate because we believe ‘when women are in college, they can heal the world.’ We advocate because we are Jews. We fundraise because it can build bridges of peace through healing.”

To volunteer for the chapter’s annual gift wrapping fundraiser, email ebhadassahgiftwrap@gmail.com.

For more information about the East Brunswick chapter of Hadassah, visit www.hadassah.org/eastbrunswick.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.