For Selma Katz, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 97, supporting Hadassah was practically a family tradition. Every Friday night, Selma, her husband, Larry, and their children would join Selma's parents for Shabbat dinner. "They always had company," recalls Selma's daughter, Terry. "Years later I found out the people we were having dinner with were David ben Gurion and Golda Meir!"
In fact, when Golda Meir started the Israel bond drive in the United States, she asked Selma to help. Selma turned to the group she knew she could count on, her Hadassah group in Queens, New York, and later her Elkins Park Hadassah, and used her passion for art as inspiration for planning. Selma organized tours, bringing busloads of women from New York to Washington, D.C., to museums, galleries and private homes to see important pieces of art. While on the bus, she would promote the purchase of Israel bonds for Hadassah.
In addition to these Home and Art Tours, which Selma organized for 40 years, she served on the board of the Woman's Division of Israel Bonds and was a member of its Prime Minister's Club for 25 years. Not only did she and her husband host Eleanor Roosevelt in their home at a 1960 Israel Bonds event, but they entertained Henry Kissinger, members of the Rothschild banking family, artist Marc Chagall and sculptor Jacques Lipchitz. Due to her husband's business, MacAndrews & Forbes—a manufacturer of candy, flavorings, pharmaceuticals and tobacco products—they often traveled often to Iran and were guests at the shah's palace in Tehran.
In addition to traveling the world, Selma—who was originally from New York before moving to Melrose Park, Pennsylvania, and last resided in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, —loved gardening, hosting events and volunteering. "She had class and an incredible sense of style," Terry says. "People valued her." Selma instilled in her daughter the importance of contributing to causes she is passionate about. Selma's family is one of the first four-generation Hadassah families in Philadelphia: "My grandmother, my mother, myself and my daughters," Terry says.
Fittingly, when Selma created her will, she focused not only on her family but also her extended family of Hadassah. She created a gift in her will specifically for the Mother and Child Center at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
"Hadassah was a happy home," Terry says. "It was part of her heart."
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