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Helen Spiegel

Through a gift in her will to Hadassah, Helen Spiegel (z"l) continues to support the work that mattered to her during her lifetime.

In the 1930s in Nuremberg, Germany, young Helen Wasserman noticed the world around her was changing. She loved to enjoy an ice cream cone in the park with her friends. But then one day she wasn't allowed to buy an ice cream cone. Then she wasn't allowed to go the park. And then came Kristallnacht.

The Wassermans were lucky; they had visas to go to America, so they wasted no time packing bags. But just before they were to leave, "the Brownshirts came into their house, saw everything all packed up, and they were going to break everything," explains Mark Spiegel, one of Helen's sons. "Our grandmother—who was usually a timid, meek person—flashed a document with English on it, saying, 'You can't touch any of this—it's property of the United States government.'" The Brownshirts left to harass another Jewish family, and the Wassermans got out relatively unscathed. They were extraordinarily fortunate.

"My grandfather had the opportunity to leave much earlier than they actually left," Helen's daughter, Liz Goldstein, explains. "But he thought, 'It will pass, it will pass.'" History told quite another story.

Helen never forgot her experiences living in Nazi Germany. "The time leading up to Kristallnacht and the evening after that had a huge impact on my mother," her son Walter Spiegel explains, "in terms of what it was like to see your civil rights slowly taken away."

The Wasserman family had been quite assimilated, but Helen's future husband, Frank Spiegel, had a more traditional approach to Judaism—and Helen took to it. Together they embraced the notion of tikkun olam, the Jewish value of doing your part to repair a broken world.

In the 1960s, Hadassah was one of the primary outlets for a woman like Helen to do activist work, and she dived in, becoming president of the local chapter and then regional president. Through her work with Hadassah, Helen learned how to make an impact on the causes she cared about, speaking passionately and articulately on behalf of others. She parlayed that experience elsewhere in her community, opening a homeless shelter for women in the basement of her synagogue that is still running today, more than 30 years later. In honor of her community service, she carried the Olympic torch in 1996.

So the gift she left in her will to Hadassah makes perfect sense to her three children. "She didn't just give the message, she lived the message," Mark says. "That's why Hadassah was such a big part of her life. She visited Hadassah Hospital [Hadassah Medical Organization] every time she went to Israel and felt a real fondness for the work they do there."

Given her background as a refugee, a Jewish homeland had special significance for her. "She would say that it's important for all of us to leave a legacy," points out Walter. "I think she did feel fortunate, leaving Germany and getting to live the American dream, but she was always cognizant of the fact of how tenuous fortune can be, which is why we need to strive to leave a better world behind."

Contact Planned Giving & Estates at (800) 428-8884 or to learn how you can help leave a better world behind through your gift to Hadassah.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Hadassah a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Hadassah, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 40 Wall Street, 8th floor, New York, NY 10005
ATTN: Planned Giving & Estates, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Hadassah or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Hadassah as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Hadassah as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Hadassah where you agree to make a gift to Hadassah and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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