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Rhoda Smolow

Rhoda Smolow was installed as Hadassah's new National President in January 2020.

Rhoda Smolow still smiles when she recalls her grandmother's introduction during Hadassah's National Convention in 1985. Rhoda, a young mom, had joined the Erev Group of the Great Neck Chapter a few years earlier. "This is my granddaughter," Elenor Klein (z"l)—president of her Hadassah group in New York City—told friends at a social gathering. "She's going to be president of Hadassah one day."

"Oh, Grandma, you're embarrassing me," Rhoda demurred. But her grandmother's words proved prophetic. In January, Rhoda was inducted as Hadassah's 27th National President, overseeing the work of more than 300,000 members, Associates and supporters worldwide.

The position caps Rhoda's 39 years of service. After rising to lead her Hadassah group as president, she became president of her chapter and the Nassau Region. She also served on regional and national boards and was instrumental in opening the Hadassah Great Neck Chapter office. Nationally, she served as presidential development co-chair, organization department chair, vice president, and national secretary. To each position, she brought imagination and deep commitment to tikun olam, healing the world.

Rhoda credits her grandparents and parents for teaching her the value of philanthropy. As a child, she saw their dedication to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the UJA Federation of New York and Jewish Federations of North America. "My father was involved in every aspect of our small synagogue in Westchester when I was growing up," she says.

"He was a lawyer and very busy, but he took time to explain to us why it mattered."

In addition to making Rhoda a Life Member, her grandmother Elenor made a Founders gift in the names of Rhoda and her husband, Craig, when Rhoda was a teacher and Craig was a medical intern. It was a gift they couldn't have afforded at the time.

At first, Rhoda was uncomfortable wearing her pin. "My husband and I didn't give this gift," she told confidantes. But at their urging, she did wear it—and in doing so, lived a lesson. "It was a reminder to me to always aspire to do more and give more." Now grandparents themselves in a four generation Founder family, Rhoda and Craig recently sat down to discuss updating their will.

"I've been giving to Hadassah throughout my life," she told him. "And I've gotten so much in return. I'd like to ensure that after I'm gone, Hadassah will continue to benefit from the things I have done." Their planned gift made Rhoda a member of the 1912 Legacy Society, but more importantly, it honored the legacy of her late grandmother. "I've had the opportunity to be part of an organization whose medical work impacts the whole world," Rhoda says. "And I gained so many skills, every step of the way, from leadership to computer skills to educating others. Hadassah has changed my life."

Contact Planned Giving & Estates at (800) 428-8884 or to discuss how you can continue to support Hadassah's work after your lifetime through your estate plan.

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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A comprehensive guide to all of Hadassah's planned giving options

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Using life insurance to make a gift to Hadassah

Favorite ways to make a gift to Hadassah

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