MUSHER--Hadassah K., widow of Sidney Musher, mother of the late Jeremy (Evi), Daniel (Karol), and David (Ruth), and last surviving daughter of Rabbi Mordecai and Lena Kaplan, died at her home on March 8, soon after celebrating her 101st birthday with her children, nine grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. In the fall of 1911, Henrietta Szold held parlor meetings in the Kaplan's home to form an organization to provide medical support in Palestine. The decision to call this organization Hadassah was made in December, 1911, and, when the Kaplan's new daughter was born in January, 1912, she, too, was named Hadassah. Educated in the New York public schools and Hunter College, Hadassah became a teacher. During the Depression, she was asked to continue at half-salary so that male teachers could receive a full salary, whereupon she resigned and went to travel in Palestine. She visited archaeological sites in Egypt and Jordan, riding into Petra on donkey and to the pyramids and the temples at Thebes and Luxor on camelback. Hadassah played a leadership role in many cultural and philanthropic organizations. As head of the Women's Division of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, at her father's 70th birthday, she had Eleanor Roosevelt speak to promote the egalitarian goals of Reconstructionism. She served on the boards of the Reconstructionist Foundation and later the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. When Sidney became head of the PEF-Israel Endowment Fund, Hadassah traveled with him several times each year to oversee grants to various social, cultural and educational charities. These visits led to her involvement in the Batsheva Dance Company, Ben Gurion University, Hebrew University, Israel Sinfonietta, and the Weizmann Institute, among others. She was also active in the PEF Israel Endowment Fund, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the America Israel Cultural Foundation, and numerous cultural organizations in New York. Remembered for her energy, vitality, devotion to family, and commitment to education and culture, Hadassah will be sorely missed by family and friends.

Published in The New York Times from Mar. 13 to Mar. 14, 2013