At Temple Emanuel in Newton, "forty or fifty years ago," a Sisterhood Shabbat was planned. The Sisterhood President asked Rabbi Chiel if the women could be allowed to have part of the service, preferably the Haftarah reading. Rabbi Chiel asked which woman was able to do this. The Sisterhood President answered, 'Hadassah can.' So, Hadassah did the Haftarah. She remembers one of the men saying, 'if the men could do it like that, we'd have quite a service. Listen to her!' "We had all been afraid that they'd all get up and walk out! But they didn't. They stayed."
"After that I started to train women to do the Torah reading at Temple Emanuel."
At that time Cantor Hochberg was the cantor. "Once, when the Shabbat service was almost over, he and Rabbi Chiel called me up to the pulpit. I was scared, 'What did I do? Did I do something wrong?' 'The cantor and I have decided that you have fulfilled the requirements for becoming a Bat Mitzvah. So we are giving you a Bat Mitzvah scroll.' It was most touching. That's when I became a Bat Mitzvah! This was fifty years ago. I did not have a Bat Mitzvah before." After Hadassah became a Bat Mitzvah at Temple Emanuel, Rabbi Chiel asked her if she'd be willing to teach. Hadassah answered that she "would be willing to teach anyone who was willing to learn." So, Hadassah and the Rabbi sent out a letter to the congregation and got a huge response. "He [Rabbi Chiel] was really wonderful! He supported us all the way. We had thirty people in that first group in 1976... Some of those women are still with me."
How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography:
Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Hadassah Blocker on PATH TO ACTIVISM." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.
For a footnote:
Jewish Women's Archive, "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Hadassah Blocker on PATH TO ACTIVISM," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.