One of the women responsible for shaping Hadassah into its role of national prominence was Florence Bierman Perlman. A national board member of Hadassah from 1938 until her death, Perlman also held many other important positions within the organization. She served as chair of Hadassah Israel Education Services (HIES) and of YA’AL, the women’s auxiliary of the Hadassah–Hebrew University Medical Center. She was national membership chair (from 1962), national vice president, chair of the building commission for erection of Hadassah House in New York, as well as convention chair and delegate to the World Zionist Congress.
Perlman served as president of the New York chapter of National Jewish Women’s Organizations, and as the first chair for national American affairs. She was chair of its national vocational education committee and of the conferences committee. Perlman was also active in other Zionist organizations. She chaired the Jewish National Fund, membership and public relations committees, and was a member of the General Council of the Women’s International Zionist Organization.
Her activities in the wider community included appointments by Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York to the board of visitors, New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson, New York, and membership on the State Committee for Human Rights. She also served on the New York City Council and on the New York State Prison Committee.
Born in New York City on July 28, 1896, Florence Bierman was the daughter of Max and Dora (Schneck) Bierman. She graduated from Barnard College in 1918, a year after marrying Nathan D. Perlman. In addition to her work for Jewish and community endeavors, she managed her husband’s successive political campaigns for Congress, New York State Supreme Court, and attorney general of New York. The Perlmans had a son, Jack M. Perlman. At her death in New York on September 24, 1975, she was survived by her two brothers, Samuel and Maurice Bierman, a sister, Lena Hausman, and three grandchildren.
AJYB 77:597; Obituary. NYTimes, September 25, 1975; Who’s Who in World Jewry (1965).
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Miller, Avis Dimond. "Florence Perlman." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 26, 2020) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/perlman-florence>.