Traveling with Hadassah’s founder — in the trunk

By Pam Droog Jones

I just got back from visiting my son in Arizona with my husband Jerry and Henrietta. Jerry and I had a wonderful time, but I’m not so sure about Henrietta.

Who the heck is Henrietta? She’s a 4-foot-tall, black-and-white, very grandmotherly looking cardboard cutout of Henrietta Szold, who founded Hadassah in 1912.

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Traveling Henrietta is the creation of fellow Temple Beth-El congregant Cathy Lucia, the newly elected president of the Mid-Missouri Deborah Chapter of Hadassah. As a fundraiser for Young Judaea Summer Camps, and to honor Hadassah’s centennial year, members make a minimum donation of $10 for the privilege of taking Henrietta along on vacation and photographing her against scenic backdrops. The pictures will be posted on the chapter’s website. There are four Henriettas in circulation.

I loved the concept so I was eager to have Henrietta join us on our trip. However, I’m sorry to say I just didn’t do right by her. For some reason I kept calling her Harriet. And whenever we were surrounded by the breathtaking, otherworldly Sedona-area scenery of cliff dwellings and pueblos, Red Rocks and mesas, I was so overwhelmed I just didn’t think about poor Henrietta in the trunk of the rental car. My family got used to hearing me shout “Harriet!” whenever I realized I had blown another photo op.

I did manage to remember Henrietta long enough to snap a few lame-o pictures with someone’s hand holding her next to a cactus and in front of a mountain (way in the distance). My son’s girlfriend offered to PhotoShop her into a Sedona landscape but somehow that doesn’t seem right. So I’ll hand over Henrietta to the next Hadassah traveler who, wherever she may roam, might show her more respect than I did in Arizona.