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Amy Degen Named Member of the Month by Hadassah

Amy Degen, Hadassah life member, was chosen “Member of the Month” for February by Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Degen, of Groton, is truly one of those women, through her work in Hadassah and her current project of restoring a Jewish cemetery in Bialystok, Poland.

“I feel very honored to be chosen.  I am proud to be part of such a special women’s organization that helps Israel, the Israeli people and treats all people as well as being at the cutting edge of medical research,” she said.

Degen had just completed a three-year co-presidency with her local Nashoba Valley Hadassah chapter. During her tenure, she coordinated the Hadassah CHECK IT OUT program, where the chapter educated over 16,000 students since 1998 about Breast and Testicular Cancer. She is also working on a Hadassah L’Dor V’Dor multi-generational program for the Hadassah Northern New England region, bringing together life members who have not been actively involved with the organization.

A Holocaust educator, Degen currently teaches at her synagogue, Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford. She also serves on the boards of Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation and the Groton Interfaith Council. She is a Co-founder of the Groton Area Jewish Community Group and helps coordinate food for Christmas day for shut-in seniors.

Her current project of restoring a Jewish cemetery in Bialystok, Poland is a very personal one. Beginning in summer 2015, Degen and her husband drove from Krakow to Bialystok where her ancestors had lived and were murdered during the Holocaust.

She explained that there are two Holocaust Memorials in Bialystok, the only proof that there was Jewish life in the region. They formed a volunteer crew of 11 to restore the largest Jewish cemetery in Bialystok, where all the gravestones were knocked down or vandalized. “Our cemetery work is repairing Nazi destruction, bringing back dignity to the Jewish past and preserving a Jewish historical presence in Bialystok.”

The Degens returned again last summer to continue their work, and she said they are planning another trip this summer. “We have a GOFUNDME page to raise more money so we can lift more than 600 stones in a week.”

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