Leah Rabin will appear at Berkeley Hadassahs 50th

The couple was greatly impressed with the work the Jewish people accomplished and very supportive of the State of Israel.

"The more we saw of Jewish development, the more enthusiastic we became," the non-Jewish Inez Lowdermilk said in an interview before her death in 1989.

While in Israel, she met with Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold and was impressed with Szold's work in a Jerusalem hospital and in rehabilitating orphans rescued from Nazi Germany.

In the fall of 1945, Lowdermilk returned to her home in Berkeley.

"After speaking to so many Hadassah chapters east of the Mississippi and from Texas to Canada, I was shocked to find there was none in my own hometown," she wrote in her autobiography, "All in a Lifetime."

In 1947, "with the cooperation of the Oakland Hadassah chapter, I invited 14 Berkeley members to my home and organized a new chapter."

Lowdermilk remained an honorary member of the chapter until her death.

The chapter's first president, Sally Rubenstein, recalls that "Many people living in Berkeley who were Jewish did not affiliate with any religious organizations.

"In fact, there was only one synagogue here at the time of the founding of this chapter. Hadassah gave [Berkeley's Jews] a way to identify with their Judaism and its humanitarian aspects without turning to religion, and therefore many women joined."

The chapter, which originally met at the Northbrae Community Church, soon boasted 60 members, including non-Jews who supported Israel.

With a current membership of over 700, the group is headed by co-presidents Hannah Hindawi and Micky Donoho, both born in Israel. The chapter places an emphasis on humanitarian efforts and education, with at least three or four study groups operating annually.

The chapter has filled its fund-raising quotas almost every year, currently raising over $60,000 annually.

The dinner with Rabin will honor Berkeley Hadassah's 50 years of service and acknowledge the role Israel has played in the lives of many local women. The widow of the late prime minister will discuss her husband's role in Israel's development.

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $150, with a $100 donation going to Hadassah. For reservations, call (510) 848-5910.