Ghita Hill Bessman

With great sadness, we write to inform you of the death on Wednesday, October 28, of Ghita Bessman, mother of Jim, Ruthanne (Neil Bohrod), and Richard Bessman, grandmother of Ariella Bohrod. Ghita was a former President of the Jewish Federation of Madison, an active member of Beth Israel Center, and a strong supporter of Hadassah. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard Bessman.

The burial will be in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Shiva information will be posted here when available or contact

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Below are remarks given by Steven H. Morrison (pictured above left), Executive Director Emeritus, at the Jewish Federation of Madison's 2016 Annual Meeting, where we were honored to recognize Ghita (pictured above right) with a Lifetime of Leadership award.

"Ghita Hill Bessman is a six-plus-decade leader of the Madison Jewish community. She first arrived in Madison in 1950 and immediately became involved. Ghita and Leonard moved to Milwaukee in 1952 but returned to Madison in 1960 where she immediately took up where she left off in Jewish communal leadership with special emphasis in Hadassah and the Jewish Federation of Madison. She served as President of both including being the first woman to hold that Federation position. Ghita also served a stint as the Federation acting executive director and, representing the Federation, was a founder – during the turbulent 1960’s – of the Madison public schools’ Superintendent’s Human Relations Advisory Council (SHRAC). Ghita is a life member of the Federation Board of Directors and regularly attends board meetings. She is also a member of the Alex Temkin Distinguished Awards Committee, an award she received in 1978."

May Ghita's memory be for a blessing.