Sigma Delta Tau ‘DAWG-ettes’ Reconnect

Sigma Delta Tau ‘DAWG-ettes’ Reconnect

After five-plus decades, sorority sisters remember the “sleeping porch” and enjoying the best of times.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

The first part of the event started at Zafron Restaurant in Sandy Springs // Photo Credit: Martha Jo Katz
The first part of the event started at Zafron Restaurant in Sandy Springs // Photo Credit: Martha Jo Katz

While Sigma Delta Tau, the largest historically Jewish college sorority, was founded in 1917 at Cornell University, the organization’s University of Georgia chapter hails back to 1924. But no more recent years were lost on the spirited, social, and successful UGA Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) alums who convened in Atlanta on March 16 with 39 SDT DAWGS from 1968, 1969 and 1970 classes.

Credit goes to Helena Solodar who realized that her SDT class would celebrate 50 years and hatched the plan. She spun into action to round up a committee to execute the Sunday event which began at Zafron Restaurant and concluded at Solodar’s home.

Nearly 40 “sisters” had to stop talking long enough to pose for a group photo // Photo Credit: Martha Jo Katz

Acquiring names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers brought many memories to the planning committee – comprised of Raye Coplin, Diane Ornstein, Marguerite Mitchell Merlin, and Sharon Cornblum (all from Atlanta) plus Susan May from Jasper, Ala.

As the guests arrived, they received a nametag for easy recognition (hopefully no one changed THAT much) with a special yellow tea rose insignia. From Texas to Boston, these college friends laughed, cried, told stories, and were amazed at all that had been accomplished for this day of remembrance which consisted of viewing old photos that Helena had arranged on stand-up boards. Guessing who was who brought roars of laughter.

Martha Jo Katz, although not a sorority member, attended the function and contributed to this story as a volunteer and photographer. She said, “I value how important lifetime friends are and how these sorority sisters from Athens are connected for life. I have known many of these women for years … some all my life like cousins, Raye Coplin, Susan May, and almost cousin, Judy Landy. Carol Chanin and I share a first cousin.”

And so on, in Jewish geography.

Planning Committee members (from left) Suzan Wall Brourman, Raye Harris Coplin, Marguerite Mitchell Merlin, Helena Stern Solodar, Diane Rauzin Ornstein, Susan Spielholz May // Photo Credit: Martha Jo Katz

A group photo was taken among the noise and excitement in attempting to round everyone up. As the ladies sat down for a Persian bill of fare for which Zafron is so well known, Helena welcomed the group, thanked the committee, and read an original poem she had composed.

Raye Harris Coplin said, “Even though 50 years has passed, it’s nice to turn back the hands of time to reflect on the memories we have.” One special memory

Raye recounted was the “Sleeping Porch” that everyone “slept” in.

Nancy Leffler Sonenshine and sister, Ann Leffler Davis, whose mother was a Charter Member of SDT ETA.

Solodar mentioned, “Particularly in light of our fast-paced lives and all the world turmoil that surrounds us, it’s such a beautiful and meaningful concept to bring old and special friendships back together.”

Susan May emoted, “I don’t have any Jewish friends in Jasper, so I couldn’t wait to reconnect with my sisters.”

Patti Stein, from Sandy Springs, exclaimed, “I feel so guilty to have not seen so many wonderful friends in so long and couldn’t wait to see everyone!”

Ellen Lewis stated, “Excited to see these beautiful women I shared the ‘sleeping porch,’ and bathroom with. AND I remember everyone one of them naked!”

A blue and yellow bracelet, made by Helena and her daughter, Lauryn, was given to each attendee.

Cheryl Issacs added, “It’s been exciting to see these women; some of whom I haven’t seen in 50 years!”

Sisters Nancy Sonenshine and Ann Davis were in attendance. Nancy exclaimed how unbelievable it was to see all these women after five decades.

Carol Chanin said, “I knew it would be fun to see happy faces that I hadn’t seen in so long.”

Susan Brourman commented on the success the years had brought. “To see everyone doing so well was heartwarming.”

Marguerite Merlin made a resonating statement, proclaiming, “Those were the best years of my life — and today brought back memories of a comfortable place to live, be yourself and be Jewish!”

After the luncheon, the sisters made their way to the Solodars’ where they splurged on homemade desserts. The décor was in SDT colors — yellow and blue — down to the bracelets. Attendees received yellow chocolate roses (SDT’s official flower). A touching memorial poster and small framed photos were displayed to remember the sisters who were no longer living.

After a long day of reconnecting and reminiscing, the world seemed a better place for the sisters. More memories were made. Fifty-plus years may have passed, but some friends truly are forever.

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