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Mother of the Year an Active, Jewish, Communal Leader

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Josephine Waiman Burson, this year’s American Mother of the Year and Tennessee State Mother of the Year, is a member of the national board of Hadassah and a past national vice-president of the organization. A resident of Memphis, she presently is a deputy member of the World Zionist Organization Actions Committee and is a member of the National Zionist Affairs Committee.

On the community level, Mrs. Burson has been active in the leadership of many organizations, including the United Jewish Appeal, Israel Bonds and the Memphis Jewish Community Center. She was one of the organizers of the Memphis Jewish Community Relations Council and served as its president from 1964-1967. Mrs. Burson has visited Israel numerous times. She was a delegate to the 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th World Zionist. Congress in Jerusalem, In 1968 she visited the Soviet Union as a participants of the Hadassah Study Mission. She was a delegate of the World Conference of Jewish Communities on Soviet Jewry held in Brussels in Feb. 1971.

Active for many years in the civic and political life of her city and state, Mrs. Burson was appointed to the Governor’s Cabinet of the State of Tennessee in Jan. 1967 and served as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Employment Security until Jan. 1971. She also served on the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in the State of Tennessee during these years.

She was the first woman appointed to serve as a Trustee of the Memphis State University Foundation and continues to serve in this capacity. She served on the Judicial Selection for the State of Tennessee in 1974. Her mother came from Lithuania and settled in Jonesboro, Arkansas; her father left South Africa after fighting in the Boer War and settled in Memphis.

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