Hadassah

Meeting Multicultural Challenges as an Arab Social Worker at Hadassah

Monday, Jan 12 2015

Lamis Shibli Ghadir regularly meets with multicultural challenges in her job as a social worker at the Hadassah Medical Organization, where her priority is to give all her clients the best possible service, whatever their varying demands.

Lamis is also a field instructor for social work students at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare.

Among her many diverse tasks is outreach to the Charedi and other religious communities to educate girls about the consequences of early pregnancy. Another is dealing with security issues when trying to bring patients from Gaza to Jerusalem for treatment. A typical day may involve coordinating with the army and/or being at a check-point to receive patients. These patients from Gaza, arriving with just one family member who often may not speak Hebrew, rely on Lamis to translate. A significant portion of the patients treated in Hadassah’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) only speak Arabic.

Lamis recalls an ultra-orthodox woman who, on the heels of several terror attacks in Jerusalem, initially refused to share a room with other mothers who also wanted to be close to their sick children. “They are all Arabs in there,” she said, with fear. After Lamis spoke with her and helped her realize that these were first and foremost mothers, like her, who were concerned only about their children’s illness and suffering, the woman agreed to share the room. And, as is typical within Hadassah’s walls, Lamis recalls, friendship began to grow across ethnic lines.

Another patient Lamis remembers is Yusif, a nine-year-old from East Jerusalem, who had a life-threatening heart problem. Yusif's treatment involved multiple heart operations and many weeks in Hadassah’s PICU while the Gaza war raged this summer. His mother, Fatma, had relatives in Gaza; she asked Lamis not to tell the staff, convinced that her child would be treated differently from the Jewish children. As it turned out, the mother built a warm rapport with the nurses, who brought Yusif gifts in celebration of his birthday. Fatma shared with Lamis her satisfaction that the problems of the Gaza war had not stood in the way of the staff’s professionalism. Moreover, Hadassah’s PICU staff members have become her friends.

For Lamis, these were but two multicultural challenges out of hundreds, where she and Hadassah become the bridge to harmony. Lamis brings out, too, that Hadassah’s island of peaceful coexistence plays out poignantly in The Hadassah School, which gives long-term inpatients the chance to continue their education. It is a place where Arab children celebrate Ramadan alongside the Jewish patients, and the Jewish children teach their traditions to the Arab youngsters in return. Lamis relates that people often tell her they don’t believe this happens in Israel. She replies: “Come to the pediatric wing of Hadassah and you will see.”

Comments

No comments yet.
First Name
Email
Comment
Enter this word:

Related Stories

alt_text

Monday, Oct 16 2017

Organ Donation from Cyprus Saves Young Woman in Israel

Thanks to an agreement of cooperation between the health ministries of Israel and Cyprus, a liver donated by a woman from Nicosia saved a young woman’s life in Israel.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Monday, Oct 9 2017

Honoring a Hadassah Leader's Legacy with Increased Breast Cancer Programming

Jill Stenzler-Engelman devoted 15 years to Hadassah's Check It Out® breast cancer awareness program in St. Petersburg, Florida. She taught breast self-exam and early detection at high schools, jails, and more. Her husband, Dr. Greg Engelman, said, “Jill loved to teach and loved educating young adults and adults on being proactive about their health.” Sadly, after a courageous 10-year battle, Jill died of ovarian cancer at age 53.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Monday, Oct 9 2017

Dr. Tamar Elram Announcement

The administration of Hadassah Medical Organization is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Tamar Elram as the new Director of the Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Oct 4 2017

Hadassah Medical Organization Sends Top Adolescent Trauma Expert to Mexico to Aid Earthquake-Ravaged Victims

Hadassah has sent one of the world’s top experts on adolescent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Syndrome (PTSD) to Mexico City.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More