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

Wednesday, Mar 22 2017

Marathon Runner Pays Tribute to Hadassah Medical Team

After successfully running in the 2017 Jerusalem Marathon, Gil Troy pays tribute to Prof. Meir Liebergall, Director of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Orthopedic Surgery Department, and his medical team, who made this run possible.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Mar 22 2017

Reversing the Odds with Technology and Expertise

It could be a young patient with a virulent flu. Or a man having a severe asthma attack. Or a pregnant woman with a complication of pregnancy.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Mar 22 2017

Cypriot Health Minister Helps Save Israeli Patient

Whether it was a newborn baby with a severe heart defect or a pregnant woman with an unusual ectopic pregnancy, the Hadassah Medical Organization has been known to save the lives of Cypriot patients by helicoptering them to its hospital for complex emergency treatments. Recently, however, it was the Cypriot Health Minister who helped save the life of an Israeli patient.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Mar 22 2017

Top-Tier Turkish Journalists Receive Inside View of Hadassah Hospital

A delegation of top-tier Turkish journalists, accompanied by representatives from the Israel Foreign Ministry, visited Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem this month, marking the first time a high-level Turkish delegation has come to Israel since the new reconciliation agreement was signed between Israel and Turkey.

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