“The amazing work happening at Hadassah Hospital is an inspiration,” said Senator Tina Smith, of Minnesota, who visited the Hadassah Medical Organization with a delegation from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in March.
At Hadassah’s School for Sick Children, Sen. Smith participated in a pre-Purim music therapy session with Jewish and Arab teachers and parents. In the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), she spoke with an American couple whose baby was undergoing treatment at Hadassah. The couple explained that the quality medical care the baby was receiving is supplied to them at no cost. Adjacent to the PICU, the Senator met with Dr. Uri Pollak, director of the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Unit, and heard about the circumstances that brought the four patients—all babies from the Palestinian Authority—to Hadassah.
Prof. Yoram Weiss, director of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, warmly greeted the Senator and stressed Hadassah Hospital’s American roots. “We are proud to be a center of excellence established by American women,” he said. At the Senator’s request, Prof. Weiss also explained in detail how the national health care system works successfully in Israel.
Sen. Smith also met with three Hadassah nurses, who talked about daily life in the hospital. Julia Benbenishty, senior trauma nurse and co-founder of Nurses of the Middle East, explained the mission of her organization, which bolsters cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian nurses for the betterment of their patients. Benbenishty, sharing an image of Hadassah at its best, recalled an Arab nurse waiting to treat an orthodox Jewish patient until he finished praying with his tefillin (phylacteries). Hoyida Halil, a senior nurse in Ear, Nose & Throat/Plastics, spoke movingly about there being no difference between Arabs and Jews at Hadassah. Gila Zarbiv, a midwife originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shared her worry about her parents when a terrorist opened fire in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
The visit ended in the Abbell Synagogue with a short tour of the Chagall windows, led by Barbara Sofer, Hadassah’s Israel Director of Public Relations.