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Message from the President

Shalom Hadassah Friends!

In March, I spent two wonderful weeks in Israel….my first trip back since 1984. So many new and amazing experiences. Thanks to the Hadassah Southern Arizona members who sew handmade therapy dolls for Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, I was honored to present 25 dolls to Judith Joseph, Assistant to the Director of Development, Donors and Events, on March 27th. These dolls are used by the children who are patients at the Hospital to bring them comfort while they are undergoing treatment or surgery. The dolls are also given to Diamond Children’s Center in Tucson.

After seeing the Hadassah medical complex, I realized that every hour spent working on behalf of Hadassah is so worthwhile.

While I was in Israel, three Hadassah Southern Arizona Board Members attended the Desert-Mountain Region Spring Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada March 22-24. A focus of this meeting was to understand how and why to cultivate Hadassah members to strengthen our Chapters by bringing in funds and leadership. Our Chapter won an Emerald Award 2013, from National Hadassah. This award is presented to Chapters who have achieved 25% above their bottom line goal.

This year marks the 66th anniversary of the Hadassah Medical Convoy Massacre.  On April 14, 1948, seventy-nine Hadassah doctors, nurses and medical personnel were killed in the Hadassah Medical Convoy Massacre. Following the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, the Palestinians blocked access to both Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus. Dr. Yassky, Director General of Hadassah Hospital led a convoy of trucks, ambulances, cars and buses….a total of 105 people, to bring medical and fortification supplies and personnel to the besieged Hadassah Hospital. The only access to the hospital was a narrow road, which led the convoy into a Palestinian ambush just 600 feet from a British military post. When firing began, a Jewish Haganah liaison officer pleaded with the British mandate officials to send in a Haganah relief force.

The British refused to intervene until the attack ended seven hours later, for fear that it might interfere with a cease fire negotiation. Among the dead were Dr. Yassky and Dr. Ben-David, who had been slated to head the new Hadassah Hebrew University Medical School. Most of the bodies were burned beyond recognition. This was the single deadliest terror attack in the history of the modern State of Israel. May their memories be a blessing.

April is Organ Donor Month: Thanks to new research and technologies, Israel has put into place new policies that could increase organ donation rates by up to 20%. Preservative fluids can be pumped into near-death patients, allowing for enough time to obtain family consent before organs are transplanted into someone who needs them.

The first heart transplant in Israel took place in 1986 at Hadassah University Medical Center. The Heart Failure Unit at the Hadassah University Medical Center was established to provide the basis for the National Heart Transplant Program. Since then, it has developed into an active center that offers comprehensive medical care to heart failure patients.

Since the program was initiated, over 120 patients have been followed by the center after heart transplantation. Ten percent of the patients were under the age of 21 at the time. Many of the patients are alive over ten years following the surgery; the longest living has survived over 17 years.

To learn more about organ donation, go to www.organdonor.gov.

Wishing you a cool, relaxing Summer.

Corinne Forti

PS. Tower Talk Day, Sunday, September 14, 2014: Hadassah chapters and groups across the country will unite in an effort to raise funds to complete the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower this year. Please plan to volunteer for this important event. Contact Iris Sapovits at 648-1214.


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