The Hebrew month of Tevet is about to yield to the month of Shvat. Rosh Hodesh is next Shabbat. We're getting lots of much-needed rain and may even have snow this week in Jerusalem.
I grew up in Colchester, Connecticut which was often the coldest town in the State according to the radio reports. Frequently, our Young Judaea events needed to be rescheduled because of icy roads. I don't miss snow, but it's impossible not to feel the excitement of the sabra children when the rare flurries fall.
We're in high gear with national elections coming up on January 22nd. Every day we're treated to new polls and possible party combinations. Still, other news does slip through. Take, for instance, the welcome news that the first ever religious woman passed the Israel Air Force's elite flight course. The first name young woman for whom the sky is the limit is Tamar.
Last names of pilots and navigators are top secret. But here's a hint. Tamar's Mom is a Young Judaean and Tamar's extended family are devoted members and generous donors from Hadassah Puerto Rico. Tamar-we're proud of you! There's always a Hadassah connection! Mazal tov!
My son Avi,his wife Hadas, and their four sons are so close to Tamar that they were among the invitees to watch her get her flight wings and throw her hat in the air. The timing was also right. Despite the honor, they couldn't have gone last week. Hadas was in Hadassah Mount Scopus, where the auspiciously- named head of Obstetrics and Gynecology Professor Simcha Yagel delivered their fifth son.
*THOUSANDS OF TREES
And speaking of Hadassah connections, it's hard to think of a more meaningful reaction to the horrendous murder at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT than the planting of thousands of trees in our JNF Rivers Park in Beersheba in memory of the slain children and staff. Trees are a symbol of life in Judaism, and these saplings will hold the desert sand, and grow up to provide shade and beauty for families in the beleaguered South. National President Marcie Natan planted and watered the first tree, a mulberry tree.
According to Hadassah JNF chair Miriam Aron we can still contribute to this magnificent project, tree by tree, grove by grove turning the desert green. Tu B'shvat is less than 3 weeks away.
See more about the trees planted in Holyland park here>>
We know how devoted the staff members of Hadassah Hospital are, giving extra hours to patient care and research. Please meet the extraordinary Anteby family who are also donors. Professor Emeritus Shaoul Ouzel "Uzi" Anteby, comes from a family that goes back seven generations in Israel. His paternal grandparents were founders of Kfar Tabor in the Galilee. Because people were literally starving in pre State Israel in the 1920's Anteby's father accepted a teaching position in the Cairo Jewish community, and married there. Uzi was born in Egypt. Fast forward to 1955. Uzi is a student at Hadassah's six-year old medical school in Jerusalem.
He meets Noga Yerushalmi, then a student at the Evelina de Rothschild high school, now a lawyer. Noga's mother is also an Egyptian Jew. She had accompanied her sister for medical care to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, was spotted by an eligible bachelor who proposed the same day. Uzi and Noga had four children, among them a son and daughter-in-law are Hadassah-educated physicians Eyal Anteby, (a department head in Ashkelon) and Irene Anteby, a senior ophthalmologist at Hadassah.
Noga survived a battle with ovarian cancer, but five years ago, their beloved daughter Rinat Anteby Shafran, succumbed to the same disease, In Rinat's memory, Noga and Uzi Anteby have established the Rinat Anteby Shafran Prize for Excellence in Research and Teaching by Medical Residents. In addition, the Anteby's have been instrumental in encouraging their extended family based in France to support Hadassah.
"We believe that the residents need to get more compensation and incentives for the hard work they do," said Prof. Anteby. "What could be more appropriate that supporting residents in the department which was my second home for the 45 years that I practiced medicine? We're hoping that this will inspire others to establish prizes, not just in memory of their loved ones, but to celebrate the life-giving work of Hadassah."
The 2012 winners are Liron Kogan,34, and Uri Dior, 35, two young fathers and young doctors in their obstetrics-gynecology residency at Hadassah Hospital. I met up with the prize-winners in the School for Public Health on a day when they took a break from the labor (pun intended) delivering babies and caring for patients. According to Dr. Kogan and Dior, Department Head Professor Benjamin Reubinoff, himself a famous medical researcher, has placed extra emphasis on doctors combining patient care with research. Dr. Dior, a seventh generation sabra, and Kogan, whose parents immigrated from Kishinev in the former Soviet Union, have been collaborating since they met at Hadassah's medical school.
Their first project has to do with "uterine exposure'" the belief that what a fetus experiences will have impact on his/her life in later years." For instance,"says Dior,"We believe that a child whose mother or father smokes while the mother is pregnant will have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease at age 32."
Read more news from Hadassah Medical Organization here>>
Another area of interest is the amazing ability of certain women to go on having healthy, normal babies until they are nearly 50. These women-many from the religious Jewish and Arab sectors-often have ten or more children. "People used to assume that having so many children and having babies while they are grandmothers might shorten their lives,"said Dr. Kogan. "Just the opposite is true. Having babies late in life seems to be correlated with longevity."
While combining all areas of ob-gyn care with their research, both doctors were drafted recently to serve in Pillar of Defense. Both serve as medical officers in combat units of the IDF. "When we got home," said Dr. Dior,"Hadassah sent us baskets of candy and balloons. That's because we're part of the Hadassah family." *HEAR YE, HEAR YE Thanks for your get well wishes after my ear surgery. Although I had the surgery at Hadassah Ein Kerem, and was hospitalized in the grand Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, I had my latest check-up at Hadassah College!
My surgeon, Dr. Michal Kaufman teaches there and sees their patients, there too. Three Hadassah College students, future speech therapists/audiologists in the Communications Disorders department, were updated on my unusual case. I was glad to have them in the clinic. They had excellent questions-several I had neglected to ask! I felt as if the whole Hadassah family was in on this procedure. My hearing test is in three more weeks, and I'm guessing that there will be a Hadassah College graduate handling that, as well. For those of you who had questions for Dr. Kaufman about Hadassah Medical Organization's comprehensive ear, nose and throat (otolaryngology) department, including Cochlear Transplants, she invites you to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best from Jerusalem,
Israel Director of Public Relations
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America