PESACH AND THE VISIT
These weeks of the month of Nissan, before Pesach are the busiest
time of the year in Israel. Even though supermarkets go over entirely
to Pesach food, and many restaurants offer kosher-for-Passover
menus, a certain anxiety level seems to overtake the country.
to the stress this year is the visit of President Barack Obama,
making shopping and preparing a little more challenging is the high
security. The Jerusalem police opened a Obama-visit hotline to let
us know which streets and highways are closed.
At Hadassah Hospital, the designated hospital for the visit, a US
security guard will stand at attention in the shock trauma room of
the Judy and Sidney Swartz Emergency Center for the entire visit. God
forbid, the President will need medical care, but nothing is being
left to chance. The White House asked in advance that Prof. Avi
Rivkind be available.
MEET THE NEW HEAD OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE
The kitchens at our hospitals are, of course, changing over to Pesach
food. No pita allowed! In the ER, another kind of preparation is
going on. The new head of Emergency Medicine Dr. Aziz Darawshe, says
the ER is getting pre-Pesach accidents: burns, ladder-falls, and kids
imbibing cleaning fluids. There are also gastrointestinal problems
for high risk patients who eat too much matzo. Meet Dr. Darawshe.
has come to us from the Emek Hospital in Afula where he headed
emergency services for more than 20 years The oldest of 11 children,
Dr. Darawshe grew up in an Arab village near Nazareth. His father
only finished 4th grade, and his mother never learned to read, but
four siblings are physicians. Dr. Darawshe speaks eight languages:
Hebrew,Arabic,English, Russian, Spanish, Bulgarian an, as he says a
"bissel Yiddish." He turned down many job offers, but when the head
of Hadassah's ER became available when Prof. Kobi Assaf retired, he
went for it.
"Hadassah is one of the best hospitals in the world,
and I didn't hesitate for a moment," he said. Make sure you stop
by to visit (only socially) him when you're in Israel. He's eager
to meet his new "Hadassah family,"and he speaks your language!
SWD ATRIUM DANCE FLOOR
Pesach is also the holiday of spring. What better holiday greeting
could there have been than the Waltz of the Flowers at Hadassah
Hospital? If you're not among the 200,000 persons who have seen
the Hadassah Flashwaltz here's the link.
It's gone viral. The setting is the atrium of the new Sarah Wetsman
Davidson Hospital Tower. Even architect Arthur Spector was impressed
with what a great music hall he'd created. Among the familiar
faces, you'll see our smiling National President Marcie Natan,
and dancing Hadassah Offices in Israel Director General Audrey
Shimron. The waltzing couple? Dancing Donors Diana and Manolo
Berezdivin from Puerto Rico. If you look hard, you'll see HOI
Deputy Director Barbara Goldstein and me, too. Share and forward
this youtube. This is the only kind of "virus" we like at Hadassah.
Did you know that the delivery rooms at Hadassah Mount Scopus and Ein
Kerem have to prepare for extra work before Pesach? The hard work
of cleaning seems to stimulate childbirth. Popular names? Nissan,
(for the month) Aviv and Aviva(spring), Shir and Shira, (for the
Song of the Sea we read on the seventh day of Passover ).
baby naming, the Pears Program of the Braun School of Public Health
brought together alumni of the International Masters in Public Health
program recently for a continuing education workshop. Two of the
visiting graduates are from Nigeria. One named her baby Israela and
the other Hadassah! More than 750 doctors, nurses, epidemiologists,
nurses, pharmacists and public health planners from 90 developing
and western countries have graduated from this outstanding program..
HEALING WITH COLOR
Imagine knowing that the work of art you are creating will stand
in a synagogue in the same Jerusalem hospital as the work of Marc
Chagall. Such was the challenge for who artist Sharon Binder. She was
recruited for the challenge of creating the parochet, the curtain
that covers the ark of the Moshe Saba Synagogue, the newest place
of worship of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
Binder grew up in Queens, a graduate of Queens College, where she
majored in art and Jewish studies. Fascinated by the use of letters
and designs, she studied calligraphy in Canada, where she moved
before making Aliyah in 1983. "Hadassah and everything it stands
for have always been close to my heart,"said Binder.
was a life member in New York and Florida," said Binder. "I have
long been a life member and am active in Jerusalem. "We know that
there are times when it takes more than medicine to heal," said
Binder. "My design for the Torah Ark curtain, the parochet is based
on a concept of reaching heavenward in supplication, pleading, and
seeking guidance. My starting point was integrating three concepts:
the Jewish tradition of healing, the symbolism and physical meaning
of a heart, and a full range of colors illustrating a human being's
I wanted to bring Hadassah past and Hadassah present
together, just as I combined medical concepts with spiritual and
traditional symbolism." Binder chose to illustrate a quotation from
the Prophet Jeremiah, from whom Hadassah also takes its motto "the
healing of the daughter of my people. Behold, I will bring her relief
and healing. I will heal them and reveal unto them an abundance of
peace and truth. [Jeremiah 33:6] When the ark is closed, the words
"peace" and "truth" line up side by side. Binder has four sons. The
youngest Benzion, a graduate of Hadassah College, helped her map
out the design, bringing the Hadassah connection full circle.
NEW TORAHS, TOO!
The arrival of new Torah scrolls in synagogues in Israel is always
accompanied by a festive procession. So, too, was the joyous occasion
of the arrival of two newTorah scrolls for the Moshe Masri Saba
Synagogue. The news that both the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Chief
Rabbis were coming brought out patients, too, among them those who
sought a Rabbinic blessing for good health.
The ceremony began with the completion of the scrolls in which
final letters are written in by hand. Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar
graciously wrote a letter for National President Marcie Natan-the
only woman on the podiumwho watched over his shoulder. In charge of
the ceremony was Hadassah's new Rabbi Moshe Klein who introduced
Marcie as "our President." Algerian-born donor Isaac Leon Jacques
Zaoui presented the Torah scrolls in memory of his wife Jacqueline
Odette Hanna Zaoui.
CONVOY MEMORIAL: 65 YEARS LATER
Yael Maliach Shimoni was only 2 years old, the youngest of five
siblings, when her father Shimon Maliach was murdered in the
Hadassah Convoy to Mount Scopus. "He wasn't supposed to work that
day," said Shimoni. "He was in the shower when he received the
call. He didn't eat breakfast or put on his watch. He hurried
to catch the convoy. The two miles from downtown Jerusalem
to Mount Scopus was dangerous. To make the journey, staff,
patients and students gathered downtown and rode in a minimally
guarded convoy. The date was April 13, 1949, a month before
Independence. We didn't have an army. When the massacre ended,
78 men and women were dead. Maliach was among them. His body was
His wife Sarah, who remained an agunah until 1956 when
the missing were declared dead, never remarried. "I can remember
getting beautiful dolls and coloring from the women of Hadassah
as a child," she told National President Marcie Natan. "You have
no idea what an impression it made on me. Shimoni and her sister
became biochemists, walking in their father's footsteps. One of
the grandsons is a graduate of Hadassah's medical school and a
military physician. He also served as the physician of Israel's
frogmen. Now retired, Shimoni signed up for a tour to China. On
the plane over she was seated near a somewhat younger man in a
white suit. Because of his unusual dress, she assumed he wasn't an
But then he took out a notebook and she saw the Hebrew
writing. He turned out to be an Israeli architect. They began a
conversation, and somehow the convoy came up. "I've felt very
connected to Hadassah because my father was supposed to have been
on a convoy. But he was sick that day and someone else was called
at the last moment." "My father," said Shimoni."He spent the rest
of the trip being very solicitous to me and we're still in touch,"
she said. "What are the chances of this happening?"
CARRYING THE TORCH
President Marcie Natan's words at the emotional memorial ceremony.
I, Marcie Natan, am privileged to serve as the 25th President
of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America,
in this, our 101st year. I am humbled to stand on this sacred
ground. Henrietta Szold, the first national president was here
to set the cornerstone. Rose Halprin, Hadassah's sixth National
President, moved to Israel with her family to help build this
She was at the opening in 1939. It was Rose who received
the horrendous telegram on April 13, 1948. I can only imagine her
shock and anguish. The following day she sent out her own telegram
to American Jewry.
I quote from her words: "It is not enough to
join us in mourning with broken hearts the massacre of our beloved
medical director Dr. Haim Yassky and other members of our staff who
were barbarously murdered on the way to Mount Scopus Hospital. We
must protest this uncivilized act to the whole world with all the
strength that our grief and agony will marshal. We must rededicate
ourselves to intensify our medical work so that they may not have
died in vain.Only ringing protest and burning dedication will
express our solidarity with the heroic yishuv and forge our agony
into renewed strength to take up the torch which fell from their
skilled, consecrated hands." Like Rose Halprin, I pledge today in
the names of the 330,000 women of Hadassah, to carry forth their
torch. May their memories be for a blessing, and may you all be
blessed for your dedication to the sacred State of Israel.
NEW RESEARCH TEAM IN NEUROPSYCHIATRY
How do clinicians determine which psychiatric diseases we suffer
from? They evaluate symptoms, and if we fulfill enough they decide
we are (God forbid) suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disease
or depression. "There are no bio markers for psychiatric diseases,"
explained Professor Tamir Ben-Hur, chair of neurology. A powerful
new team of researchers at Hadassah Hospital is attempt to analyze
the complex electricity of the brain. For example, today certain
psychiatric diseases are still treated with convulsive (shock)
therapy, which does something like hit the reset button on the
brain."How much better it would be if we could identify the exact
area in the brain that achieves this result," said Prof.Ben-Hur. The
multidisciplinary team includes electrical engineers, neurologists
and psychiatrists." Stay tuned.
WELCOME HADASSAH WUJS
23 new Hadassah WUJS participants, college grads, who are doing a
post-university "half gap year" in Israel have arrived. Most are
from North America, England, Holland and Russia. They're all
doing internships. One I s working in a recording studio to public
relations, another in a theater, and a third is a cantor. We'll be
hearing more about them when I visit them after Pesach. In last
semesters group of 35, at least half have remained in Israel,
and a third are making Aliyah (so far)!
A Seder highlight is the spilling of the wine for each of the ten
plagues. But when you think about it, the plagues didn't stop the
Egyptians. They kept coming back for more. Even after the last
plague, the killing of the first born, they convinced themselves
that they could still get their slaves back and pursued them to the
Sea. Even the sea splitting looked to "natural" that they followed
right behind the Israelites. Only when it closed did they understand
The plagues were for our benefit, too, We had a lot to learn. At the
Sea, we also got the message, and sang the beautiful song. First
men sang, and then Miriam and we women sang. The difference is
that we had musical instruments with us. Asks the midrash: In the
midst of packing, how did the women know there would be cause to
sing? We're always the optimists and repositories of faith. From
the matriarchs to modern day Hadassah!
Hag kasher v'sameach. A happy Pesach to all from us in Jerusalem!
Israel Director of Public Relations, Hadassah, the Women's Zionist
Organization of America