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Hadassah Receives $75 Million Gift for Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem

William and Karen Davidson on behalf of Guardian Industries donate to new inpatient tower
Genever McBain

William and Karen Davidson on behalf of Guardian Industries donate to new inpatient tower 

(New York – March 6, 2007) – Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (WZOA), announced Sunday in Jerusalem that it has received a gift of $75 million from William and Karen Davidson on behalf of Guardian Industries Corp. of Auburn Hills, MI.  Among the largest commitments ever made to a Jewish organization, the contribution will be specifically used to support the new inpatient tower at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. In recognition of this gift, Hadassah will name the new facility the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower, to honor the memory of William Davidson’s mother, who was a founder of the organization’s Detroit chapter.

Hadassah, WZOA, is a 95-year-old American Zionist organization, which began its medical relationship with Israel in 1913 when it sent two nurses to pre-state Israel to treat the indigent and underserved population. Among its many educational and medical facilities is the Hadassah Medical Organization, comprised of two hospitals in Jerusalem, one on Mt. Scopus, and the other, the Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem, one of the region’s and world’s leading tertiary care and research hospitals.

According to Davidson: “I so appreciate the long history my family has had with Hadassah, the women’s organization, whose impact on the Jewish world I have admired over the years. Moreover, we have maintained a long-term relationship with the Hadassah Medical Organization, first on Mt. Scopus and now in Ein Kerem. The power of family is truly a binding one and I feel privileged to be the third generation to support Hadassah’s goals and achievements. In 1917, Hadassah’s founder Henrietta Szold spent a week in my family’s home. In 1921 my grandparents purchased a parcel of land on Mt. Scopus. Today I proudly follow in my forebears footsteps.

“I have been personally impressed with the quality of care the Hadassah Medical Organization consistently provides to all citizens of Israel and residents of the region, whether they are Jewish, Christian or Muslim.  I am proud and gratified to know that as a result of this gift, the hospital’s infrastructure will be vastly enhanced.”

In 2005, the Hadassah Medical Organization, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its practice of providing equal care and service without regard for religion, ethnicity or nationality.

The announcement of the Guardian Industries gift, was made Sunday in Jerusalem at dedication ceremonies for the cornerstone of the new inpatient tower at the medical center.

According to Hadassah National President June Walker: “Mr. Davidson’s commitment demonstrates his belief in the relevance and viability today of Hadassah’s founding principle of practical Zionism, his trust in the excellence of our medical enterprise, and his vote of confidence in the city of Jerusalem itself, capital of the State of Israel and heart and soul of the Jewish people.”  Hadassah is the second largest employer in Jerusalem after the Israel government.

Along with representatives from Guardian Industries, families on a special Cornerstone Mission, each representing gifts of at least one million dollars, joined in the dedication, which was a prelude to the launch of the inpatient tower capital campaign at the organization’s annual convention in New York this summer.

In the last few years, in its efforts to maintain a tradition of medical excellence at its Ein Kerem hospital, Hadassah assessed that a new patient facility was necessary, scheduled for completion during the organization’s centennial year in 2012. The new, 14-story structure, costing $210 million, will include 500 beds, 20 state-of-the-art operating rooms and 50 intensive care beds. The tower will provide a huge boost to Hadassah’s capabilities in a wide range of fields, such as cardiology, telemedicine and laparoscopic surgery, and will facilitate the use of advanced robotics and computers. In turn, these will enrich the research and teaching conducted at Hadassah.

Sarah Wetsman Davidson grew up in Iowa and as a teenager moved to Detroit, where for ten days in 1917, her parents opened their home to Henrietta Szold, Hadassah’s founder – who this year will be inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Szold was in Detroit at the time to spread the word of Zionism and solicit interest in supporting pre-state Israel from the women of the Jewish community. Her visit resulted in 30 women joining together to form the Detroit Chapter of Hadassah, today one of Hadassah’s oldest chapters. Sarah was part of that initial group and was instrumental in its success for years to come. William Davidson was raised in his mother’s home, instilled with a love of the organization.

Today, William Davidson is President and CEO of Guardian Industries, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of float glass and fabricated glass products for the architectural and automotive industries. In addition, Davidson is the owner of several sport teams: the Detroit Pistons (NBA), the Detroit Shock (WNBA) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL). A major philanthropist,  Davidson has been generous to a number of institutions, including the University of Michigan, which houses the William Davidson Institute within its Ross School of Business, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, whose Graduate School of Jewish Education bears William Davidson’s name. He has additionally provided support to the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and to the Israel Antiquities Authority for the creation of the Davidson Archeological Park, which includes nearly 70 meters of the Western Wall and the remains of Robinson’s Arch. 

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