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Hadassah Announces $164 Million Raised Toward Construction of Sarah Wetsman Davidson Inpatient Tower at Hadassah Medical Center

Genever McBain


(New York, NY -- July 19, 2007) -- Inspired by its historical imperative to build the land of Israel and the medical and educational infrastructure of Jerusalem, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, today announced that it had raised $164 million toward the construction of the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower on the campus of Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem.

With this announcement, the organization has achieved 78 percent of its goal of $210 million in less than two years, the largest fundraising campaign ever undertaken by the organization. Only a week ago, Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator, highly regarded in the philanthropic world, awarded Hadassah a four-star rating, its highest, for Hadassah’s level of fiscal responsibility.

The new 14-story structure, scheduled for completion during the organization’s centennial year in 2012, 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 greatly enrich the research and teaching conducted at Hadassah. A virtual tour of the tower, narrated by actress Natalie Portman, is available on Hadassah’s website at: www.hadassah.org.

In March of this year, Hadassah received a visionary gift of $75 million towards the completion of the tower from Bill and Karen Davidson, on behalf of Guardian Industries of Auburn Hills, MI. Davidson’s mother, Sarah Wetsman Davidson, one of the founders of the Hadassah chapter in Detroit, MI, created a home for her children imbued with a love of Zion and Hadassah. The tower will be named in her memory.

The announcement that Hadassah had reached 78 percent of its tower fundraising goal was made at the organization’s 93rd National Convention, just concluded in New York. It was made by Tower Campaign Chairs Sidney and Judy Swartz at a special session devoted to the tower, whose campaign slogan is: “We’re not waiting for the future, we’re building it.”

Following the announcement, Karen Davidson, who had come to New York to attend the convention and its attendant festivities, addressed the delegates: “On behalf of Bill and myself, we’re proud to be part of this high-achieving organization.”


Since the organization's beginnings, Hadassah women have been builders. Only a year after its 1912 founding by Henrietta Szold – who will be inducted this fall in the National Women's Hall of Fame – a Hadassah clinic in Jerusalem was offering eye care and instruction for safe childbirth. Tipat Chalav programs throughout the country provided fresh, pasteurized milk to mothers and young children. In 1918, Hadassah opened a nursing school, the first post-high school education for women, creating a cadre of public health nurses for new clinics. The first modern hospital to care for the sick throughout the region was opened in 1939 on Mount Scopus. Because Mount Scopus was inaccessible to patients from 1948 until the city was reunited after the Six Day War, Hadassah built another hospital campus in the Ein Kerem neighborhood of Jerusalem. Opened in 1961, that campus became the center of the country's first medical and dental schools and, in recent years, the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center and the Judy and Sidney Swartz Center for Emergency Medicine were built there.

Hadassah women gave immigrants nutritional training, built playgrounds, and designed school programs. The first community college opened in 1970 and today is the Hadassah College Jerusalem, a renowned educational institution that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in allied medical fields among other areas. In addition, Hadassah runs Young Judaea programs in Israel, which are the largest of their kind in any American Jewish youth movement. Last year Beit Ar-El, the Center for Young Judaea in Israel, opened in the new Judaean Youth Hostel on Massuah Hill in southwestern Jerusalem.

Since 1934, when Hadassah took a leading role in the rescue of children and teenagers fleeing the Nazis, the organization has provided residential education to tens of thousands of children, both immigrants and disadvantaged Israelis. Hadassah also is the largest and oldest institutional contributor to the Jewish National Fund and, over the course of its involvement since 1926, has provided funds to plant forests, and build dams and parks.


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