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Hadassah Begins Centennial Year Celebrations On Site Of Organization's First Tel Aviv Hospital

Twenty six floors above what was once the emergency room of Hadassah's Tel Aviv Hospital, nearly 300 captains of industry and commerce, government officials and veteran Tel Aviv residents saluted a century of Hadassah's contribution to Israel. Before those who had joined them in the penthouse of Lev Ha'ir highrise residence, the building's developers Eliezer Fishman and Ronit Porat, of the Fishman Group and its daughter company Oneal, raised a toast to the "pioneering, amazing women of Hadassah.

"As developers, we can appreciate how much effort goes into huge projects," said Porat, a civil-engineer and one of Israel's leading women in the construction field.

Israel's chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar brought warm words of appreciation and blessings for continued success. Rabbi Metger spoke of the "righteous women of Hadassah" who model the act of giving, and Rabbi Amar said Hadassah's work was "at the heart of the people of Israel and the entire world." Said American Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham, "This is a tremendous day. It's really an unusual concept to have so many people combined around the world in so many places sharing a common goal and a common creed. All the people who are involved in this work are really to be congratulated for it. It really is the sharing and caring that makes it so special."

Incoming National President Marcie Natan thanked the hosts and the many guests who had promised them all the opportunity to tour the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower. "It will serve all of Israel, and the future will bring more fabulous collaboration between you and us."

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he couldn't imagine Jerusalem without Hadassah and sketched his plan for Jerusalem's development built around utilizing Hadassah's scientific and biotech prowess.

In 1995, the land on which Hadassah Hospital of Tel Aviv first stood was purchased by the Fishman Group to build Rova Lev Ha'ir, a luxurious 26-storey high-rise. Because of the historical significance of the location, the Fishman Group postponed its dedication of the building to combine it with the launch of Hadassah's Centennial. The penthouse suite looks out over a vast panorama of Tel Aviv, historic buildings and daring skyscrapers where there were only sand dunes in 1909. Hadassah established hospitals and clinics all around pre-state Israel, including Tel Aviv, where Hadassah opened a hospital in1921. With statehood in 1948, Hadassah turned all over the clinics and and hospitals to the government, except for the flagship hospital in Jerusalem. Hadassah had to leave its Mount Scopus campus for security reasons, and in 1961, opened Hadassah Ein Kerem. After the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six Day War, Hadassah renovated its original campus. Hadassah is Jerusalem's largest private employer. More than 20,000 persons visit the campuses of the two Jerusalem hospitals, Hadassah College and Young Judaea programs every day.

Yossi Rosen, chair of the Hadassah Medical Center Board of Directors, emphasized the cooperation between Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) and Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA) in the building of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower in Jerusalem, Rosen praised the women of Hadassah, headed by the National Board, for making dreams into reality. "They deserve the thanks on behalf of all the people of Israel."

And in welcoming the incoming HMO director general Professor Ehud Kokia, Rosen used the Biblical transfer of leadership as a paradigm. "With a little help from Moses, Joshua is going to turn the new Tower into a center of excellence."

Professor Mor-Yosef took advantage of the celebratory platform also to praise the dedication of the women of Hadassah, particularly those he has met on his many trips to US chapters here women of even modest financial means are willing to contribute to the building of Hadassah's projects.

A long message of appreciation for Hadassah's groundbreaking role in the history of Zionism and the State of Israel, as well as wishes for future success arrived from President Shimon Peres, who wasn't able to attend.

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