Shalom from Jerusalem, where it's sandal season.
The greeting that
the spring holidays of Pesach and Shavuoth, is kayitz tov, "a good
We are in the season of graduation parties and planning for vacations.
Here's hoping your summer plans include a trip to Israel. Let us know so
that we can arrange insider visits to Hadassah projects. I love to hear
back from you about your chapters, families and Hadassah ideas.
*OUTREACH TO BOSTON AND BEIJING
We were all proud that the hospital team in Boston, after the Marathon
terror attack, was following life-saving protocols learned from Hadassah
physicians. We wish the terror survivors a full and speedy recovery, but
according to Dr. Isabella Schwartz, who heads the Hadassah Mount Scopus
Physical Medicine and Rehab Department, recovering from terror requires
extra time and patience. "Our research on terror victims shows that they
need longer to recover. Despite higher levels of Post Traumatic Stress
Syndrome than regular patience, they can make full recoveries, so
and therapists should be optimistic even if progress is slower than
On a different note, we've learned physicians in China have adapted a
method of doing pre-natal ultrasounds developed by Hadassah's Professor
Simcha Yagel. (Yes, the name of this obstetrician is really Happy Joy! )
They call it the "Yagel method" in Chinese.
Just in case you were wondering, 18 million babies were born last year
*NEW DIRECTOR GENERAL FOR HMO
A warm welcome to Hadassah Medical Organization's new Director General,
Avigdor Kaplan. Kaplan was chosen unanimously by the HMO Board of
Directors, to be HMO's ninth director general. He grew up in Zichron
Yaakov, in a family of five children, and served in the Communications
Corps of the IDF. He received a B.A in Economics and Statistics and a
masters in Business Administration from the Hebrew University of
He holds an M.Sc. degree in Industrial Management Engineering from the
Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa and earned a doctoral degree
Medical Administration from Ben Gurion University. Kaplan is well-known
the Israeli public for steering Clalit Health Fund, Israel's largest
fund, from deficit to financial solvency and building CLAL Insurance
Enterprises which he joined in 1997, into the nation's largest insurance
company. He's already at the bow of the ship and we salute him!
The 2012-13 Young Judaea Year Course participants have completed their
outstanding year. Most have headed back to the US, many to provide
Zionist, educated staffing for summer camp. Let's hear what a few of
said before they left.
Yoav Shaked of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, will begin Harvard University in
fall. "In essence, the past nine months have been a transition away from
the extremely sheltered environment I knew back home to living life
independently in a world where one must care and look out for oneself.
events that have occurred around us have definitely made our time on
course in Israel unique. We experienced historic general elections,
environmental phenomena unheard of for fifty years, and most important
me, a military operation... Our experience during this time was parallel
the experience most Israelis have during flare ups with one of Israel's
enemies. Personally this experience helped open my eyes to the fragile
peace Israelis deal with on daily basis and the fact that that peace can
broken at any time."
Sydney Ryan, of Pittsford, New York will be returning to Israel to join
Israeli Scouts group Garin Tzabar in the IDF.
"I knew coming into this program that I loved Israel and I was so
to come back. What I didn't know, was that by being surrounding by the
culture, the people and everything else that made up Jerusalem, was that
would fall in love with this place. And with love, comes commitment."
Best of luck to all the Year Course grads. We look forward to seeing you
taking leadership positions in Hadassah and for the Jewish people
It's also time to wrap up the school year at our youth villages,
Hadassah Academic College and the schools of medicine, nursing,
occupational therapy and
public health. School doesn't get out for a few weeks, but graduation
ceremonies often precede the actual end of the year. Barbara Goldstein,
Deputy Director of Hadassah's Offices in Israel, recently spoke at the
Meir Shfeya graduation. Said BG:
"Ninety five young men and women standing proud and tall. It was
to tell apart the kids who were boarding students from challenging home
environments and the children from affluent homes in Zichron Yaakov and
Binyamina. Whatever cultural, social-economic differences, they all
together on to the next journey in their lives- the Israel Defense
Hadassah can be proud of our role in being part of the building of the
next generation of young people to take their place in Israeli society."
About a third of the 330 dorm students are from Ethiopian families, a
from the former Soviet Union, and a third from troubled sabra homes.
those standing with the graduates was a young man from none of those
groups. His name is Sami. He was among the first refugees from Eritrea,
war-torn country in Africa, who arrived in our youth villages.
from a refugee camp in Sudan, leaving his mother and siblings behind. He
didn't want to study. He wanted to work and send money back home. He'd
all his family's cash to pay an illegal smuggler at the Egyptian-Israel
border. In the desert, he managed to survive jackals, real animals and
those on two legs: human slave-traders. At the border, he ducked the
shooting of the Egyptians. Bedouins smuggled him across the border. In
Israel, he was arrested. When he was examined by the police physician,
was determined that he was 16 at most.
According to the law in Israel, he had to go to school. Who would take
You got it- Meir Shfeyah. He graduated last year. When Sami first came,
was hostile. He didn't want to study. He wanted to work. But as he
more comfortable in the village, he admitted that once he'd had dreams
studying. The staff found jobs for Sami on weekends and vacations so
have some money to send home. Today he's studying Criminology at Ruppin
College. Every student needs a computer. Barbara Goldstein delivered
gift from a Hadassah donor.
The representative of the parents at the graduation ceremony was an
immigrant from Ethiopia. She spoke of the promise Shfeyah made to her
years earlier, that her daughter would be taken care of and succeed in
village. "As a mom", she said, "that was my dream-and my dream is
tonight seeing the glow on my daughter's face. Thank you Shfeyah, thank
*UPDATE AT THE WALL
Delegates of Hadassah's Centennial remember that Women of the Wall
Anat Hoffman was arrested at the special event we held together with the
Women of the Wall. As upsetting as that was, that evening marked a
point for the women who have been praying at the Wall on Rosh Hodesh,
first of the Hebrew month, for nearly 25-years. Rain or shine, they're
there at 7 AM. This Sunday, on Rosh Hodesh Tamuz, some 200-300 women
escorted by and protected by the police to the far right side of the
plaza. Other women, maybe two dozen in all, stood in the left side of
women's section. To the far left were the men, a mix of men supporters
WoW and others. Despite a few catcalls, the harmonious voices of the
were raised in joyous prayer, and the service proceeded without
disturbance. Marching down to the Wall, the women sang what has become
group's theme song, drawn from Hallel:
"The Lord is my strength and song, and has become my Salvation."
The times they are a'changin'
*PROTECT YOUR BRAIN WITH COFFEE
Can we improve our memory by eating right? That was one of key questions
raised at the annual Women's Health Day sponsored by our Patricia and
Russell Fleishmann Center for Women's Health recently at the Israel
We'd all be glad to take a daily memory pill, but life isn't that
The opening lecture by Prof Zeev Meiner, a senior neurologist in the
Department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Mount Scopus
campus, described why information retrieval is harder as we age.
experience and wisdom usually compensate for the difference between the
usual memory challenges of not being able to remember the name of the
you stayed at, he said. That shouldn't alarm us. His overall advice:
good for the heart is good for the brain. "We say 'use it or lose it' in
terms of mental functions. Learn something new. Read. Don't let yourself
fall into depression. That's bad for your brain."
Dorit Adler, Hadassah's Director of the Nutrition and Dietetic
drew a large crowd to hear what she had to say about improving our diet
preserve our brains. A slim and trim working Mom, she urged us to go
to cooking-making uncomplicated home-cooked meals instead of relying on
A study at the isolated (shh) nuclear facility in Dimona
showed that healthy eating not only prevents further damage, but can fix
what we've already messed up. Best results (better than low carbs and
fat) were from the so-called Mediterranean Diet. Olive and canola oils
replace butter and margarine, herbs provide flavor and salt is reduced,
meat is limited to a few times a month, and poultry and fish are on the
menu at least twice a week. Adler also recommends making one or two days
week "no-meat days". Research has shown that following a Mediterranean
was associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular
a reduced incidence of cancer and cancer mortality.
You've probably noticed that I've skipped the often-prescribed evening
glass of red wine. According to Adler, the jury is still out for women
wine consumption. "In the meantime, if you're drinking wine, make sure
drink it with food, " she says. One of the relative surprises of the
was Adler's strong recommendation to drink up to 4-5 cups of caffeinated
coffee and 2 cups of (any) tea a day to protect your brain. The old
advice about not skipping breakfast holds fast. "Your brain starts
conserving energy when you're hungry and you simply can't think well.
need to break your night fast every morning". She also stressed the
importance of enjoying meals with family and friends, so that we build
positive memories and reminisce over old ones. Adler also spoke to
participants on the Young Judaea Year Course, many of whom are cooking
themselves for the first time.
*NOT IN VEIN: IMMIGRANT DOC SAYS SKIP SURGERY
The funny lumps on little Yaakov's face were the focus of hurtful
by his kindergarten classmates. Surgery didn't help. New immigrant
physician Adam Farkas, 32, brought a new technique with him along with
suitcases he and his wife Tamar packed for themselves and their four
children to Israel. Dr. Farkas is an interventional radiologist, and
vascular abnormalities, like Yaakov's bumps or varicose veins, without
surgery. Plastic tubing the size of a pencil point, is inserted into the
blood vessels, and then he closes with glue! Not a stitch is
needed. Yaakov's lumps are gone, now a fading memory. The process also
replaces painful stripping for varicosities. " If Hadassah members
traveling in Israel have aching legs from varicosities, they can have
treatment, and be back with the group by dinnertime,"says Dr. Farkas.
*IT'S NOT CF
By Beth Zuckerman Beth Zuckerman, daughter of National Board Member
Zuckerman, served as intern in Hadassah Offices in Israel before giving
birth to baby Hadas. Here's her personal story of making use of
Dread? Anger? Despair? I can't express very well how we felt. But when
doctor says that your child may be sick, those emotions are just parts
the wave that envelopes a parent. And our pediatrician had just told us
that our infant, 3 months old, might be showing some early signs of
fibrosis. The fear gave way to a desire to do something, but my husband
I were unsure about how to proceed. Who could help us? Would we be
around from doctor to doctor? Might we have to travel abroad?
it turned out that the people who could help us were located less than
hour's trip away from home - on Jerusalem's Mount Scopus. The many
and friends who we had consulted were nearly unanimous in their
recommendation for whom to turn to, and that was the Hadassah University
Hospital's "Elie Douer and Family Center for Pediatric Genetic and
We were very nervous when we arrived. We knew that by the time
we left we would have an idea of whether our child would be healthy, or
potentially very ill. After we checked in at the front desk, we settled
into the bright, cozy waiting area. Sitting a few chairs down was a
mother rocking her toddler in a stroller. A smiling yeshiva student was
chatting with the nurses in one corner; an olive-clad soldier sat at a
table drinking water from a cup while engrossed in his book.
And then a funny thing happened. It dawned on us that all of those
us were also
either seeking diagnosis of or treatment for cystic fibrosis. We looked
each other and noticed a mutual transformation. Were we both still
and concerned for our child's welfare? Yes. But we were also feeling the
stirrings of bravery. The sheer normalcy in the demeanors of those
us in the face of such a dramatic illness reassured us. This was no
coincidence. The Douer Center exists as a "one-stop-shop" for its
The encouraging comments, conversation, and humorous banter among the
patients and the medical staff showed that these regulars had created a
And if the "club" served to support themselves through the
and downs of a difficult, chronic disease, it also helped to calm our
worries about the unknown. After just a few minutes our name was called.
were escorted down the corridor by a young nurse to have our baby's
taken. An unpleasant experience at any time, we braced ourselves for
and wailing. We needn't have worried. The nurse expertly positioned and
pricked our child before we were any the wiser. As he filled the vials,
nurse even got a smile from our baby with his humming of the Beatles'
After a visit from a cheery medical clown, perhaps there more
for us than for the baby, we moved on to the sweat test, the most
part of our visit. One of the only testable symptoms of CF is the level
chloride in sweat. As a result, the sweat test, in which sweat is
and analyzed on the spot, serves as a simple but definitive diagnosis of
whether a child does or doesn't have cystic fibrosis. The technician
running the machine greeted us with a smile. She spent five minutes
us how cute our baby was while setting up the equipment, a bracelet
to capture sweat off of the skin. Our baby's arm wrapped up, we went off
We returned after a 15-minute wait, but the technician told us
there was barely enough sweat on the bracelet. She tried for several
minutes to feed the bit of moisture into the machine for testing, but it
wouldn't calculate an accurate reading. Her shift was ending and she
to be elsewhere, but the technician didn't send us home to return
day. Instead, she set up the test again so that we could know one way or
the other what our child's condition would be. With the air conditioning
running and cool weather outside, we weren't sure if this second try
amount to much. As our next 15-minute attempt came to an end the
came to get us.
She examined the bracelet and still found the sweat
produced lacking. Not wanting to send us home, she told us to take a bit
more time and to try our best to get some sweat. My husband and I piled
of our blankets and sweatshirts onto our little daughter to try to
few more drops of sweat, but after a few minutes more, our time was up.
Taking off the bracelet the technician was still unsure, but she tried a
few times to get every drop into the machine. This time the machine gave
result: negative. The technician, my husband and I all laughed and cried
news. We couldn't stop thanking her for going out of her way to help us.
Soon we entered the doctor's office for his official diagnosis. We were
thankful to hear Dr. David Shoseyov, an expert in CF, confirm that our
did not indeed have any signs of the disease, but he didn't stop there.
doctor inquired about the problems that had brought us to the Douer
and he spent a long time trying to advise us on how to help our child
those problems, mundane as they were. As we departed the Douer Center
Hadassah's Mount Scopus campus, my husband and I reflected on how lucky
were to have such a facility available to us. It wasn't just the
convenience of being able to do under one roof things that might
require setting multiple appointments at various locations over weeks or
even months for which we were grateful. The Douer Center also embodies a
place where some of the sickest children can come and be met with a
medicine that was not just efficient, but that wore a smile. In our
experience, those two components were crucial in tending to a patient's
well-being. We are glad that our child won't have to visit the Douer
again, but we are also glad that the Douer Center is there for those who
need it. Thank you Hadassah.
*DR. JUNE WALKER HIGHER SCHOOL DEDICATED
Anyone who knew Hadassah's 23rd National President June Walker realized
how devoted she was to science education. We held our breath as Marcie
Natan, Hadassah's 25th National President, pulled aside the purple satin
curtains that covered the name of the late Dr. June Walker, and
dedicated the Dr. June Walker High School for Life Sciences and
Agriculture at the Meir Shfeyah Youth Village. "We can all feel June's
presence here today and how proud she is of the fruition of her dream of
an expanded school building and laboratories for the students." Meir
Shfeyah Board Chair Eli Wagner recalled hosting June Walker for a
at his home, and how she made him pledge that the laboratories would
"It's fulfilling to be here today as these laboratories are named for a
wonderful person," said Wagner. Teacher Lauren Stern Kedem prepared a
memorial presentation showing highlights of Walker's life, to the music,
"For Good" from Wicked, a much-loved song which was sung to Walker by
granddaughter Stacey Richmond at a celebratory National Hadassah dinner.
Live music was performed by Meir Shfeya students. The lead singer was
Hazan, (yes, her last name means Cantor), a graduating senior who has
accepted into a prestigious IDF entertainment group for next year.
*CELEBRATING BEING A JEWISH YOUNG WOMAN
For O, the prized single brass candlestick her grandmother brought from
Russia was a mystery. Was it used for a church ceremony, she wondered.
week, O, and 47 other teenagers received their own silver
candleticks-Shabbat candlesticks, of course-in the presence of National
President Marcie Natan. The 11th graders, all students in Hadassah's
youth villages-Meir Shfeya, Hadassah-Neurim and Ramat Hadassah Szold,
received their silver candlesticks at the graduation ceremony of the
Hayil, Woman of Valor program sponsored by Hadassah to strengthen their
The group included sabras plus Ethiopian and former USSR
immigrants who were unsure about celebrating Jewish festivals and
life cycle events. For a year and a half, they took part in a course
the Jewish holidays, tradition and women's empowerment. "There were
from single-parent homes who didn't realize they and their moms could be
making Kiddush and lighting Hanukkah candles," said Youth Aliyah Chair
Benita Ross. "This course provides the basics and gives the girls the
confidence and enthusiasm to practice." The day's celebration in
included a meeting with Israel's first Ethiopian woman Knesset Member
Pnina Tamano-Shata, a journalist and mother of two, whose husband, they
learned, graduated from Hadassah Neurim.
Dr. Karen Friedman, a California-born Israeli, now a mother of eight,
patient at Hadassah Mount Scopus. She met met many women going through
fertility treatments including IVF. A psychologist with a doctorate from
Harvard, Friedman joined the Hadassah staff and developed a
therapy program for women trying to have babies. In addition, she
recruited yoga teacher Elana Ben Hayim, to work with patients. A dozen
women, all undergoing IVF treatment, took part in 12 sessions. "The
and nurses were completely supportive," said Ben Hayim.
"In such a
family-oriented society as Israel, women who suffer from infertility
feel inadequate. There has been research showing the impact of yoga in
stress reduction which is useful for reproduction." Said one of the
participants: "I am learning to relax ,and not to be so depressed, to
and soul are together. I have more strength to cope." And another:
"I am finally pregnant after 3 years of trying. I really feel that
the therapy and Yoga were a winning combination that allowed me to
pregnant. I am now able to cope with stress, uncertainty, and I feel in
*PRETENDING THE CHEMICALS HAVE STRUCK
The week of Civil Defense national drills to prepare for a possible
military conflict began with sirens, directing school children into
shelters. At home, even if we didn't sit the required ten minutes in a
sealed room, the sound made us aware that it would be sage to check our
stocks of water and canned goods-just in case.
And then, the Hadassah Mount Scopus parking lot was cordoned off as if a
real war had started. The IDF announced that this simulation was of a
chemical weapon detonated in Jerusalem. Even though we all knew this was
practice exercise, there was something eerie about ambulance after
ambulance of soldiers and large orange rubber dummies arriving. A team
soldiers scrubbed down the "contaminated"
dummies and they were allowed to cross the line and enter the hospital.
Doctors and nurses had to wear protective suits and gas masks, hampering
their ability to treat the 115 "injured patients."
Minister of Health, Yael German, Minister of the Home-Front Command,
Erdan and Hadassah National President Marcie Natan were present during
drill, which was under the supervision of Dr. Osnat Levtzion-Korach,
Director of Hadassah Mount Scopus. "I was very impressed by the high
of professionalism and seriousness displayed by Hadassah's medical team,
the IDF and the Israeli government," Marcie Natan said "As someone who
been in Israel during wartime many times, all I can do is pray that we
never need to use these skills."
Kayitz Tov-happy summer from Jerusalem,
Israel Director of Public Relations
Hadassah, the Women's
Zionist Organization of America