As we move from the solemnity of Memorial Day-remembering the
23,169 casualties of war and terrorism in the State of Israel--
we pay special homage to our Hadassah family members who continue
to serve in the armed forces, in addition to their daily service
at the hospital and villages we support.
Please meet one of them: Dr. Alex Margulis. In his day job,
Dr. Margulis heads Hadassah's Pediatric Plastic Surgery and
Craniofacial Unit, which he built from a service to a center to
a unit over recent years. He fixes injuries of children hurt in
terror attacks and accidents and those with birth defects.
Dr. Margulis completed his residency at Hadassah Hospital, and
then did a two year Fellowship in Chicago Children's Hospital with
world-famous plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Bauer.
Says Dr. Margulis on his choice of specialty:
"I love the beauty of this profession which combines medicine
and art. It's tangible, and at the end of the surgery you can see
He also loves kids. He's married to Irit a social worker and
they have three children of their own. You'd never know that this
soft-spoken, gentle physician has a secret life.(Shh...)
He serves as an Israel Navy Seal who has faced danger on and under
"I've always wanted to do my most for Israel," Dr. Margulis said
between surgeries this week at Hadassah Ein Kerem, "I guess it's
a family ethic,"
In the HolocaustDr. Margulis's grandparents fled Romania for Odessa
Of a large family, his grandfather Nahum was the only Margulis
Alex was born in Leningrad, today St. Petersburg, to Miron, an
engineer and Tamara, a cardiologist.
His father was a famous Refusenik fighting for the right to make
Aliyah, along with other activists like Natan Sharansky. The family
finally received permission to make aliyah in 1977. Alex was ten.
They moved to Haifa. Alex learned Hebrew quickly, excelled in school,
and became an outstanding athlete. He was accepted to the pre-army
*atuda*program and began his service as a doctor in the paratroopers.
But soon he moved to Shayetet 13, Israel's Seals. Special forces.
"I wanted to be in the most challenging unit possible in the IDF,"
said Dr. Margulis. "I believed I could cope with it, and wanted to
give my maximum."
Dr. Margulis still isn't allowed to talk much about his secret life,
but here's what Wikipedia says about his unit
"Shayetet 13 is the naval special forces unit of Israeli Navy,one of
the primary special operation units of the IDF. S'13 specializes
in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, maritime
intelligence gathering, maritime hostage rescue and boarding. The
unit has taken part in almost all of Israel's major wars, as well
as other actions. The unit is one of the most secretive in the
Israeli military. The details of many missions and identities of
active operatives are kept highly classified. The unit is arguably
the best of the Middle East region's naval special forces units."
We know that the Seals enter enemy lands to carry out operations,
stop intruding ships and protects our coast. It's considered one
of the roughest, if not the roughest units in the IDF.
Our Hadassah doctor continued in the military reserves in this unit
when he finished his regular military service. When he turned 45,
he could have finished serving in the reserves, but he volunteered
again. Now he's 47 and expects to extend his service,
"I love the unit and I love this country," he said. "I'm Israeli
in my bones and in my soul. My dream is still securing freedom for
us by overcoming the internal problems and striving for peace."
Independence Day? "We'll be up North with a group of friends and
their families. We'll take turns barbecuing and telling stories. It's
time to celebrate!"
From the very special places that bear the name "Hadassah," with
pride, from the city of Jerusalem that Hadassah has helped build,
from the homeland which for so many generations seemed like the
impossible dream--a dream we have been blessed to see come true--and
our Hadassah home to yours, Hag Sameach!