We are all proud of Hadassah’s international reputation for providing sophisticated medical treatment and individualized patient care, for our involvement in ground-breaking research and collaborative partnerships, for building bridges to peace in our region. Our efforts are an expression of our genuine concern for the future of medicine, the future of Jerusalem and the future of the State of Israel.
Our concern for the environment is another source of pride, but less well-known. Our efforts take many forms – within the Medical Center and in the community. For example, our Recycling Team consists of a group of volunteers – young people with disabilities, by the way – who collect paper, bottles and used batteries for recycling; Hadassah has officially ‘adopted’ the Hirbat Sa’adim nature reserve and our staff tends to its fauna and flora, working to make sure it remains pristine; and we are carefully cultivating the Hadassah Route – the area that surrounds the Ein Kerem campus.
Our magnificent Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower is living testimony of our environmental concern. When we took down Building 14 so we could construct the Hospital Tower on that site, we did so with extreme caution. Instead of demolishing the building with explosive blasts, we removed small sections a little at a time to reduce noise and dirt. Metal, glass and other materials were sorted separately for recycling; the bricks, stones and concrete were crushed before removal for recycling. Condensing the material meant fewer truck-loads of refuse and less exhaust-fume pollution.
The design of the Hospital Tower is itself an expression of our sensitivity to the environment. It includes ultra-modern systems that significantly reduce energy consumption, recycle grey waste water and countless other “green” features that will redound to everyone’s benefit.
Speaking of “green,” the once-beautiful evergreens on the hills around the Ein Kerem campus and those abutting the site of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, are now withered and brown. On July 25th, a fire broke out in that lovely forest and spread quickly destroying 1,000 dunams (about 250 acres) – the flames were clearly visible from the hospital and thick smoke rapidly engulfed the campus. The nearby villages were evacuated and there was even talk of evacuating part of the Ein Kerem campus. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured but 23 cars in the parking lot were destroyed. Part of the lush green area surrounding Hadassah was devastated.
Today, less than four weeks later, I want to share two photographs with you, both taken by Avi Hayun, our Hadassah photographer. The first one shows the ruined forest, near the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower; the second shows tiny green leaves breaking through the brown remnants, triumphing over the devastation, giving us all hope for a “green” and healthy future.
Hadassah gives people hope every day, provides the promise of hope for tomorrow and for a future filled with health and healing in an environmentally friendly and responsible setting. We are proud that we are doing our part to make Jerusalem, Israel – and the world – a better place.
When you look at the flowers on your Shabbat table or at the trees outside your window, think “green” my friends, and think of the future growing here at Hadassah. You help to make it happen!