Just about this time last week I returned home from Paris – and a gala Hadassah-France event – just in time to celebrate Succot with family and friends. The traditional moadim l’simcha, “times of joy,” greeting seemed to have a special meaning as I shared my joyous experience with them, one I would like to share with <<att1263.jpg>> you.
Dr. Sydney Ohana, President of Hadassah-France, organized a gala evening to celebrate Hadassah Hospital’s exciting new relationship with l'Institut Gustave Roussy, France’s leading cancer center and one of the most outstanding in Europe.
More than 1500 people filled the gilded auditorium and three balconies of the magnificent Theatre du Chatelet for the occasion in the presence of Israel's ambassador to France; his Russian counterpart; Simone Veil, former French Minister of Health and the first President of the European Parliament; French Cabinet ministers, mayors and deputy mayors – old friends and new. An ensemble of young musicians from St. Petersburg presented a musical tribute to Leonard Bernstein, who believed strongly in the healing power of music.
The setting was exquisite and the music extraordinary, no detail was overlooked, but it was the outpouring of love and respect for HMO that made the evening so special.
Applause erupted when Institute Director Prof. Thomas Tursz said: “This is the partner we have been waiting for. Hadassah Hospital is our dream come true.” Prof. Mor-Yosef could hardly complete his tribute to this special relationship – and stress how touched he was by the tangible feeling of support – without being interrupted by waves of clapping.
And then something amazing happened. Prof. Mor-Yosef concluded his remarks wishing them all a Shana Tova – and the hall was filled with the sound of 1500 people responding with Shana Tova.
As I sat there, surrounded by those warm and caring people, I could hardly contain my pride in our hospital that gives them such pride, and pride that Hadassah Hospital is the link that connects Israel and Jewish people throughout the world.
Hadassah-France is blessed with outstanding leadership, both volunteer and professional. Dr. Ohana, Michelle Israel and Bea Birnbaum and their cadre of helpers understand how to tell the Hadassah story. They raise funds for the Medical Center with impressive events such as the one I went to last week – and the one before that honoring the First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy – and they are dedicated to helping create relationships, such as the latest with l'Institut Gustave Roussy. Most of all, they do it all with grace, style and a very personal touch that conveys the intensity of their commitment.
Moadim l’simcha, may you all experience times of joy for Hadassah and in your personal lives.