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Chagall, Hadassah, and a Boy Lost in Israel

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Thelma Myerson

I was mesmerized by the magnificent stained glass windows in the Chagall Chapel at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Beginning with Reuben, and continuing through Benjamin, abstract Biblical images of the 12 sons of the Patriarch Jacob, came to life in vibrant colors. Not until the guide completed her compelling tour de force of all 12 radiant panes, by the famous artist Marc Chagall, did I realize that my 6-year-old son, Ted, was no longer by my side.

I was frantic! Ted was missing! My husband Manny, 13-year-old daughter Nancy, and our entire tour group from Connecticut, joined in a desperate search for our lost, little boy with a Dutch haircut, and wearing a green sweatshirt with Ted 5 in white letters. We ran in circles around the Chagall Chapel, then through the crowded lobby of Hadassah Hospital, with a din of unfamiliar sounds in Hebrew and Arabic. No Ted! We checked all 6 look alike tour buses parked at the base of the huge complex. No Ted! We retraced our steps into the Chapel. No Ted! We dashed outside and looked again around the circular exterior of the Chapel. Finally, we spotted our missing son, sitting under a tree, near the Chapel, patiently waiting for us to find him. What a relief! What a wonderful family reunion!

Coincidentally, a few days later, we visited a relative who, with her late husband, was a friend and patron of Marc Chagall. Cousin Rosa Myerson Leron lived in a stately home on Rambon Street in Jerusalem. Remarkably, at age 84, Dr. Leron was still a practicing gynecologist. On the walls of her parlor, which doubled as her patients waiting room, hung original paintings by Chagall, and other renowned artists.

We will never forget our 1982 experiences in Jerusalem, linked to Hadassah and Chagall. Almost 30 years later, our family is still passionate about Hadassah. We added a 4th generation of Hadassah Life Members with the birth of Nancys daughter, Katelyn Ketover, in 2003, and Teds daughter, Alexandra Myerson, in 2008. The boy who was lost in Israel in 1982 is now 36, and a Hadassah Associate. My husband Manny is also an Associate. Together we are Founders at Hadassah Hospital. I have served Hadassah as a Chapter President in 2 different states: the Hartford Chapter in Connecticut, and the Cascades Chapter in the Florida Atlantic Region. Hadassah still is, and always will be close to my heart, and the focus of my volunteerism and charitable gift giving.

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