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June 6th - A Date to Remember

A Friday Story

Dear Friends,

"If you want your hospital, come and get it," Teddy Kolleck is said to have told Kalman Mann on the second day of the Six Day War.

The date was June 6th. The year 1967. Teddy Kolleck was the Mayor of Jerusalem; Prof. Kalman J. Mann, the Director General of the Hadassah Medical Organization. The Israel Defense Forces had just recaptured Mount Scopus where the buildings of Hadassah's first hospital and the nearby Hebrew University lay abandoned.

The next day Prof. Mann returned to Hadassah-Mt. Scopus.

Accompanied by his predecessor, Dr. Eli Davis, and past National President Rebecca Shulman, they made their way to Mount Scopus through areas where sniper fire could still be heard. First they stopped to say kaddish at the site where 78 Hadassah and Hebrew University personnel, patients, visitors and workers were massacred when their convoy was ambushed 19 years earlier. Then they traveled the last mile of the journey the convoy never completed and raised the Hadassah flag on the roof of the hospital. "SCOPUS REGAINED," he had cabled the women of Hadassah in New York the day before.

A few weeks later, National President Charlotte Jacobson received the keys to Hadassah-Mt. Scopus from Israel Defense Forces Commander Menachem Scharfman.

Until that fateful June day in 1967, Hadassah believed that its hospital on Mt. Scopus was lost forever – and began planning for a new Medical Center.

June became a meaningful month on the Hadassah calendar. In 1952, Prof. Mann presided as the cornerstone was laid for Hadassah-Ein Kerem – on June 5th; and in 1961, a convoy of ambulances brought the first patients to our brand new hospital at Ein Kerem – on June 6th.

As we celebrated our return to Mt. Scopus in 1967, across the city at Hadassah-Ein Kerem, our doctors and nurses were desperately trying to save the wounded of the Six Day War. According to the archives, "Within four days, 985 patients, 50 of whom were Jordanian prisoners of war, had been treated …. Eight casualty teams worked incessantly, preparing the wounded for the operating theater …. 310 operations were performed in just over 60 hours and, thanks to the remarkable dedication of the staff, the death toll amongst the 985 patients was limited to 11. Of 60 soldiers who received eye injuries, not one lost his sight."

Hadassah-Ein Kerem was an ambitious project for its time. Its planners dreamed of a Medical Center with an 800-bed hospital, a 450-student medical school, a 120-student dental school, and outpatient clinics that c <<clip_image009.jpg>> ould handle 1,000 patients a day.

Today, a visit to the Ein Kerem campus shows that we have more than fulfilled their wishes. We understand – as they did – that Hadassah must always be ahead of the times, prepared to handle the needs of the present and those far into the future.

Our Ein Kerem campus alone contains more than 25 buildings dedicated to providing Israel's most advanced patient care in an environment of excellence – its centerpiece, our new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, which will welcome its first patients in just 41 weeks.

On June 6th it will be 50 years since the convoy of ambulances brought the first patients to our brand new hospital at Ein Kerem; 44 years since we regained Mt. Scopus. For me and many of us at the Medical Center, June 6th is a celebration of all we have accomplished here at Hadassah-Ein Kerem in the past five decades, all that the Hadassah Medical Organization has accomplished here in Israel in the past 99 years.

The coincidence of these major events in Hadassah's history falling on or around the same date symbolizes Hadassah's amazing ability to triumph over traged <<clip_image011.jpg>> y, to assess a situation and keep moving forward.

When Hadassah-Ein Kerem opened in 1961, its round treatment building – a most unusual design for the times – became a Jerusalem landmark, a tangible symbol of Hadassah's ability to seek out the most creative solutions to the practical problems of providing outstanding patient care. The Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower is Hadassah's latest and finest example of our commitment to meet the challenging pace of progress.

I cannot help but tie our celebration to Shavuot, which begins this year on June 7th. Tradition has it that when Moses brought the Torah down on Shavuot, we all stood together at Sinai. The Bible tells us " … take utmost care and watch yourselves scrupulously, so that you do not forget the things that you saw with your own eyes and so that they do not fade from your mind as long as you live. Make them known to your children and to your children's children."

This June 6th we at Hadassah will stand together, recall what many among us actually experienced, treasure the knowledge of our amazing ability to overcome almost overwhelming obstacles and look to the future.

As I write this, I look forward to another date that will become significant – the day in October 2012, when we will all stand together and dedicate the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Shavuot Sameach,

Shlomo
Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef
Director General

 

Following are excerpts from "A Move to Remember" by Wendy Elliman that appeared in the 1986 June/July issue of Hadassah Magazine on the 25th anniversary of Moving Day.

It was planned for June 6, and so the army dubbed it D-Day. But the year was 1961, and the place was Jerusalem.

"It was a burningly hot day, recalls Dr. Kalman Mann, then in the eleventh of his 30 years as director general of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. "Even at 6:00 AM, when the operation began, the streets were shimmering in the heat."

The 'operation' was Hadassah's move from five temporary hospitals and scattered private facilities in downtown Jerusalem to its new home – a large and modern hospital campus spread across 315 acres of Judean hillside, above the biblical village of Ein Kerem.

"We took out the most seriously ill patients first, to protect them from the worst of the day's heat," Dr. Mann recalls. "The Army moved us. With our nurses, soldiers lifted the patients onto stretchers. I drove with the first convoy of military ambulances through Jerusalem early that morning – past the Davidka and the Mahane Yehuda market and then out along the newly blasted Henrietta Szold Road to Ein Kerem."

For eight hours, 20 Israeli Defense Forces ambulances shuttled sick people to Ein Kerem. Every patient was tagged with the floor and the room number to which he was to be transferred. A brightly colored ribbon stretched across the new road. Flowers greeted the new arrivals beside every bed, as physicians, nurses and paramedics waited for the ambulances to arrive.

"Convoy after convey of ambulances rolled up the mountain," remembers Dr. Mann. "They brought very sick people, some of them unconscious. But those who knew what was happening were caught up in the emotion of that day. They reached up to kiss the new mezzuzot as they were carried inside. They cried – and many of us wept as well."

Dr. Mann and then Prime Minister David Ben Gurion were, between them, responsible for selecting the Ein Kerem site. Jerusalem offered few suitable locations. Ein Kerem, five miles south, was right for the [world-class] medical center that Hadassah would, in Dr. Mann's vision, become. Its distance from the city favored a center that saw its future not as a primary-care municipal hospital, but as an advanced tertiary medical, teaching and research institute.

David Ben Gurion, in whose hands the final decision was placed, also saw the strategic value of the site.

"Magnificent," was his reaction. "Build here."

Date: 6/3/2011 12:00:00 AM

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