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The Jerusalem Netletter 5772, 13 Nissan Edition 5772, April 5, 2012

By Barbara Sofer

13 Nissan Edition 5772, April 5, 2012




400 eggs. That's how many I've ordered for Passover in the Galilee with my family. Scrambled or hard-boiled, I figure we'll need about 50 a day for 20 of us times eight. (Passover blends into Shabbat) How many have you ordered?

I glanced back at the 2011 Pesach Netletter where I'd written about Gilad Schalit spending the Holiday of Freedom in captivity. This year he's with his family in Mitzpe Hila in the Western Galilee.. What a joyous Pesach it will be at their home!

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The children of Youth Aliyah have always been our Hadassah children, from the time Henrietta Szold met young refugees from Hitler at the boat and found them homes, until today. For our children at the Youth Aliyah villages, we support an annual trip to Poland. Some have doubted whether teens from such troubled backgrounds, or immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia would benefit from visiting the old Jewish graveyards and death camps. But the doubters were wrong. Our children, many of them survivors of violence, neglect and poverty, are among the best behaved and most engaged Israeli children visiting Poland. The trip is always led by Hadassah Offices in Israel Deputy Directory Barbara Goldstein, who conceived of the idea when she was Youth Aliyah Chair, still living in New Jersey. Among those who joined the trip this year were current Youth Aliyah Chair Benita Ross, Development division co-chair Ruth Hendelman and Los Alamos-volunteer in Israel Andi Kron. A word about Andi. She's a Hadassah activist from Los Alamos, New Mexico. She's a cartographer, and her last major volunteer project was to create the terrific Hadassah Map for Israel's 60th anniversary. She's not only updating it for Hadassah's Centennial, but to celebrate Hadassah's birthday, she's been living and volunteering at Hadassah-Neurim. She speaks Hebrew and has tutored teens in English. Kol Hakavod.

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When we say "we were slaves in Egypt," the commentaries note that we had become slaves spiritually, as well. We had succumbed to the idol-worshipping culture of the Pharaoh. We weren't like hero Natan Sharansky who remained free in his soul while surviving Communist imprisonment. Hence, God needed to pull us out "with a strong hand and an outstretched arm." The story of Passover begins with a sort of self-denunciation "We were slaves in Egypt," and ends with the joy of physical and spiritual redemption. Our devotion to Israel and the Jewish people through Hadassah is a certain way to keep on track.

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The half-year run-in before the Dedication of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower has begun with the first two departments moving in on March 19 (urology) and March 26, (orthopedics) I walked through the old second-floor Orthopedics Department in the old round building where the department was headquartered for more than 50 years. I reminisced with chief nurse Leah Sagi about the legions of foreign journalists who had come to see patients there during the intifada. As more than 30 patients moved from the old crowded rooms to the spacious singles and doubles of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower, we said good-bye to the old space, joyfully moving to the next phase of Hadassah's history. Be here for the Dedication! .

According to Centennial Convention Chair Miki Schulman you can still sign up. What an afikomen present that would be.


  • The designers were going to have all single room, but a poll showed that many patients prefer having roommates. Hence there are private and semi-private.
  • Like a hotel, there are shoe drawers and safes
  • The healing gardens with real trees provide seating for large Israeli family visitors. Patients can go in their pj's.
  • All the glass comes from the glass factories of the donors Bill and Keren Davidson
  • Each room has an original photo of a nature scene in Israel
  • The entrance looks like a welcoming hotel lobby
  • An interactive heritage center will tell the story of Hadassah
  • An ancient mosaic will grace the modern synagogue
  • The Tower is among the first public building with radiant heat and cooling in the ceiling. The air-conditioners are nearly soundless and energy efficient
  • Garbage falls as much as 18 floors onto a pneumatic transportation system into a waste center

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The truth is that when I went into the hospital room to visit Tedeha I thought a younger sibling had come to visit her. She was hospitalized in the preparatory camp for Falash Mura olim to Israel. I knew that the six-year old had been moved from the hospital in Gondor to Hadassah weighing only 22 pounds. She's gained three pounds in Jerusalem, but still looks like a two-year old. All of Hadassah's medical expertise-in infectious diseases, genetics, endocrinology, is being directed at saving this little girl who arrive wearing a white dress with a Star of David embroidered on the front. Her illness goes beyond the tuberculosis for which she was treated in Gondor Hospital.

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Two floor above Tedeha, Nabiha, 4 1/2, from Hebron is waiting for her bone marrow transplantation. Her brother and donor-named Milad-was born on March 19. When Nabiha was a year and a half old, she had a fever after getting a routine vaccination. Her parents thought this was a normal reaction, but the fever continued, and she lost her toddler energy. She was tired all the time. They began a medical odyssey that took them first to their local doctor in Hebron, then Jordan, (her father is a Jordanian citizen and they were covered for medical care) and then to Bethlehem. At last, a cousin from Nazareth insisted that she be treated at Hadassah and took on the financial responsibility for her care.

Nabiha, whose parents are first cousins, was diagnosed with fanconi anemia, (FA) , which has a higher frequency among Ashkenazi Jews. Her hope lay in a bone marrow transplantation from a donor who had to have the right combination of leukocyte antigen proteins to be a perfectly matched stem cell donor for her. Her parents aren't matches and neither is her healthy younger sister. When her mother got pregnant, they hoped the new baby might be a match. Already in utero, Hadassah's staff determined that Milad is. Milad was born on March 19, a few hours after the first patients moved in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower. I was there, sharing the joy with Nabiha's parents as their healthy son was brought forth. The umbilical cord was taken away to provide lifesaving stem cells. Nabiha must undergo preparation for the delicate procedure, scheduled for after Pesach. Milad means"the one who is born." Although this is a Moslem family, the name is mostly associated with the Christian idea of a "savior being born." Indeed, all are hoping that Milad's stem cells will save his sweet sister.

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Multi-culturalism isn't a clichC) in our hospital. Hadassah staff must work together, not against, the cultural sensitivities of patients. So it was when a middle-aged tourist from the US who had refused cancer treatment because of her religious beliefs was brought by friends to Hadassah Hospital. With the greatest sensitivity to her patients' mindset, Professor Tamar Peretz discussed philosophy, religion, and the benefits of even non-invasive treatment in extending life. "No one talked to me like this at home," said the patient. To the joy of her friends and family, she began treatment at Hadassah Hospital.

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With nearly every story there's always a Hadassah connection. In the recent tragedy in Toulouse, a 17-year old student attempted to save one of the terror victims. He was in intensive care. Hadassah's Head of Anaesthesiology Yoram Weiss phoned his colleagues in Toulouse to share experience that he'd gained saving terror survivors in the intifada. On anothernote, there's a popular Passover video that's gone viral, narrated by the Chief Rabbi of South Africa Warren Goldstein with dramatic music by performed by American Yaakov Shwekey. But the music to this song, "V'hee sh'amda 'avoteinu" was written by Jerusalemite Yonatan Razel. If he sounds familiar, Razel appeared in a video for last summer's Convention. His daughter Rivka was saved at Hadassah Hospital after a serious accident. Remember that when you hear the inspiring song. http://www.chiefrabbi.co.za/2012/03/vehisheamda/

Don't you feel proud to be part of Hadassah?

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Passover is such a nostalgic time. I was rereading something Marc Chagall wrote when he was working on the stained glass windows for the Abell Synagogue in Hadassah Ein Kerem over fifty years ago.

Chagall said: How is it that the air and earth of Vitebsk, my birthplace, and of thousands of years of exile, find themselves mingled in the air and earth of Jerusalem. How could I have thought that not only my hands with their colors would direct me in their work, but that the poor hands of my parents and of others and still others with their mute lips and their closed eyes, who gathered and whispered behind me, would direct me as if they also wished to take part in my life? I feel too, as though the tragic and heroic resistance movements, in the ghettos, and your war here in this country, are blended in my flowers and beasts and my fiery colors. I feel as if colors and lines flow like tears from my eyes, though I do not weep. And do not think that I speak like this from weakness-on the contrary, as I advance in years the more certain I am of what I want, and the more certain I am of what I say. I know that the path of our life is eternal and short, and while still in my mother's womb I learned to travel this path with love rather than with hate.

Wishing you all a Hag Kasher V'Sameach from Jerusalem,

Audrey Shimron, Executive Director, Barbara Goldstein, Deputy Directory,

Hadassah Offices in Israel

And me, Barbara Sofer, Israel Director of Public Relations

Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America

Date: 4/5/2012 12:00:00 AM

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