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The Jerusalem Netletter 13 Nissan 5771, April 17, 2011

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As you make the last arrangements for Pesach, I'm sure that your heart, like mine, alternates between plans for the future and memories of Pesach past. Yes, I remember the huge political fight I had at the table when I arrived fresh from my campus demonstrations in the 1960's. Yes, I remember the thrill of introducing a younger cousin who didn't know the Pesach story to the wonders of the Exodus. Pesach impresses on us the need to create memory for our families. Our time is now. But let's lighten up and remember:
no Pesach is complete without a little spilt wine.

Here in Jerusalem, everything is at a high-pitched Pesach fever. Matza-mania. A friend invited me for breakfast this morning, but the café would only serve coffee: sorry-busy getting ready for Pesach. Householders are washing out those last bread crumbs, and restaurants are readying to serve falafel in matza, matza pizza, and burgers in matza rolls. I've never figured out why, but perfume sales spike before Pesach. Toy stores are crowded with grandparents buying "afikomen" gifts.

The delivery rooms at our hospitals prepare for Passover, too. They have to get ready for an extra number of bundles of joy that come along with the season. The exertions of zealous mothers-to-be, eager both to clean for Passover and to put things in order before the birth, send them into labor before they get to sit down at the Seder. Mazal Tov Pesach babies!


His place at the table will be empty as Aviva and Noam Schalit sit down to Seder. To raise consciousness of five years of Hamas captivity of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, the 300 members of the Young Judaea Year Course froze in place for five minutes on the Ben Yehudah Walking Mall in Jerusalem. They carried signs calling on the International Red Cross to visit Gilad. We want Gilad now!*


Ad Shapiro, 18, the daughter of Dr. Michael Shapiro, a senior hematologist of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit was injured in last month's terror attack near the entrance of Jerusalem when she got off her bus from school. Ad is now an outpatient in the physiotherapy department at Hadassah Mount Scopus and will be with her family for Seder.

Ehud Kokia was already an experienced physician and IDF officer, but he wanted to complete the flight surgeon course offered at the US Navy's famous flight academy in Pensacola, Florida. To qualify as a flight surgeon, he would have to swim a mile in less than 80 minutes wearing full pilot's regalia: zippered flight-suit, helmet, pack, boots. He would have to demonstrate proficiency in underwater swimming and a range of swimming strokes. At last, Dr. Kokia would have to jump from a 15-foot tower.

There was one small problem. Like many who grew up in land-locked Jerusalem, the otherwise athletic Kokia couldn't swim.So at age 40, Dr. Ehud Kokia took swimming lessons and practiced. First paddling and floating, stroke by stroke, he acquired mastery in the water. He passed the swimming requirement on the first try

Never being daunted by challenges characterizes the newly-appointed Director General of Hadassah Medical Center, who will take on the historic role of HMO's eighth director general this fall. Dr. Kokia graduated from the prestigious Rehavia Gymnasium, before joining pre-IDF "Atuda" Medical School program which allows brilliant students to go to medical school before the army and then serve the IDF as doctors. His military service was in the Air Force. Later,he specialized in fertility and gynecology, and later added medical administration to his CV. For much of his career, he held key positions in Kupat Holim Maccabi, one of Israel's most successful and fastest growing health providers. He is married to Dr. Ira Kokia, a pediatrician. Their daughter Hila works in high tech, and Uri, a star basketball forward on the Hapoel Jerusalem team. A warm welcome to Hadassah!

Israeli Memorial Day is the most somber 24-hours of the year, marked by remembrance ceremonies, visits to cemeteries, solemn music. At sunset, a glorious ceremony begins on Mount Herzl to make the transition to Independence Day. The heart of that ceremony-broadcast live - is the lighting of 12 symbolic torches. This year, our own Barbara Goldstein will light one of the torches in honor of Hadassah's Centennial. BG/ Hadassah were chosen among hundreds of candidates.

Barbara Goldstein, whom we all call BG like Ben Gurion, has dedicated her entire life to service for the Jewish people in general and Hadassah in particular. She was born in New Jersey, and even as a child in elementary school collected money for the JNF, knocking on doors, including the Catholic convents. The first dollar always came from her own allowance, a lesson that has served her well, in always giving first of herself before asking others to follow her.

She organized demonstrations on behalf of Soviet Jewry, became the national President of Junior Hadassah and went on to nearly every executive position in Hadassah in the three decades before she moved to Israel where , BG has intensified her service to the Jewish people. She created the idea for special Hadassah missions to Poland for children at risk and personally leads them to Poland each year. She is a dedicated volunteer on the national Herzl Commission to preserve and promote the legacy of the Visionary of the State. BG is known as unflappable, but admits that she's never been as excited about anything as lighting the torch.

And Hadassah? You know that Israel's famous achievements of medicine, bio-technology and public health all began with Hadassah.
*You can catch the ceremony live Monday afternoon in the US at www.iba.org.il on May 9th. More details will follow.

*HADASSAH'S CHEN TO LIGHT HOLOCAUST TORCH Hadassah is also honored that Dina Chen, a Jerusalem life,-member of Hadassah-Israel, will be lighting one of the six torches, at the

Holocaust Day Memorial Ceremony at Yad Vashem symbolizing the six million Jews who were murdered.

Chen was an infant when the Nazis reached Zagreb. Her father, a lawyer, was caught on the street and sent to one extermination camp. Chen and her mother were sent on freight cars to another. In an amazing act of courage, her mother packed her baby in a box and sent it for delivery to cousins back in Zagreb. At first they thought the odd package was a bomb, but the baby began crying. An aunt smuggled Chen to a village where she was baptized, renamed Maria and kept in the house. The aunt fought in the partisans and rescued Chen again after the war. They came to Israel on an illegal immigration ship like the Exodus and were interned in Atlit. At last, they were freed and Chen was sent to the youth aliyah village that was later named Ramat Hadassah Szold. She served in the IDF, studied at Tel Aviv University, married, had a son and daughter and moved to Jerusalem. She worked in the laboratory of the Hadassah Hospital until her retirement a few years ago, and then joined the women of Hadassah - Israel as volunteer.

True, they speak Spanish, but most of the Jews of Puerto Rico are Ashkenazi. They left Poland and White Russia, for Cuba, and Castor's Cuba for Puerto Rico. This year, a mission from that island went back to Eastern Europe to find their roots and to join Hadassah's Youth Aliyah Educational Tour of Holocaust and Jewish Heritage Sites. 110 youngsters, many of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, were joined by Youth Aliyah Chair Barbara Spack, National Vice President Benita Ross, and Barbara Goldstein. Said Robert Carridy from Puerto Rico, (whose parents were from Bagdad) at the memorial site in Kielce:

Here we were in the place 40 Jewish survivors were murdered in a pogrom after the war (July 4, 1946.) There was such a big hole in our hearts and we stood there weeping. Suddenly, the children from Youth Aliyah arrived, joined our circle carrying Israeli flags and began singing. The song was **Rachem Na**, (**Have Mercy Hashem our G-d, On Israel Your people, On Jerusalem Your city**) I didn't know all the words, but the hole in my heart was filled by these beautiful young people, survivors themselves, who gave us hope for the future."

*Would your region like to join the Youth Aliyah Educational Tour in Poland next year? If so, contact our office, hoi@hadassah.org


Just two miles separate Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus from downtown Jerusalem. But in the month before the British Mandate ended and Israel declared Independence on May 15, 1948, traveling the road to the nine-year old medical center had become dangerous. Anyone who worked at the hospital, needed medical treatment, or wanted to get to the neighboring Hebrew University, gathered in the center of town and rode up the hill in a convoy of vehicles. So it was on the morning of April 13, 1948. Among the passengers was Hannah Cassouto, from the famous Italian Jewish family. The convoy left shortly after 9:00. Oddly, the corner grocery was shuttered when they reached the narrow Nashashibi Bend. The driver of the lead car swerved to avoid a break in the road. A mine exploded. From every direction, Arab shooters attacked. Others threw Molotov cocktails. Hannah Cassouto was dead, ,among the 78 men and women murdered in the medical convoy.

Hannah's son David, an architect and grandfather, spoke to the Young Judaea Year Course on Hadassah Day about his experience as a child.

He and two siblings were taken to pre-State Israel by their young aunt. His father Dr. Nathan Cassouto died in the camps. When he first saw his mother after Auschwitz he didn't remember her. "She had turned from a young woman to an old one, but she was determined to build a new life for us." A neighbor half-watched the children as she left to work in the laboratory on April 13, pushing up her shift so that she could be home for Seder night. One sibling had died in the Holocaust. The remaining orphans were brought up by their grandfather the famous Jewish scholar Umberto Cassouto and their grandmother. The Judaeans asked if David was bitter and how he and his siblings managed to build good lives. "We never lost faith in our country or our heritage," he said. He is currently head of the architecture faculty at Ariel University. "My sister, brother and I have 50 Israeli grandchildren," he said. "That's our victory over the forces of evil." And he had a Pesach message, too.
"When you say that each of us must see ourselves as coming out of Egypt, remember that we were slaves in the Holocaust, too, and have come out to our own land."

Also speaking for Young Judaea on Hadassah Day was Shoshana Weinstein, whose son Eran was murdered on Ben Yehudah Street. Some will remember her from the Hadassah Convention in Arizona when she came with baby Eden, born seven years ago when Shoshana was turning 50. "I told (Head of Hadassah Mount Scopus Ob-Gyn Department) Professor Drorit Hochner that I wanted to have another baby and bring joy back into the house. She didn't tell me to see a psychiatrist. She said she understood. Only at Hadassah could this happen." Beautiful, dark-haired Eden, a second-grader who dances ballet, came onto the stage. "In the Bible, Adam came from the Garden of Eden," said Shoshana. "We lost our beloved Adam and we got our beautiful Eden." Shoshana also had a message for the teenagers. "If you really want something good, nothing can stop you. Go for it."

At this year's Memorial Ceremony for the victims of the Convoy, Hadassah Mount Scopus Director Professor Zvi Stern revealed that there had been a huge rise on neighborhood attacks on Mount Scopus, 83 instances of stoning, Molotov cocktails, and tear gas grenades lobbed at the hospital from the nearby village of Isawiya. More than 20 residents of Isawiya work at the hospital and the village residents receive medical care at the hospital, said Professor Stern. "I have asked to speak to the Muhtar of the Village, but so far it hasn't happened. Whenever there is agitation, we become an easy target for attack."

The sky was the limit for Hadassah's 100th year kick-off, at the Lev Ha'Ir penthouse, 26-floors above the emergency room of Hadassah's first Tel Aviv hospital. Hadassah Tel Aviv opened in 1921, when our then 9-year old organization provided medical services for then 12-year old Tel Aviv. The contractors-the Fishman Group and daughter company Oneal Construction-postponed the building dedication to have it coordinated with Hadassah's centennial celebrations. The two Israeli chief Rabbis, government officials, captains of industry and other prominent guests stopped by to wish Hadassah Mazal Tov and to learn about Hadassah's achievements in an evening of celebration (and fundraising.)

Her desire to heal spirit as well as body and her dedication to power of women inspired Katherine Merage of Los Angeles to allow a pavilion containing signature healing gardens at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem to bear her name.

The Merage Family Foundation has
donated $7 million dollars to build the 14-floor inner pavilion of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower rising on the Hadassah campus. On a recent visit to Jerusalem, Katherine Merage, her son David Merage and daughter-in-law Laura Merage dedicated the Pavilion in the presence of Hadassah National President Nancy Falchuk, Hadassah Medical Organization Director General Shlomo Mor-Yosef and friends.
"Since I was a youngster, " said David Merage. "My mother demonstrated the strength of women, as she and the hundreds of thousands of women of Hadassah found a way to enlist the support of the rest of us, husbands and families, to make Hadassah Hospital a beacon of teaching, research and community health."
Laura Merage's voice cracked with emotion as she described how her mother-in-law was a role model of loving-kindness and leadership for her, and how moved the family was that Katherine would allow the healing gardens to bear her name.

*GREENEBAUM BREAST CENTER OPENS AT HMO EIN KEREM In Jerusalem, many women won't say the word "cancer" let alone "breast cancer." Others need to have their husbands persuaded by the imam that they should allow mammograms. Still others don't want to check their genes for fear that their daughters won't be able to marry well.
When a woman does overcome fear and
cultural obstacles to have herself examined, the process should be uncomplicated, comprehensive and compassionate. Such is the vision of Marlene Greenebaum, for whom a new breast care diagnostic facility was named this week at Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem.
The Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Breast Care Center was dedicated on April 12, in the presence of Mrs. Greenebaum, her husband Stewart,( a former member of the Hadassah Medical Organization Board of Directors), and representatives from Baltimore's medical community. Marlene Greenebaum is a twenty year survivor of breast cancer and making sure women get top professional and exceptionally caring diagnosis has become a personal mission. "I won't be satisfied until the day we find the cure," said Greenebaum, "In the meantime women need advanced, wide-ranging diagnostic tools and all-inclusive therapies."

In July 2010, she attended Hadassah's
National Convention in New Orleans, and heard Tamar Sella, a young, enthusiastic Hadassah Hospital radiologist describe her vision of ideal breast evaluation. Dr. Sella dreamed of a center where patients could meet radiologists, surgeons, oncologists, social workers, breast care nurses, plastic surgeon and gynecologists instead of undergoing an enervating and bewildering odyssey of appointments.
After the lecture, the Greenebaums happened to be having lunch with Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the Director General of Hadassah Medical Center.
At last week's Dedication Ceremony, Professor Mor-Yosef recounted the lunch conversation. "Stewart said simply, ' Marlene wants the Center.' I was extremely moved."

The Greenebaums offered to make a generous donation towards the Center, but there was a catch. Professor Mor-Yosef had to promise to have it up and running before Passover.

On April 13, five days before Passover, Dr. Sella, now the Center Director, treated her first patients in the Marlene Greenebaum Center, on the ground floor of the main hospital building.
"It is currently the only place in the country where a women can get gowned and rotate through different rooms to see several different specialists in complete privacy without having to dress and undress for each visit," Dr. Sella said. Research is a key element of the Center, and to mark the Dedication, a full-day seminar on new findings on breast cancer took place on the Hadassah campus.

One focus of the study day was the ramifications of new findings at Hadassah University Hospital. Researchers have discovered mutations on the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes which cause genetic predisposition to breast cancer in Sephardic Jews whose families were expelled from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497. Previously, the genetic mutations were associated mainly with Ashkenazi Jews. The Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Center includes a dedicated clinic for carriers of these genetic defects in order to address family dynamics, prophylactic options and treatment modalities.

Another area of discussion was the promising clinical trial with RUTH, an innovative imaging device developed by an Israeli company, which detects early cancer cells, and is painless. Said Dr. Sella, "This is a festive day for women in Jerusalem and Israel. It will change the way breast cancer is diagnosed in this country and I will do my best to make this happen. Our message is that there is hope at the end of tunnel for those suffering from breast cancer, and that from the first moment of diagnosis we can provide strength and courage."

*YES, I SPEAK ENGLISH THANKS TO HADASSAH COLLEGE As downtown Jerusalem gears up for the opening of the light rail and improved commerce, 20 shopkeepers and salespersons are polishing their English with the help of Hadassah College. Volunteer teacher Reut Ran, a student majoring in Communications Disorders meets them for two hours every week, after business hours. Says Hadassah College President Professor Nava Ben Zvi, "This is one more example of our students' volunteering to help the community. There's nothing we like to do better than to teach, and no place we're more committed to than downtown Jerusalem."

With best wishes for a kosher, happy, safe and peaceful Pesach, from Executive Director Audrey Shimron, Deputy Director Barbara Goldstein,

And me, Barbara Sofer

Israel Director of Public Relations
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America

www.barbarasofer.com and become my friend on facebook!

Date: 4/18/2011 12:00:00 AM

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