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Dedication of the Barnett Healing Garden: Four Generations with Hadassah

Sheryl and Eliot Barnett stand in front of the Madlyn Barnett Healing Garden.
Laurie and Lon Werner
National President Marcie Natan, Sheryl Barnett, Eliot Barnett, Jessica Barnett, Laurie Werner, Lon Werner, Rhoda Bernstein, Howard Bernstein, Emily Bernstein, Jason Werner, Jessica Werner, Jeff Werner and Director Genearl Ehud Kokia.
Laurie, Lon Jason, Jessica and Jeff Werner.

Hadassah chair Joyce Rabin welcomed three generations of the Barnett family to the dedication of the Madlyn Barnett Healing Garden which took place in the Moshe Saba Masri Synagogue in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower on Monday, October 15.

The dedication ceremony, which was attended by 11 family members, friends and well wishers, was live streamed to other family members in New York, Boston, Fort Worth, Denver and LA.

Rabin recalled that when the healing garden was proposed at a Hadassah board meeting, Madlyn's daughter, Laurie Werner, sent along a little note on a napkin saying the Barnett family wanted to pledge that garden.

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Marcie Natan, Hadassah national president, remarked that she could not think of a better model of a matriarch than Madlyn Barnett. The best thing she gave to the organization, more than all her unimaginably generous gifts, she said, was sharing her family with Hadassah. Their devotion to Hadassah began with her mother, Ella Brachman, continued with Madlyn and then her dynamic daughters, Rhoda and Laurie.

Prof. Ehud Kokia, Hadassah's director general, expressed his appreciation of this extraordinary family and said that Louis Barnett, now 94, helped build modern Israel.

"He ran Israel during the 1960s!" he said, adding that the Barnett family was a model for Hadassah members in the way they get the younger generation involved in their philanthropy.

Former director-general Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef recalled his long-term relationship with the Barnett family, whom he called a family of doers. "We are fortunate that they chose Hadassah as their organization," he said.

Miki Shulman, chair of Hadassah's Centennial Convention, paid tribute to Madlyn Barnett and commented that Judaism believed that the earth was made with divine wisdom, which is why natural gardens can heal the body, the spirit and the world at large.

"I can feel her presence, I can see her smile, and know how proud she would have been," she said.

An emotional family response was delivered by Laurie Werner followed by her sister Rhoda Bernstein. Laurie recalled the origin of her mother's desire to donate the healing garden. From the moment she saw the list of proposed dedications hot off the press at the National Board Meeting she pointed to it and said, "I want that!"

"Mother and Hadassah were truly synonymous to all who knew her," Laurie concluded.

Rhoda added, "Our family would not be complete without Hadassah in the center." She also observed that her mother's healing garden represented the element of water, which was appropriate since Madlyn loved water and spent many of her vacations by the seaside.

Just as water relaxed and rejuvenated her mother to carry on her work for others, so too would her healing garden do the same for Hadassah's patients and their families, Rhoda said.

Following the ceremony, the plaque was unveiled on the fifth floor and the gathering viewed the healing gardens.

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