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Major Donors Swartz Family Honored at Centennial

Owners of the Timberland Company, Judy Swartz and family led the drive to raise the necessary $360M for the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower.

The brand-new, state-of-the-art Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower was dedicated today at Hadassah Hospital's Ein Kerem campus with a tribute to Judy and Sidney Swartz of Delray Beach, Florida and Brookline, Massachusetts, who led the drive to raise the necessary $360 million for the 19-storey tower.

National President Marcie Natan commended the Swartz family as models of corporate responsiblity.

Director General Ehud Kokia thanked the Swartzes for making construction of the tower "both on time and on budget."

At a luncheon for Hadassah's Society of Major Donors in the entrance atrium of the new building, whose glass walls overlook the Judean Hills on Jerusalem's western outskirts, the heads of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA) and the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) thanked the Swartzes for their generosity and vision that made construction of the tower possible "both on time and on budget," in the words of Prof. Ehud Kokia, the HMO's director general.

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Marcie Natan, national president of HWZOA, commended the Swartzes, owners of The Timberland Company, as models of corporate responsibility, who have donated generously to health care, research, education, anti-poverty and women's programs. The couple underwrote two pavilions in the new hospital tower, each named in memory of their respective parents.

Natan recalled that Sidney Swartz had told her his motivation for giving to Hadassah was that he did not want to look back and ask himself what he had done for Israel when it was under attack.

"When you look back you will see a line of people following the example you and Judy set," said Natan.

With her husband at her side, Judy Swartz told the group she was going to do the talking because Sidney was choked up with emotion. She recalled that her first Hadassah meeting in Lexington, MA in 1962 was devoted to the dedication of "the round building" that served as the hospital's main building for the last fifty years.

"Fifty years later we are dedicating a new Hadassah tower. That takes my breath away. Never in our lives did we dare to dream such dreams."

Karen Davidson and her late husband Bill of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan were honored at the luncheon for their contribution that "laid the basis" for the construction of the tower. The tower is named for Bill's mother, the late Sarah Wetsman Davidson, who was a leading figure in Hadassah since 1916. Her grandson, Ralph Gerson, spoke at the ceremony.

"When I was a small child, my grandmother Sarah told us we had an obligation and privilege to support Israel and Hadassah. She passed that on to my mother and late Uncle Bill. It was an easy decision for Bill and Karen to support the tower. He was a man of vision and knew the importance of the medical center for research and healing."

Immediate past director general of HMO Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef spoke about launching the campaign for the tower only eight years ago. The goal of opening in 2012 was scheduled to coincide with the centennial of the founding of Hadassah in New York in 1912 as a women's organization devoted to supporting Zionism through medical relief and education. He called the donors gathered for the dedication "the leadership of the Jewish people" and thanked them for "giving us what is needed to practice medicine at the highest level."

Mor-Yosef, who stepped down as director general a year ago, was honored with a standing ovation.

The new building, designed to house all of the hospital departments and operating rooms, incorporates cutting-edge technological infrastructures with a new standard of patient care including private and semi-private rooms, menus on demand, indoor healing gardens, balconies and the hospital's first intermediate care center.

Prof. Kokia told the group he spoke for patients, families and staff when he thanked them and wished for "another 100 years of partnership."

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