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Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem

By Gayna Bassin

I visited Israel from June 14-24, 2009, mainly to see my son, Michael, who made aliyah last August and is currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Carol Ann Schwartz, Hadassah Central States Region President, helped us make an appointment for a tour of Hadassah Hospital on our last day in Israel.

So on Wednesday, June 24th, my husband Jeff and I drove to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. We followed the signs to Hadassah Ein Kerem, which were clearly marked in Hebrew, Arabic and English and with a big letter "H", the international symbol for "Hospital".

We parked in the garage underneath the main building and had a light lunch in the shopping center on the first two floors. Our appointment was at 12:30 pm, and we had no trouble finding the Visitors Center. Our tour guide was Claudia Rubinsztain, who works in the Tourism Department. She was from South America originally and was a little deprecatory about her English skills, but we had no trouble understanding her. First, she took us to the famous Abbell Synagogue that houses the magnificent Chagall stained glass windows.

Stained glass windows by marc chagall in the abbell synagogue at hadassah hospital ein kerem.
A recorded English tour was in progress, and we enjoyed hearing the history and stories behind most of the window designs. The Synagogue was dedicated on February 6, 1962, as part of Hadassah's Golden Anniversary celebration. The twelve windows represent Jacob's blessings on his twelve sons and Moses' blessings on the twelve tribes. Each window is dominated by a specific color and contains a quotation from the individual blessings. One of the windows was damaged during the 1967 war. Chagall told the hospital to worry about the defense of Israel, and he would make them new, more beautiful windows. The replacement glass was slightly different from the original because when a building in Israel is damaged by war, it is never restored exactly as it was, as a remembrance.
Jeffrey bassin in the abbell synagogue.
Jeff Bassin in the Synagogue, in front of the Ark doors.
Gayna bassin in the abbell synagogue.
Gayna Bassin in the Synagogue.

Claudia then took us to the main lobby to see a model of the hospital's new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower, currently under construction. The tower will add to Ein Kerem's 800-bed hospital a 14-story structure with 500 beds, 20 operating rooms, a 50-bed ICU and the ultra-modern Heart Institute.
Model of the sarah wetsman davidson tower at hadassah hospital ein kerem.
Model of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower, due to be completed in 2012.
Model of hadassah hospital ein kerem.
Model of the current Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, with the new Davidson Tower behind.

Every floor will include glass atriums with living plants and sunlight for patients to relax in to aid in healing. Semi-private rooms are designed for patient comfort and privacy.

We next visited the Trauma Center. We learned that Hadassah Ein Kerem is Jerusalem's only Level One Trauma Center. The walls are built like lasagna, in layers of steel and concrete, in case of attack.
Steel plate is between the panes of glass. Jeff bassin and claudia rubinsztain in the trauma center.
Jeff Bassin and Claudia Rubinsztain in the Trauma Center.
(Left) The windows have a sliding steel plate between the panes.

Each Trauma unit can evaluate and treat a patient in 3 minutes, and extra beds can be brought in in case of mass casualties. We were very impressed that all equipment needed to diagnose a trauma case is right there in the room. X-ray machines are built into the operating table, and other emergency equipment hangs from the ceiling or walls.

We then walked over to the next building to see the Bloomberg Mother and Child Center. It is a tall tower next to the construction site for the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower. The center of the building is open and decorated with colorful neon animal shapes.
Mother and child center at ein kerem.
The Bloomberg Mother and Child Center.
Inside the mother and child center.
Inside the Mother and Child Center.
Claudia rubinsztain and jeff bassin outside the mother and child center
Claudia Rubinsztain and Jeff Bassin at the entrance to the Bloomberg Mother and Child Center.
Neon cats decorate the walls in front of the elevator.
Neon cats decorate the walls in front of the elevator.

Inside, everything is decorated to appeal to a child's senses. In a common area, children can play on computer monitors arranged in a circular terminal. Clearly, Hadassah Hospital is attentive to patients' emotional needs as well as to health care.
Gayna bassin in the mother and child center, with a train activity center on the wall.
Gayna Bassin in the play area for child patients.
Gayna bassin at the computer terminal.
Gayna next to the computer terminals in the play area.

We learned that while Mount Scopus has some more specialized centers, like pre-natal and hospice care, once the Davidson Tower opens in 2012, Ein Kerem will have expanded centers for Invasive Angiography, Immune Disorders, Minimally Invasive Surgery and Computerized Assisted Surgery, Cell Therapy, and Molecular Medicine; trailblazing research facilities to realize the promise of stem cell treatment and unlock the mysteries of heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease; and gene therapy, advanced imaging in operating rooms, robotics and computer-guided surgery, cutting-edge monitoring and telemedicine.
Construction sign for the sarah wetsman davidson tower.
Construction sign for the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower.
Construction on the sarah wetsman davidson tower.
The construction site.

My husband and I were very impressed with our tour and were excited to see first-hand the incredible works of Hadassah.

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