Zipporah Eyal was only 18 when she began working at the Hadassah Medical Organization, where her first job was checking for weapons at the portal. Today she is 81, and she was back at Hadassah last month when she was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Many participants on Hadassah tours will be familiar with her son, encyclopedic and ebullient tour guide Shlomo Eyal, who has led hundreds of Hadassah groups.
"I felt dizzy and then began running a fever," said Eyal. "When we got to the hospital, the staff ran some tests and sent me straight up to the COVID-19 Outbreak Unit. From that moment, the doctors and nurses were there for me, making sure I was on the road to recovery."
Eyal was born in Iraq, made aliyah at age 12, and married at 16. Two of her four children were born in Hadassah's temporary quarters in downtown Jerusalem after Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus was closed and before Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem was built. She continued to work at Hadassah, taking on administrative responsibilities when Ein Kerem opened in 1962. Her widowed mother worked in Hadassah's laundry.
“With 10 grandchildren and a first great-grandchild on the way, I missed my family," she said upon leaving the hospital. “Visitors weren't allowed in the hospital because of fear of contagion.
“When I get home, the first thing I’ll do is light a candle to the prophets to thank them for my good fortune at Hadassah. My prayer will be that they intervene for the good of all the people of Israel. I wish us all only good health.”