Associates Mission recap

Associates Israel Mission: Modern Life in an Ancient Land

Thirty Six Hadassah Associates and members went on an extraordinary Mission to Israel and many agreed this was the best Mission they had ever been on.

On our arrival day, we explored the streets of the Neve Shalom (Oasis of Peace) area, learning the history of Tel Aviv as we viewed the sights. While in Tel Aviv we visited the extraordinary Rabin Center, seeing Israel's history through Rabin's eyes. We then traveled north to the Meir Shefaya youth village that Hadassah has supported since it was a refuge for Eastern European youths during WWII. Today Meir Shefaya is not only a refuge for troubled teens, it also has a school which is so excellent that local families pay to have their children attend.

We stopped at Atlit, a British Internment camp for thousands of Jewish refugees, who were caught attempting to immigrate to Israel during the British Mandatory period. Murray Greenfield, a former prisoner of this camp, spoke about his experience.

To explore northern Israel we spent three nights at a delightful Galilee Kibbutz/Spa. At Kibbutz Menara, on the border of Lebanon, we were honored to be addressed by Rachel Rabin, the sister of Yitzhak Rabin. She told us how they started this Kibbutz with the help of JNF and the history of its trying times. Today the Kibbutz has grown and is thriving.

We visited Tefen Industrial Park, originated by Stef Wertheimer. Wertheimer believed that peace begins with economics and thus created the first industrial park generating jobs for Arabs, Druze and Israelis alike. We saw a presentation from Pilo, a startup bicycle part manufacturer. Co-owner Hila Pilo explained how Tefen helped with the start and growth of the company. While at Tefen, we also visited Iscar, a machining tool company founded by Stef Wertheimer and eventually sold to Warren Buffet.

Another highlight was our visit to Sapir, the National Water Carrier pumping facility at Lake Kinneret. During a very interesting presentation we learned that 70% of Israel's water now comes from desalinization and sewage water is being recycled for irrigation. In Israel, water is drinkable from every tap, unlike Israel's nearest neighbors.

On our way to Jerusalem we stopped at Beit She'an National Park, one of Israel's largest archeological sites of an ancient Roman-Byzantine city. Learning about the Romans, we saw many ruins, semi-restored bath houses, a colosseum, and original mosaics.

In Jerusalem we stayed at the Inbal, an outstanding hotel, where we had Shabbat dinner. Shabbat morning in Jerusalem included an optional guided tour through the old City and in the evening, after Shabbat, the "Night Spectacular" at the Tower of David Museum, a nighttime show of light and sound, depicting the story of Jerusalem.

We were privileged to hear from two distinguished speakers. Anat Berko, MK, a specialist on Terror and counter Terror in the Middle East, spoke about Iran and the Palestinian situation. Dr. Tal Becker, Israeli Academic and former peace negotiator, spoke about the negotiating dynamics between Israel and the Palestinians. Both were extremely interesting presentations.

The highlight of our trip was visiting Hadassah Medical Organization's two Hospitals. First, we visited Hadassah Ein Kerem where we were privileged to hear from Dr. Yoram Weiss, Director of the Intensive Care Unit and an Anesthesiologist, who thanked Hadassah for its support providing the best clinical research and treatment possible. Eyal Mishani, Research Coordinator and Physicist in charge of the Cyclotron, explained that Hadassah currently has 2 Cyclotrons for molecular imagery and nuclear medicine. He informed us that Hadassah has received more than 60% of the National Science foundation Awards for Bio-Medical research in Israeli hospitals. Dr. Marc Wygoda, a professor of radiology oncology, explained that Precision radiation can replace surgery and reach areas not accessible to the surgeon such as the brain stem. We also toured the new, state of the art, underground operating rooms still under construction and scheduled to open early next year.

Karen Lakin, originally from Glastonbury CT, poignantly spoke to us about her late husband, Richard Lakin who was brutally attacked by terrorists on a public bus 12 days before and treated at Ein Kerem. She told us that Hadassah Hospital is fabulous and that she has no words to describe what Hadassah has done for her and her family.

D'vir Mosei, who stepped on a land mine during a school trip told us he needed 30 surgeries and rehabilitation at Mount Scopus. D'vir said that he can never return what Hadassah has given him. He shouldn't be walking. He shouldn't have survived. That day was his son's third birthday.

Standing at Mount Scopus in front of the Hospital, Barbara Goldstein, deputy director Hadassah Office in Israel, said that after the Romans conquered Jerusalem, the Roman Emperor Titus bragged that there would never be another Jewish person at this place. Osnat Lev Tzion, hospital director, spoke about the accomplishments of the hospital and concerns about security. She informed us that terrorism happens right outside their doorstep and they often have little time to prepare for the casualties.

One of our last activities was going to Camp Yishay, an infantry base, which was quite an experience!  Soldiers briefed our group explaining his or her duties. We saw an Israeli made tank in operation and our group participated in M16 target practice and a Krav Maga skill drill.

The Associates Mission was an incredible experience, so great, that many of the participants can't wait to join another Associates Mission to Israel. Perhaps you will be able to join us for the next Associates Mission.

Report by Fern Tannenbaum

Murray Greenfield at Atlit
Jeff Richardson & Louis Numkin
By the Kotel
Visiting an Operating Room
D'vir Mosei
Lesson on Rifles at Camp Yishay
Fred Safer at Beit She'an
At the Rabin Museum
Fern & Myron Tannenbaum with Rachel Rabin
Standing in the Meir Shefaya Student Run Winery
All the Associates on the October 2015 Associates Israel Mission

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