Inside Hadassah: Mission Accomplished, Winning Streak
As summer draws to a close, I reflect on my visit to Jerusalem at this historic time. I think of the lines from the late Israeli poet Natan Yonatan: “To each of us [our] city Jerusalem whose sheaves of dreams [we] bind…. From your earth Jerusalem, the flowers of night will shine….” Those special Jerusalem days were like “shining night flowers”—bustling with activities and tourists; meetings focused on a new beginning for Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel and its new chair, Zev Bielski; and most hopefully a peaceful, shining new period for Jerusalem and for all Israel. —Ruth G. Cole
More than 70 nurses—including a record 27 first-time-ever-to-Israel participants—from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds made up the most recent Nurses Council Mission to Israel in June.
They came from 22 states (six from Texas) ranging in age from 22 to 83 and including several mother-daughter teams. Their days included political updates and informative lectures on subjects from the latest in stem cell research to post-traumatic stress disorder to complementary medicine. And for the first time ever on a Nurses Mission there were men.
The mission combined professional meetings at the Hadassah Medical Center with touring and enrichment. Said participant Audrey Schechter, “This trip made me very proud to be a nurse and to have spent 40 years as a Hadassah member working to raise money for our hospitals.”
If you’d like to be in on next year’s exciting Nurses Mission, contact Helaine Ohayon (firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-451-6247) for information.
Hadassah College Jerusalem has won the Jerusalem Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism in the community. The college has created a network of projects with students using their knowledge and talent in learning centers, language and speech kindergartens, schools for the deaf, old-age homes, computer clubs and in battered women’s shelters.
Seeing the Way
The Jewish Braille Institute of America has changed its name to The JBI Library, but everything else remains the same.
JBI provides books in audio, large print and Braille, offering fiction and nonfiction, liturgical and cultural materials and the entireHadassah Magazine every month, all completely free of charge.
View the catalog online or register for JBI services at www.jbilibrary. org. If you’d like more information or to join The JBI Library, call 800-433-1531.
On a June morning in 2002, police superintendent Ronit Tobul dropped her baby daughter off at day care and caught a bus to work. But as the bus left the junction in southern Jerusalem, a terrorist on board detonated himself. Nineteen people died at once. Another 52 were injured.
Many were rushed to the Hadassah–Hebrew University Hospital at Ein Kerem, and police and Army converged on the mangled bus. Among them was Ronit’s husband, Shlomo, also of Jerusalem’s police force. With expertise born of unhappy practice, he began searching through the debris. “When I found Ronit’s purse, my world stopped turning,” he recalls.
By the time he got to the hospital, Ronit was in surgery to remove the shrapnel from her head and body.
Slowly and steadily, Ronit recovered. On lifetime anticoagulant medication because of remaining shrapnel and with her blood vessels traumatized by her injuries, she was warned against another pregnancy. But it fell on deaf ears. “I’m not irresponsible,” she explains. “But I wanted another child and I was determined to have one.”
In the 34th week of her pregnancy, Ronit made yet one more trip to Hadassah’s operating rooms and emerged with her tiny son.
“Shlomo and I know we took a risk in having this baby,” she says, her face wreathed in smiles. “We’re so very, very grateful that things turned out as they have.”
Dolls for Medical Play
Since the fall of 1996, Greater Detroit Chapter of Hadassah members and community volunteers have been busy creating medical play dolls to educate and comfort young children who require hospitalization. The cuddly, 18-inch gingerbread-style dolls come in four skin-like tones and juvenile-patterned, hospital-style gowns. More than 43,000 dolls have been donated to area hospitals in Michigan and Israel since this award-winning doll project began.
The dolls are used by medical staff to help relieve the fear and anxiety of hospitalized children and their families, and kids take their dolls home to continue the healing process as well. For more information or to start your own doll project, contact 248-683-5030 or visit www.hadassahdet.org.
Established in 1968, the international Special Olympics has been the main sporting competition for over a million and a half athletes with learning and developmental disabilities. These athletes must undergo vision and hearing tests before they compete. The testing directors in Israel are teachers at Hadassah College Jerusalem.
At a competition at the Wingate Institute of Physical Fitness and Sports near Netanya last spring, a group of 4th-year HCJ students in optometry and communication disorders volunteered to test the eyes and ears of Israel’s special athletes.
They found that almost half were in need of glasses or special protective eyewear or showed signs of eye disease. And over 60 percent failed the hearing tests, almost double the international average for special athletes.
Two HCJ students are investigating this unusual phenomenon in their final paper.
On a Roll
Hadassah Magazine rocks! This year it took home 12 Rockower Awards, a record for the magazine (its previous best was 11) and a record for the Rockowers: No other publication clinched more than seven.
At the annual banquet of the American Jewish Press Association in June, Hadassah swept the field for Excellence in Special Sections or Supplements: First place for the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish Life issue, second for 100 Years After Herzl and third for Jewish Education.
The magazine also scored first in the Scientific Technological Innovation Out of Israel category for Wendy Elliman’s “The Miracle Worker.”
Several second places were realized for Excellence: Single Commentary, Sandra Hurtes’s “The People We Love and Create”; Feature Writing, Esther Hecht’s “Bialik’s Children”; Arts and Criticism, Rahel Musleah’s “The Call of the Wild”; and Photography for Adriana Groisman’s photoessay, “A Snip in Time.”
Thirds taken were Musleah’s “Living Jewishly at All Costs”; Personality Profiles for Andrée Aelion Brooks’s portrait of Simon Schama; Jerusalem Reporting for Ruth Mason’s “One for the Road”; and wrapping it up in the Jewish Life in America category for—once again—the theme issue on the 350th anniversary of American Jewish Life.
Return to Splendor
April 2005 marked 46 years since 18 high school graduates from such diverse places as Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey had been in Israel as a group. Most had come up through the Young Judaea ranks attending clubs, conventions and camps sponsored by Hadassah.
This Year Course, the 4th in the successful history of the program, had included four months studying in Jerusalem, four months working on kibbutzim, a month on a moshav, a month of internship relating to students’ fields of study and touring all parts of the 11-year-old State of Israel. Now, thanks to the perseverance of Mindy Dreznik Joseph, 13 group members and their original leaders relived the joy of traveling to Israel together.
It was even better the second time around. On the first trip (before cable cars) they had to push some reluctant hikers up the Masada snake path. Now even the cane- bearing contingent was able to explore some inaccessable sites.
They revisited their Jerusalem Youth Hostel and saw the extensive changes to the landscape, both above and below ground. They saw excavations in Akko and Jerusalem, walked through a reconstructed Roman aqueduct, noted the rising new home of YJ in Jerusalem and visited with old friends.
The reunion trip reconfirmed the huge impact a year of living and learning together can have. Today the group numbers five who made aliya. One became Israel’s first periodontist and another an award-winning teacher in the Negev. Two became tour guides and another a resident in the West Bank village of Neve Daniel.
Among the American members are a pediatrician, lawyers, a bioethicist, business people, teachers, a rabbi, a cantor and a former Hadassah chapter copresident.
All have been active in their Jewish communities over the last 46 years. They are a microcosm of other groups that have been touched by Hadassah—whether on Year Course, Machon in Israel or Tel Yehudah and Camp Judaea campers and staff.
You too can relive old memories and create new ones. All you need are a dynamic detective like Mindy Joseph (LadyReeler@ aol.com), who can harness the Internet, and a terrific tour guide like David Bensky (Guyben@shani.net), who can design an old-new itinerary of meaningful activities.
Start at www.tyocn.com and prepare for the time of your life. You really can go home again.