Inside Hadassah: Our Commitment to Learning
On Passover, we retell the story of the freedom of our people as we read the Haggada at our Seders. This month, we highlight three new books that retell the story of Hadassah and its involvement in women’s health issues. These new additions remind me of an old Jewish legend: “Whenever the shelves in the Library of Heaven were entirely full and a new worthy book appeared, all the books in the collection pressed themselves together and made room.” So please make room for these books and enrich your Zionist and personal knowledge. Hag Pesah Sameah!
Student of Environmental Health Sciences Wins Scholarship
Mia Moonshine, 25, a junior in the department of environmental health sciences at Hadassah College Jerusalem, was selected to be a Stein Family Fellow for this semester at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
The fellowship is a prestigious program that enables students and faculty from Israeli institutions of higher education to collaborate with Drexel. Last year, the fellowship was awarded to a professor from the Technion in Haifa. An exceptional opportunity for Moonshine (above), this program is enabling her to study the environment and related policy issues in the environmental science department of Drexel. She hopes to use the knowledge she gains to improve conditions in Israel.
“Since I was young,” says the Jerusalem native, “I have taken great interest in world health and have committed myself to making sure that we all have a clean, productive and pleasant place to live.”
Moonshine has been involved in community clean-up projects since high school and is a member of Green Course, an association of students interested in and committed to the environment. She also tutors fellow students in math, chemistry and physics.
“Through these activities, as well as the academic opportunities at HCJ, I have found a niche for myself in environmental health,” Moonshine says. “I study hard and strive for excellence because my studies are important; what I learn today I hope to be able to implement toward improving environmental conditions tomorrow.”
HCJ is the only institution of higher education in Israel that offers a bachelor’s degree in environmental health studies. This unique curriculum explores the impact of environmental factors on individuals, populations and ecosystems.
Bank on It
Nearly 100,000 units of blood are transfused at Hadassah Hospital each year. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the Hadassah Blood Bank ensures a safe, rapidly available blood supply for hospitalized patients and those in day and ambulatory care.
An aging population and ongoing advances in medical treatments have created a growing demand for the bank’s services. Hadassah is the only hospital in Israel with a large frozen store of red blood, with some 250 units always on hand.
The Hadassah Blood Bank was founded in 1944 and is now headed by Dr. Nogah Manny (above, left), who is also the chair of an Israel Health Ministry committee on transfusion needs and the country’s National Committee of Blood Banks. The Blood Bank’s Donor Unit is an independent facility that collects up to 8,000 units of whole blood each year. It processes them into blood components and often further treats the components by filtering, washing or irradiating them. It cross matches over 30,000 units annually. It is the first laboratory in Israel to be certified by the International Institute of Medical Laboratories.
Literacy Leaps: Helping Kids Get Ahead
Hadassah’s innovative Read*Write*Now! Partners Tutoring Program is now available on DVD thanks to a grant from Verizon, making it conveniently accessible to a wider audience.
As a partner in the nationwide America Reads Challenge, Hadassah jointly developed the Read*Write*Now! Partners Tutoring Program with the United States Department of Education nearly 10 years ago. The tutoring manual provides guidelines, strategies and instructions for helping children in grades one through six learn to read.
“I witness, and am proud of, the progress underachieving students make every school year and know that I play a role in improving their literacy successes,” says Barbara Moretsky, chair of the Read*Write* Now! program for the Greater Detroit chapter. “We enjoy getting to know the students and seeing the smiles on their faces when they can answer correctly and are improving their reading and language abilities.”
According to Moretsky, a number of volunteers had such a positive experience tutoring children that they decided to return to school to become certified as full-time teachers.
Tutors spend at least one hour a week working with children in their communities, either at local schools or public libraries.
To obtain a copy of the new DVD—also available on videotape—or for information about creating a tutoring program in your neighborhood, call 212-303-8042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
So That We Will Always Remember
Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated this year on April 25, is a time to remember those who perished in the Shoah. Yad Vashem asked Hadassah to help collect names to enter into its electronic database of victims; it was overwhelming to consider just how many names there are to include and devastating to think of how many people can never be included because there is no one left to remember them.
Every day, kaddish is recited at the abbell synagogue at hadassah hospital at Ein Kerem through the Perpetual Yahrzeit in Israel program. Now, the rabbi there has added a special passage to honor those victims of the Shoah for whom there is no one to say Kaddish. For information about the new Shoah Remembrance Fund, call 877-212-3321 or e-mail email@example.com. Donations to this fund help the Hadassah Medical Organization restore health to the living, while memorializing those who have passed on.
The Organization of the Book
Three important new works from prestigious publishing houses focus on Hadassah’s dramatic history and its long-standing advocacy for health and wellness.
Authors Dr. Robin Berman, Arthur Kurzweil and Dale Mintz, Hadassah’s national director of women’s health and advocacy, collaborated to produce The Hadassah Jewish Family Book of Health and Wellness (Jossey-Bass), a compendium of informative essays, rabbinic and biblical insights and scientific information on subjects as varied as physical and mental health, infertility, Jewish genetic diseases and stem cell research. Hadassah’s innovative contributions to healing permeate the text of this valuable and highly readable resource volume.
Hadassah regularly issues policy statements on medical issues, reflecting the concerns of its membership. The authors include the full text of statements on topics such as genetic testing and organ and tissue donation, clearly endorsing both. Also reproduced are Hadassah Health Memos designed to highlight important medical and nutritional advances.
The authors also cover sensitive issues such as infertility, AIDS, abortion, eating disorders and hospice care. Inevitably, Hadassah’s impact on so many health and wellness issues emerges, so that it is unsurprising to learn that hospices in Japan modeled their programs on Hadassah’s Ina and Jack Kay Hospice on Mount Scopus.
Veering from the practicality of health to the drama of history, American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise is a collection of essays and reminiscences edited by Shulamit Reinharz, founding director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and Mark A. Raider, chair of the Judaic studies department at the State University of New York at Albany. A large portion of the scholarly writings and memoirs, published by the HBI, are directly related to Hadassah’s contributions and profile the organization’s early leaders whose vision molded the social development of the Yishuv and ultimately that of the State of Israel.
Included are Alon Gal’s “The Zionist Vision of Henrietta Szold” and an essay by Mira Katzburg-Yungman entitled “Women and Zionist Activity in Eretz Israel: The Case of Hadassah.” Hadassah personalities are profiled in Sara Kadosh’s “Double Life of Rose Viteles” and Reinharz’s paper on Irma “Rama” Lindheim, the third national president of Hadassah.
Memorable, too, are Perri Rosenfeld’s memoir of her aunt, Sara Bodek Paltiel, and Ruth Halprin Kaslove’s touching personal essay about her mother, “Memories of Rose Luria Halprin,” another Hadassah president who, in 1936, traveled to Nazi Germany for Youth Aliyah.
Hadassah and the Zionist Project (Rowman & Littlefield), Erica B. Simmons’s analytic history of Hadassah, is best read in tandem with the Reinharz-Raider collection. Simmons emphasizes the “maternal” dimension of Hadassah’s projects, its early involvement in the health and nurturing of children through its Mother and Infant Welfare Station and its dedication to caring for the sick. She discusses the impact of American progressive ideology on the social and educational programs embraced by Hadassah’s leadership.
These newly published works are important additions to a growing Hadassah bibliography that includes Marlin Levin’s It Takes a Dream: The Story of Hadassah (Gefen) and the popular Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook (Hugh Lauter Levin), a collection of creative recipes from Hadassah members.
It would please Henrietta Szold, that editor par excellence, to know that Hadassah has become “the organization of the book.”