Inside Hadassah: From the Middle East to the Far East
This month we highlight the importance of Hadassah Solidarity Missions to Israel. As a participant in last August’s mission along with my husband, Len, and 60 others from around the country, we heard words of gratitude from so many Israelis for being with them during those difficult times. In truth, their determination and resilience gave us strength as well. We felt pride in our Hadassah professionals who selflessly traveled to the north to help residents living in shelters. This is indeed the time to connect to Hadassah and Israel, to stand together in solidarity and strength. B’Shalom.
Know Someone in China?
A delegation from Young Hadassah International will travel to Shanghai and Beijing next month, December 4 to 10, to launch a new chapter in China. The group will meet with members of the growing Jewish communities there as well as with dignitaries, corporate representatives, government officials and Hadassah supporters.
Young Hadassah International is an energetic group of men and women from diverse backgrounds, ages 18-35, determined to promote universal health care without discrimination and raise funds for the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. Established in 1988, there are currently growing and active chapters in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Israel and the United States.
If you know someone in China who might like to meet these Hadassah ambassadors, please firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-303-8174. Join in this exciting new effort to spread Hadassah’s values throughout the world.
Lend Us Your Ears
Who would have thought that someone could benefit from the hearing aid sitting in the bottom of your drawer?
In fact, in the past 23 years, over 9,000 needy elderly and young people in Israel have received reconditioned hearing aids at no cost, collected by Phyllis and Albert Newman of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and fitted for them by Hadassah Hospital’s Speech and Hearing Clinic in Ein Kerem.
The need for devices is greater than ever, since people suffered hearing damage as a result of the rocket attacks in Israel this past summer.
Please send your hearing aids to the Greater Detroit chapter of Hadassah, 5030 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48323.
A Quilt for Hadassah
Noted artist and author Louise Silk (www.silkquilt.com) recently created this colorful quilt (left) as a gift for the Hadassah Greater Pittsburgh chapter. The artwork was used on the cover of the chapter’s membership directory. Silk’s new book, The Quilting Path: A Guide to Spiritual Discovery Through Fabric, Thread and Kabbalah (SkyLight Paths), is out this month.
Nursing Across Cultures
Though Jews are sometimes regarded as a long-suffering people, a recent study showed that the ultra-Orthodox tend to underreport their physical pain. Knowing this—along with other cultural norms and ritual beliefs of patients—can be key for health care providers, according to Rachel Spector, R.N.
Earlier this year, Spector received a grant from the Lady Davis Fellowship Trust allowing her to travel from Boston to investigate cultural issues associated with health, illness and healing in Israel for the faculty of the Henrietta Szold–Hadassah Hebrew University School of Nursing in Jerusalem.
Spector collaborated with Anita Noble at the nursing school in developing a curriculum that delves into issues of cultural diversity among the many different Jewish and other religious and ethnic populations served by Hadassah Hospital. “This information should definitely be part of the awareness of nurses,” Spector said, because it can affect patients’ attitudes and compliance.
The Lady Davis Fellowship is given annually to approximately 15 fellows to participate in research in Israel. Almost all Spector’s colleagues were scientists and researchers; she was the only fellow working on the “human side of health care,” as she put it.
Spector is a retired faculty member from the Boston College School of Nursing, where she developed and taught cultural content as it relates to health and illness for over 30 years.
The Ribbon Lady
Rita Goldfarb says her life has come full circle. When she was 12 years old, her mother passed away and, in her memory, Goldfarb and her friends spent that summer making and selling potholders and donating the money to the American Cancer Society.
Now, 55 years later, Goldfarb sells more than one and a half million ribbons every year on her Web site—www.theribbonlady.com—to raise awareness of various types of cancer and other serious concerns such as domestic abuse, AIDS and organ donation; a portion of the money goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
A Hadassah member living in Dallas, “the Ribbon Lady” is herself a breast cancer survivor.
“I am very lucky to be older and somewhat handicapped and still be able to make a difference in my little corner of the world,” Goldfarb said. “As long as I can make a difference in one person’s life, then I have succeeded.”
Hadassah Magazine won five American Graphic Design Awards, sponsored by Graphic Design USA Magazine. These awards were presented for overall publication design for the October 2005 issue and cover design for the May, November and December 2005 issues, as well as the April 2006 issue.
Hadassah on a Mission
When Hezbollah forces in Lebanon attacked Israel last summer, Jewish organizations in the United States jumped into action, collecting much-needed funds to help with the Israeli war effort. Hadassah went a step beyond, however, showing its solidarity by sending a mission to Israel—specifically to the areas under bombardment.
Now with a cease-fire in place, Hadassah recognizes how important it is to continue to be there for Israel, literally, “to stand by Israel, in Israel,” according to mission chair Annette Meskin who co-led the August trip with Marlene Post. Another mission, dubbed “Hadassah Is Here,” traveled to Israel from October 24 to 30 to show that there is still much to be done, and Israel needs our support now as well.
The October mission participants visited Israeli towns in the north to witness the damage done by Hezbollah rockets. The itinerary included meetings with the mayors of several northern cities, as well as with people affected by the summer’s bombardment.
While hadassah has sent countless missions to Israel over the years, August’s solidarity mission was unlike any other. Organized in just two weeks by cochairs Meskin and Miki Schulman, the 62 participants did not hesitate to change their plans at the last minute to go to Israel in spite of—or rather because of—the rocket attacks.
“You weigh the feeling of not feeling safe against the feeling of not standing by Israel at this critical time,” said Beverly Hawk, a college professor from Birmingham, Alabama. “Some things are worth taking a risk for.”
“[I went] because I’m a Zionist and I wanted to go to show my support for Israel and to show the Israelis that they are not alone,” said Charles Pulman from Dallas. Claire Leibowitz left her two children at home with her husband in Boise, Idaho, to go on the mission. “I felt very strongly, as soon as the hostilities began, that the attacks were directed at us, not just the Israelis,” she explained. “They just bear the brunt of it because of proximity. I felt that I needed to be there.”
Liz Alverson, a newspaper reporter from the Atlanta area, had never been to Israel before. “I had a feeling in my gut that said I needed to be there,” she said. “It was a pretty intense experience. Heart- and soul-shaping.” Appen Newspapers, where she works, allowed her the time to travel and published a series of her articles about the trip. For some participants, adjusting their schedules on such short notice was more difficult. “I made the decision to go in literally one minute,” said Cindy Stern of Highland Park, Illinois. As a freelance creative director, she had to turn down projects to go. At least one couple cancelled a much-anticipated vacation to Europe to go on the trip. The participants were enthusiastic about their experiences. “It was the best, most intense experience I’ve ever had there,” Stern said. “I felt like I had been casually dating Israel before, and after the trip I felt like I was married to it, like I knew it that much better and more personally.”
“We visited wounded soldiers at Rambam [Hospital in Haifa], and I realized they were not much older than my boys,” recalled Alverson, whose sons are 18 and 19.
Later, when she visited the Western Wall for the first time, her reaction was powerful: “As a mom, I felt a thousand years of moms before me standing at the Wall praying for their children.”
“Being in Haifa…under attack made me better understand what Israelis go through and the fragility of the country,” Pulman said. After the mission, he stayed on to visit friends in Haifa and Nahariya despite continued rocket attacks there. “I felt like I was able to do my little part,” he added, “because we are living in an uncertain time and there’s a growing menace toward Israel and the Jewish people.”