Inside Hadassah: On Innovative Ideas and Images
In this season, as we celebrate Passover, we reaffirm the values we cherish as a free people. a At Hadassah, we highlight these values at a women’s Seder and through Young Judaea’s help to those in need—from New Orleans to Israel during its most recent war. Our traditions, mitzvot and values continue to inspire us, as Hadassah continues to provide the opportunities for us to fulfill our mission. Happy Passover!
—Ruth G. Cole
Four Cups for Four Causes
The New York Region of Hadassah is hosting its second annual Women’s Seder to Benefit Youth on March 31, in preparation for Passover.
Last year’s inaugural event was a smashing success. Over 185 women of all ages participated, raising nearly $95,000 for Hadassah youth projects: Young Judaea, Youth Aliyah/Children at Risk, Hadassah College Jerusalem and pediatric research and services at Hadassah hospitals.
“Our Haggada, which [was] created for the [event], is a beautiful interpretation for women—for Hadassah women, especially,” said Ruth Gursky, the Seder chair. “From the feedback we received last year, our guests thoroughly enjoyed the congeniality, warmth and spirit of the evening.”
The event, including dinner, will be held at New York’s Park Avenue Synagogue at 6 P.M. Music will be led by the synagogue’s own cantor, Nancy Abramson.
To reserve a spot, contact the New York Region of Hadassah at 212-303-7433 or email@example.com.
On the Same Screen
No time to read, but think you would enjoy the camaraderie shared by a book club? On the Same Screen: A Hadassah Film Club is the answer!
Watch movies with Jewish themes—Blessed Is the Match, Keeping up With the Steins and La Petite Jerusalem are just a few examples—then get together with your chapter or friends to discuss them.
On the Same Screen’s guide, including film synopses, discussion questions and hints for facilitators, is available through Hadassah’s Jewish Education Department; call 800-391-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kudos to Dr. Or!
Dr. Reuven Or, head of the Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation at Hadassah Medical Center, was one of the recipients of the 2008 Menachem Begin Prize, presented by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in December.
The prize, awarded for contributions and work on behalf of Israel, recognized Dr. Or’s extensive medical research work as well as his initiative in establishing two essential and lifesaving national projects in Israel: the unrelated volunteer bone marrow registry and the public umbilical cord blood bank.
Teens Pitching in
Nearly 200 Young Judaeans responded to a call for help during the war in Gaza in January.
Sar-El, an organization that coordinates volunteer support for the Israel Defense Forces, asked the directors of Year Course for 75 student volunteers during the first days of Operation Cast Lead. The response was overwhelming: 120 teenagers from Year Course mobilized quickly to spend a week on Army bases around the country; another group volunteered the following week.
The students assisted with various essential tasks on the bases—from packing food for soldiers to sorting uniforms to working in storage facilities—enabling soldiers to focus on more critical jobs.
“This is the best we can do to help,” said Year Course volunteer Jaclyn Glaser. “It’s a great feeling putting on a uniform and knowing that we’re making a difference. Everyone is so thankful that we are here.”
Even the Year Course participants whose class schedule did not allow them to take off time to volunteer with Sar-El pitched in to do their part. In Jerusalem, students kept busy entertaining children who were evacuated from the south, including some who stayed with their families together with the Year Coursers at the Judaean Youth Hostel. Students also raised money to send packages to soldiers stationed on the frontlines and participated in local blood drives.
From NASA to Hadassah
Hadassah Medical Center is the first in Israel to use robots to conduct surgeries. The robotic system is an upgrade from the original, developed by NASA scientists for operating on astronauts in space.
“The main advantage of the surgical robot is that it enables the combination of the usual [open abdomen] approach and the minimally invasive laparoscopic approach,” explains Dr. Yoav Mintz, a senior surgeon at Hadassah Hospital.
The robotic system allows surgeons to operate free of the limitations of their tools, vision and reach. The surgeon sits at a control station and, using a 3-D video console for guidance, conducts the surgery on the patient using a four-armed robot suspended above the operating table.
A Life in Poetry
Award-winning poet Ellen Pickus is the president of the Baldwin Daliya chapter of Hadassah on Long Island, New York. Her poetry collection, Unbroken Promises (Boxer Books), explores a wide range of themes, from childhood summers in the Catskills to the joys and challenges of raising a special-needs child.
To purchase a copy of the collection, send a check for $20 (payable to Hadassah, earmarked for Alzheimer’s research) to Boxer Books, P.O.B. 217, Baldwin, New York 11510.
Heroes: Up Close and Personal
You don’t have to travel to Israel to hear the inspirational stories of Hadassah Medical Organization’s physicians and the patients whose lives they have changed. Thanks to HMO Video Shows, you can now bring these heroes directly to your Hadassah events and meetings.
Videos are available featuring the following extraordinary people:
- Dr. Avi Rivkind, head of the Department of General Surgery and the Shock Trauma Unit, with terror attack survivor Inna Zusman.
- Dr. Neri Laufer, chair of Hadassah’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with patient Ziv Mor.
- Dr. Zvi Israel, head of Hadassah’s Department of Neurosurgery, on innovative procedures that have helped patients with dystonia, such as Talia Zusman (no relation to Inna).
- Dr. Yoav Mintz, a senior Hadassah surgeon, on new minimally invasive surgery techniques. The three- to six-minute clips are available through Hadassah’s video department. Call 212-303-8103 or email@example.com to get your copies today.
A Revitalizing Alternative
Fifty-six high school students from around the country chose to spend their winter break this school year doing something different. a From December 23 to 30, Young Judaea’s Alternative Winter Break participants traveled from around the country to New Orleans to volunteer their time and energy in a variety of ways. Both seasoned Judaeans and new faces rolled up their sleeves to do their part to
help out a community in need.
The students dedicated their efforts to projects focused on urban revitalization, environmental awareness and animal rescue, in a city still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which decimated the region in 2005. Since then, the homeless population of New Orleans has reached a level unprecedented in any American city: 1 in 25 residents.
“I chose to spend my week in New Orleans simply because it sounded fun,” said Jenna Isaacs, a 9th-grader from California, “and also because I wanted to be part of the help and construction going on.”
Participants worked directly with three local organizations: Green Light New Orleans, which is helping low- and middle-income families switch from incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs—saving homeowners money while helping the environment; Animal Rescue New Orleans, which cares for stray animals, many of which were abandoned after Katrina; and All Souls for Christ Church, which is being built by community members and clergy in a space that was once a drugstore.
In addition to working at the three organizations, the teens also helped with smaller projects, such as fixing up homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. “I was part of a small group of volunteers to go to a [private] residence to pull up the floor,” explained Laura Maschler, a 12th-grader from New York who is on YJ’s national board. “The owners came in and they were very touched by what we were doing there.”
During their eight-day trip, participants earned at least 30 community service hours toward their high school requirements.
Maschler’s experience in New Orleans “reinforced my belief that teenagers can make a difference,” she added. “We saw that in just one week.” H
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