Season of Renewal
The Jewish New Year season offers a microcosm of these key elements of human existence. It is a joyous season in which we typically spend precious time with family and close friends, reflect on our place in the world and rededicate ourselves to our values. By the design of the Jewish calendar, this is a time of renewal.
This year, Hadassah’s season of renewal began early. In May, the Hadassah Medical Organization’s financial crisis came to an end when an Israeli court approved the agreement negotiated between HMO, the Israeli government and the unions representing staff at our medical center. Under the agreement, Hadassah will continue funding the medical center and the government will inject two billion shekels in HMO over the next seven years. Both Hadassah and the government will appoint members to the HMO board, but Hadassah will maintain a practical majority—and ownership.
The recovery plan represents a new partnership between Hadassah and the government, one that not only validates our unique role—past and future—in building Israel, but the importance of ongoing diaspora participation in the Zionist enterprise.
Shortly after the agreement was ratified, Avigdor Kaplan stepped down as director general of HMO. I want to thank him for the wisdom, vision and perseverance he brought to the campaign to secure the future of Hadassah’s medical work. I also want to thank Dr. Tamar Yablonski Peretz, who is now interim director general. Dr. Peretz, who served for 20 years as director of our renowned Sharett Institute for Oncology, is the first woman to head HMO.
And I want to express my deep appreciation to the staff of the Hadassah Medical Center, which continued providing excellent treatment throughout the months of financial turmoil. The people of Israel expect the best from our hospitals and we have always met their expectations.
Indeed, even while discussions about a restructuring plan were going on, HMO continued its peerless record of extraordinary service. Among many other distinctions during this period, a new Hadassah protocol for ambulance paramedics was shown to dramatically reduce the fatality rate from heart attacks; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Phase II clinical trials of stem cell technology developed at HMO for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; the exclusive International Orthopedic Society invited HMO to become its first member in the Middle East; we began treating patients airlifted from the fighting in Ukraine; and the Hadassah Experimental School, which provides education for hospitalized children, won Israel’s National Education Award.
Hadassah’s 97th National Convention, held in July in Las Vegas, proved to be both a celebration of our resilience and the dawn of a new phase in our history. More than 750 women came to network, learn and plan for the future. A full report on the convention appears here.
We have much work ahead of us. The HMO agreement gives us a more solid financial foundation, but we still have to implement the restructuring of the medical center’s finances. At the same time, we are re-energizing our American agenda, with an emphasis on advocacy, leadership development and attracting a new generation of Jewish women to our activities and our values.
For the past 102 years, there has never been a time in which Hadassah wasn’t overcoming obstacles and building a better world for the Jewish people, Israel and humankind. We’ve been through hard times and disappointments but also found much joy. We’ve instilled pride in our families and made many new friends. We’ve been acclaimed for our substantive work and made our name synonymous with excellence. In this season of renewal, we can count our blessings and look forward to our labors.
My best wishes for a happy and productive New Year.