Building a Zionist Vocabulary
Zionism—Learning to Pay It Forward
Now more than ever, supporters of Israel need every available tool to effectively defend the Jewish state. At Hadassah, we have been training 20 volunteer leaders around the country to use the Shalom Hartman Institute’s iEngage curriculum “Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” This fall, these leaders will begin conducting classes in their local communities to enhance their fellow Zionists’ vocabulary on Israel. This initiative is an expansion of the Defining Zionism program, Hadassah’s speaker series featuring notable guests such as award-winning author Daniel Gordis.
Still in the training phase, participants are already enthusiastic about the rewards of learning to publicly stand up for Israel.
“At a moment when our nation is so polarized, and the Jewish community has so many internal divisions, Hadassah’s collaboration with the Hartman Institute could not be more timely,” said Sue Polansky of Longmeadow, Mass. “The iEngage curriculum is giving me the vocabulary to build bridges with those outside my usual affinity groups.”
Other participants, like Karen Feit of Bellport, N.Y., welcome the opportunity to take part in a program that merges the activism of Hadassah with the esteemed Jewish learning of the Hartman Institute. “As a Zionist, a Jewish educator and a lifelong student, I am stimulated by quality Jewish learning under the joint rubric of Hadassah and Hartman,” noted Feit. “On my first trip to Israel, a Young Leaders Mission in 1980, I learned from the great Rabbi David Hartman. His memory and his great intellect are reflected in the voice of his son, Rabbi Donniel Hartman, and the wonderful lecturers and contributors to the iEngage project.”
To learn more about Hadassah’s Zionist programs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make Every Bite of Matzah Ball Count
If we’re being honest, jewish holidays are as much a celebration of food as an observance of religious tradition—particularly when that holiday is Passover. Every Bite Counts, Hadassah’s brand-new nutrition program, is joining forces with popular Jewish food blogger Shannon Sarna, editor of The Nosher online, to re-create Jewish and Israeli classics like shakshuka and matzah ball soup with healthful eating in mind. Visit Every Bite Counts for Sarna’s Passover Tri-Colored Matzah Ball Soup recipe and to learn about events in your area.
VIP Guests and Mom and Dad’s Office
Hadassah hospital’s operating room nurses are dedicated professionals who often work very long hours. That devotion sometimes puts family plans on hold while parents scrub in for work. Judith Essuied, chief operating room nurse at Hadassah–Hebrew University Medical Center at Ein Kerem, and her nursing colleagues decided to give their children an insider’s tour of the facilities since, she said, “we put in long hours and have many emergencies that impinge on family plans.”
The nurses organized a children’s visiting day to the underground operating rooms of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower during the week of Hanukkah. Forty-six children of staff members suited up and toured the new high-tech surgical suites.
“It was such a success,” said Essuied, “that we hope to make it a Hanukkah tradition.”
Hadassah surgeons are now planning a children’s tour as well.
One Volunteer’s Moving Testimony
Two of my greatest passions—a deep connection to Hadassah and my professional life as a nurse—recently resulted in the opportunity of a lifetime: taking part in the Hadassah Medical Organization’s eight-week Foreign Volunteer Program. In Israel, I worked in the Sharett Institute of Oncology’s Hematology Daycare Unit, which treats approximately 1,000 patients 18 and older for varying diagnoses of leukemia, lymphoma and anemia.
As a registered nurse in the state of South Carolina, my professional duty in Israel was to aid the nurses, doctors and patients. There were beds and lounge chairs to be cleaned and remade for the next patients, linen hampers to be emptied, cabinets to be restocked, chemotherapy and blood products to be brought to the nurses’ prep room, lunches to be brought to patients.
Though my poor Hebrew skills restricted my communication with staff and patients, I never stopped trying. Patients were often amused at my attempts at Hebrew, smiling and sometimes outright laughing, helping us forge bonds.
I have never seen so many chemotherapy drugs and blood products move from staff to such a culturally diverse group of patients as quickly, professionally and compassionately as I witnessed at Hadassah. The nurses, doctors and other staff members were kind and caring to their patients and family members, each other and the volunteers. They were never impatient with those entrusted to their care and, in turn, the individuals receiving care were as patient as possible with the staff. Words alone cannot express the excellent care Gal Sapir, the head nurse of the unit, and her “sisters” give their patients (the Hebrew word for nurse also means sister). These attributes improve patient outcomes and increase staff morale in an extremely demanding, busy medical environment.
I urge any of my fellow American nurses wishing to volunteer to contact Rosie Ben David, volunteer coordinator at HMO (email@example.com), for more information.
—Julia T. Gordon, MPH, BSN, RN
Day in the District
Imagine Hadassah groups meeting with members of Congress in offices all across the country, as the members above did with their legislator, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).Through Hadassah’s Day in the District program, you can advocate for Israel’s security and women’s health equity directly to decision makers and policy leaders without ever leaving town. Federal representatives will be home from Washington from May 5 to 15, and meeting with every legislator is critical. Let your chapter leaders know if you’re interested or register online to help bring Day in the District to your community.