January 1st 2024
Article By: Marion Stone

Hadassah-Israel members are constantly fundraising for the cause, giving their time and energy for the worthy goal of improving the hospital’s facilities and abilities. No questions asked. They give.

group1It is so important for Hadassah-Israel fundraisers to be kept up to date, for it helps them to be knowledgeable to the wider public. From time to time a specialist comes to speak to the group and explains the work and purpose of their department, and the annual Mediscope gives us the opportunity to learn about the current advancements and developments in the research being done by Hadassah’s researchers.

And so it was on January 1st, 2024 when recently appointed David Harris, Public Relations Associate Hadassah Office Israel, spoke about ”Hadassah’s Life-Saving Role in this War”, to around 60 old and new paid-up members, and gave updates about the imminent opening of the new state of art Rehabilitation building at the Mount Scopus site in Jerusalem, and the organization’s response to the current war.

The Chapter’s Programming Chair, Ronda Israel, did a great job organizing a table of delicious goodies and an enjoyable program.

rhonda rivkah zeniaLevonah Chapter’s current President, Zenia Cohen, introduced the event, with thanks to all the organizers. She announced that the fundraising for 2024 will be dedicated to providing equipment for the new Rehabilitation Building opening soon on the Mount Scopus campus.

We will also be supporting a special project for Youth Aliyah, Eshet Chayil; the Joy of Judaism program is geared especially to empower girls, by strengthening their knowledge of Jewish culture and heritage.

Zenia told us the good news that 2 of our members have become national officers of Hadassah-Israel. Rivkah Cooper is now President, and Ellen Shemesh is Senior Vice President. There was an enthusiastic response from the audience for these popular ladies and we all wish them every success.

Ellen Stein then introduced our speaker, David Harris, and gave us details of his background. Beginning his career as a journalist he has undertaken various interesting positions, which qualify him to be an excellent and competent speaker in Public Relations for Hadassah.

ellen steinDavid began by telling us that early on October 7th, 2023, as soon as they heard what was happening, both Jewish and non-Jewish Hadassah hospital staff rushed to the hospital to be ready for whoever would be sent there for treatment. There were not enough trauma beds for the number of seriously injured.

The war has had a huge impact on Hadassah’s personnel. Doctors, nurses, auxiliary workers, and porters, each play an important part in receiving and treating the wounded who arrive, many of them by helicopter.

Not knowing what injuries they could expect, large teams, comprising each individual member with expertise, were waiting to receive the patient from the helicopter and beginning whatever work was necessary, almost immediately upon arrival.

David told us that Israel is the best in the world at giving initial treatment in the field so that by the time the wounded reach the hospital, they have already been prepared. He said that if a soldier is conscious, on arrival, he is given a phone so that he can speak to his or her family.

foodThe wounded are usually taken into the operating room, and after surgery, they are placed in intensive care. He told us that at Hadassah there are i.c.u.s for specialist care, such as neuro, cardiac, pediatrics, etc. Before the war, patients in i.c.u. were older people with fairly routine illnesses, but the war wounded are younger people with very different injuries. In addition, fighting soldiers are exposed to toxicity in the air which affects their respiratory systems.

A senior social worker has been put in charge of patients injured in the war, and she co-ordinates the services that are needed both by the patients and their families.

The hospital had to adjust to the new situation very quicky. The underground floors were transformed into an emergency hospital with multi-bedded rooms, and the nursing school provided another 100 beds. It took only 2 weeks to convert the underground car park into a huge intensive care department.

David showed us photos and video clips of the work being done.

Then he told us about the new Rehabilitation Building that has been built on Mount Scopus. It is taking a great effort to complete it urgently now that there is a pressing need for its facilities. It has 2 swimming pools. Psychologists and Social Workers are overloaded because many of them went to the army. There will be 41 specialist psychologists having to deal with very varied problems.

When the building opens, hopefully in January 2024, there will be four times the number of beds available. There will be family rooms, meeting rooms, and much more. It will become one of the leading rehab centres in the world.

The information given by David, not only gave interesting insight into Hadassah-Israel’s work, but can act as an aid to everyone who needs to inform the wider public. During 2024 we will be raising funds to equip this new facility and this information can help us to explain this important project.

Levonah has several new members this year and they were made known to us.

After the talk, we were asked to write a greeting card of encouragement that could be sent to a soldier. The event then came to an end.