By: Avital Pushett

Research Question:

How was Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem established, who established it, and what is its impact on Israeli society?
- How was Hadassah hospital established, when and where?
- Who established Hadassah Hospital?
- What is Hadassah’s impact on Israeli society?


Rationale

I chose to write my project about Hadassah Hospitals because I think they have had a huge impact on Israel and it is extremely important to understand how and why. To do so, you must also study the history of the hospitals and of the person who established them.

Body

Henrietta Szold (1860-1945)

Henrietta Szold (a Jewish feminist), was born in Baltimore, in the United States to a reform rabbi in the midst of the nineteen hundreds. The greatest contribution Szold gave to Jewish life was creating the largest Zionist women’s organization in Jewish American history, Hadassah Women.
Szold had very strong ideas about women and feminism; she was one of eight daughters and had no brothers. Therefore, when her mother died in 1916, Henrietta insisted on saying Kaddish in her memory. She wrote to a close friend of hers, “I believe that the elimination of women from such duties was never intended by our law”.
In 1907, at the age of 47, Szold was invited to join the Hadassah Study
Circle, which later, in 1914 was to become Hadassah Women. In 1909,
Henrietta visited Israel (then called Palestine) and saw how badly the Jews
were lacking in basic medical care. She decided to take action and do
something about it. Therefore, in 1917 she was put in charge of organizing
the American Zionist Medical Unit in Israel, which later became Hadassah
Hospitals. In 1920 Szold moved to Israel, and lived in Jerusalem where she
continued to work with Hadassah for the rest of her life. Henrietta Szold
was given the honour of being the first president of Hadassah Women.
Since she was a Zionist, Henrietta Szold was not only interested in the health of the Israeli’s, during the 1930’s she established and ran a new Youth Aliyah agency (Aliyat Hanoar), through which she brought thousands of Jewish children to Israel. By doing this, she rescued them from the Second World War and Hitler’s concentration camps. Youth Aliyah did not only save these children from the war, it also helped them settle in Israel by educating them and helping them feel at home. This was one of Szold’s most memorable projects.
Although she loved children and helped and worked with them, Henrietta never married and never had children of her own. At one point when she was in her forties, she fell in love with Louis Ginzberg (a great Talmud scholar) but the relationship didn’t last. Many years later, in her fifties, she wrote to a friend: “I would exchange anything for one child of my own”. Henrietta died of pneumonia at the age of 85, at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, the hospital she worked so hard to establish.
To this day Henrietta Szold is remembered as a heroic and passionately committed Jew, who saved thousands of lives and continues saving lives through the hospitals that she funded and established over 65 years ago.

Hadassah Hospital

The Hadassah Women’s organization was established in 1912 in New York, in the United States of America, by Henrietta Szold. The goals set by the organization were to train Israeli nurses, to strengthen Zionism in America and to help with medical needs in Israel.
In 1913, Hadassah sent two American nurses to Israel, and in 1918, after the First World War, Hadassah set up hospitals and health clinics all over Israel (Including Tel Aviv in 1921, and Haifa in 1922). Later, they established a large hospital in Jerusalem called the Hadassah Hospital.
Hadassah Har Hatzofim (Mount Scopus) in Jerusalem was established in 1939. On April 13th 1948, during the War of Independence, a group of Arabs staged a terrorist attack on a convoy of 77 doctors and nurses killing all of them on their way to Hadassah Har Hatzofim Hospital. The attack caused the closing down of Hadassah Har Hatzofim and the opening of a different Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem called, Hadassah Ein Karem which was established in 1961. Hadassah Har Hatzofim reopened following the Six Day War of 1967.
Although Hadassah is a Zionist organization, it particularly involves itself in meeting the health needs of both Jews and Arabs in Israel. It does this by insisting that the most up-to-date medical treatment be extended to the Arabs of Israel as well as to the Jews.
Today, the foremost hospitals in Israel and the entire Middle East are the Hadassah Hospitals in Jerusalem. There are more than 1,000 beds between the hospitals, and there are 160 Hadassah medical clinics and departments throughout the country.


Hadassah Hospital's Impact on Israeli Society

Hadassah has had a huge impact on Israel when it comes to Jewish/Arab relations and medicine. It has enhanced the image of Israel through the work of the Hadassah Medical Organization and serves as a bridge between nations through medicine.
Hadassah Medical Organization places great emphasis on clinical and scientific research with the aim of advancing and improving medical care. Half of all medical research in Israel is conducted in the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem. Many medical breakthroughs have been made in Hadassah, which of course enhances the image of Israel in the rest of the world.
Hadassah also has all the medical equipment Israel needs and therefore many people find these hospitals helpful and efficient. There are many Hadassah trained doctors and researchers in every medical field that exists. Thanks to this, Hadassah Hospitals and technology are among the leaders in the world and help show Israel to the rest of the world in a very positive light, very different than the one usually presented in the media.
It makes no difference to the workers in Hadassah Hospitals whether you are Jewish, Muslim or Christian. The medical treatment and care is always the same for all the different groups of people, and even the doctors in the hospitals are from different backgrounds. This shows what a huge impact Hadassah has on fighting anti-Semitism and on promoting Jewish/Arab relations in Israel.


Creative Piece


The Children’s Wards in Hadassah hospitals

Hadassah hospitals think very highly of making sick and hospitalized children as happy as they possibly can. The children’s ward includes many sub wards that are especially for children. There is always entertainment for hospitalized children, and Hadassah has just opened a new sports centre for children with physical disabilities.
The children’s ward in Hadassah includes many sub wards such as a premature baby ward, a children’s surgery clinic, a children’s psychology ward, and many more… There is also a very big staff assigned especially to the children’s ward; there are 25 doctors, 43 nurses, 2 children dietitians, and a social worker. All these people are there to make sure the children are as comfortable and as happy as there disease allows them to be. They are also there to help and give support to the families of the hospitalized children.
There is always some form of childrens entertainment going on in the Hadassah hospitals. There are many medical clowns whose job it is to make the sick and hospitalized children laugh and be a little happier. There is also a pedagogical ward in the hospitals whose staff is always there to help and entertain the children. The pedagogical ward organizes many activities for these children such as music, art and drama therapy. They organize cooking and baking classes for them and there is always access to computers and Internet.
Hadassah has just opened a new sports centre for children with physical disabilities. The main objective of this sports centre is to get children to work out while enjoying themselves, and in this way, it helps them not to develop any overweight problems that would be hard to deal with. This centre also encourages children to enjoy sports and turn it into a routine in their daily lives when they are older.
In all, I think the children’s department in Hadassah is amazing. The doctors and nurses really care about the children and do everything in their power to make the hospitalized children happy. May every hospital in the world learn from this amazing hospital.


Links

<www.hadassah.org.il/English>.
<www.hadassah.org>.

Conclusion

I learnt a lot by doing this project. I now understand why the Hadassah Hospitals were established and the amazing impact they have had on the Israeli society. I also learnt how important Zionism is. It brought about the most incredible things, including the establishment of the Hadassah Hospitals.
The impact that Hadassah has had on the Israeli society is huge. It creates a kind of bridge between the Arab and Jewish world. The patients are all treated in a completely equal way and this causes there to be less racism in and around the Hospitals. I think this definitely proves that Hadassah has achieved an amazing goal, and we should all learn from the incredible way Hadassah treats their patients, Arabs, Jews, Christians, adults and children.

Bibliography

Henrietta Szold:
- Jewish Virtual Library 06/12/06
<www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Szold.html>.
- The Jewish Agency for Israel 06/12/06
<www.jafi.org.il/education/100/PEOPLE/BIOS/soldz.html>.
- Zionism and Israel- Biographies 06/12/06
<www.zionism-israel.com/bio/biography_Henrietta_Szold.htm>.
- Fuchs Mizrachi school 06/12/06
<www.fbsm.org/henrietta_szold.htm>.

Hadassah Hospital:
- English Wikipedia 07/12/06
<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadassah>.
- Hebrew Wikipedia 07/12/06
<he.wikipedia.org/wiki>/
- Jewish Virtual Library 06/12/06
<www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Szold.html>.
- Fuchs Mizrachi school 06/12/06
<www.fbsm.org/henrietta_szold.htm>.
- Hadassah Hospital 16/01/07
<www.hadassah.org.il/English>.

Impact on Israeli society:
- Jewish Virtual Library 06/12/06
<www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Szold.html>.
- Zionism and Israel- Biographies 06/12/06
<www.zionism-israel.com/bio/biography_Henrietta_Szold.htm>.
- Hebrew Wikipedia 07/12/06
<he.wikipedia.org/wiki>.
- English Wikipedia 07/12/06
<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadassah>.
- Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America 07/12/06
<http://www.hadassah.org/health/content/medical_org.html>.