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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Hadassah Hospital’

Wind-Whipped Fires in Jerusalem Threaten Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Two wind-whipped brushfires in forests near Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital Wednesday afternoon forced the evacuation of hundreds of people and  threaten to engulf  the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Center and Museum, located on the nearby hill of Mt. Herzl.

At least six planes and more than two dozen crews of firefighters on the ground are battling the fire, which has engulfed some houses in the Ein Kerem area . The blaze has forced the evacuation of other families as well as workers and visitors at Yad VaShem and the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, where homes already have suffered heavy smoke damage.

Light rail service to Mr. Herzl has been suspended, streets have been closed, and traffic was temporarily suspended in both directions on Highway 1, the major artery linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Police also have closed off part the alternate Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem road, highway 443.

Firefighters in Judea and Samaria rushed to the capital to join the battle to contain the inferno.

Families who were forced to flee their homes in Ein Kerem have been evacuated to the Malcha office and commercial complex in southern Jerusalem. A second fire is burning out of control in the nearby Nataf neighborhood, where families have been evacuated to a moshav.

Several people have been treated for smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but several previous blazes in the area have been set intentionally by Arabs.

fire tazpit

Hadassah Crisis Opens Divisions Between the Hospital and Women’s Organization

Friday, March 21st, 2014

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower stretches 223 feet skyward, welcoming visitors in a bright, expansive lobby strung with banners celebrating both the State of Israel and its premier hospital, the Hadassah Medical Organization.

Opened in late 2012 at a total cost of $363 million, the tower is the largest building project undertaken at Hadassah in 50 years and a symbol of the hospital’s ambitions for the future.

Now that future is in peril as the hospital, saddled with nearly $370 million in debt and an annual deficit exceeding $85 million, struggles to chart a course back to solvency.

Last month, Hadassah hospital declared bankruptcy after two large Israeli banks cut off its credit lines. The Jerusalem District Court gave the hospital a 90-day stay of protection from creditors, after which the medical organization will be restructured or liquidated.

Both the Israeli government and the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America, which built the hospital and partially funds it, have agreed to provide $14 million in emergency funding to help weather the crisis. Amid the financial tumult, the hospital staff went on strike for two weeks. “This is a crisis that had its origins a long time ago,” said Avigdor Kaplan, who became the hospital’s director-general last year. “Now it’s gotten to a point where it can’t go on.”

Founded in 1939, Hadassah is widely regarded as one of Israel’s finest health care facilities, pushing the boundaries of medical research while providing first-rate treatment not only for Israelis, but often for patients from around the Middle East, including citizens of countries technically in a state of war with the Jewish state.

The institution, which employs 6,000 people and doubles as the main teaching hospital for the Hebrew University medical school, is a symbol of both the best in Israeli medicine and the American Jewish contribution to building the state.

But with the budgetary woes impossible to ignore any longer, rifts have opened among the hospital, the Israeli government and the women’s organization. All the parties agree that the hospital must change the way it does business, but they remain divided on the source of the crisis, who is at fault and how best to move forward.

The government has pointed to employee salaries, which it says are “significantly higher” than typical pay at Israeli hospitals. The women’s organization blames long-term financial mismanagement, describing hospital administrators as children who expect that someone will always be there to bail them out. Hospital officials blame government regulations that they say penalize them for providing the country’s best care.

Diagnosing the problem will be critical to the hospital’s recovery, but no explanation has been complete. Soon after a Feb. 11 Knesset committee hearing on the crisis, the health and finance ministries appointed a joint panel to investigate. Recommendations are expected to be released this month.

In Kaplan’s view, the hospital’s problems stem from a bad deal the hospital was pressured into reaching with Israel’s government-funded health insurance companies. Israeli hospitals typically give volume discounts to the companies in an effort to attract more business, but Hadassah’s appear to be larger than the average.

In 2013, the hospital gave the insurance companies an average discount of 26 percent. A 2010 government report found that the nationwide average that year was 18 percent.

According to Kaplan, the arrangement effectively penalizes Hadassah for performing more complex and expensive procedures. As a private hospital, Kaplan said Hadassah also covers employee pensions and malpractice insurance that at public hospitals are paid for by the government.

“The government didn’t take care of us as it should have,” Kaplan said. “They gave overly large discounts to the providers, even though we give the same kind of service to Israelis.”

Hadassah Doctors Strike over Hospital Deficit Fallout

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Doctors at the Hadassah Medical Center launched a strike on Tuesday after talks between the Jerusalem hospital and the government over the institution’s $367 million deficit broke off.

The doctors are offering only urgent treatment on a Sabbath and holiday schedule. Teaching also has been halted.

The strike also is protesting that hospital staff members will receive only half of their salaries this month due to the deficit.

Some staff has been laid off, and more layoffs could be in the offing, according to reports. The state could seek a back-to-work order.

The state is planning to go to court to stop the deficit talks and assume control of running the hospital, and then impose its own plan on deficit reduction that the doctors fear could involve layoffs.

Spread out on two campuses, the Hadassah Medical Center is one of the largest hospitals in Israel and the only one specializing in head trauma.

A little more than a year ago, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, transferred $10 million to the hospital to help cover a then-$50 million deficit. The women’s group was hit hard by Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and had to pay $45 million in a “clawback” settlement to some victims of the scheme.

US Bus Bomb Victims Relive Horror over Terrorists’ Release

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority terrorists who firebombed an Egged bus in the Jordan Valley in 1988, killing five and wounding five, made sure the wounds would be as painful as possible.

Juma’a Adem and Mahmoud Kharbish mixed glue with the gasoline, causing the flammable liquid to stick to the skin of the victims, two of whom were American-Israelis Sandy Bloom of New York City and her husband Dov of Pittsburgh.

These terrorists, among 104 who Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to free, cruelly murdered a mother and her three children, an IDF soldier who tried to save them, and severely wounded five people, including the Blooms.

They were walking free at the time they firebombed the bus, after having been previously jailed for attacking Jews with Molotov cocktails.

They will go free again following Sunday’s Cabinet approval of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s request to contradict his stated policy not to resume talks with the Palestinian Authority if it insists on pre-conditions, such as freeing convicted terrorists who have maimed, wounded and killed hundreds of Jews.

The Egged bus in 1988 was travelling from Tiberias, on the shores of the Kinneret, to Jerusalem. On board were Eliezer Weiss, her wife Rachel, and their three young sons.

Eliezer escaped alive. His wife and children died in the flames, and an Israeli soldier who tried to save them also did from smoke inhalation.

Dov and Sandy Bloom were living at the time at Kibbutz Maaleh Gilboa, overlooking the Jordan Valley and where they made aliyah in 1979 as part of a Bnei Akiva group from the United States. They were on the bus for a vacation and ended up in the hospital for five weeks for severe burns.

The terrorists struck at night Bloom told the Jewish Press.

“We left their children with the grandparents at the Kibbutz. We were on the bus when there was a flash and a boom,” he continued. “Within a second, we were covered with a flammable liquid and were burning up. The terrorists threw several firebombs, and one of them smashed through our window.

“The flammable liquid spilled on us, and we later found out that the terrorists mixed glue with the gasoline to cause more pain and more severe burns.

“We managed to get off the bus, and two passengers who were in the army, helped out out the flames, which inflicted second degree burns on both of us.”

The Blooms were rushed to Hadassah Hospital. It was five weeks before Dov and Sandy could leave. “We also spent years of painful recuperation with more operations and skin grafts,” Dov Bloom added.

The Blooms cannot fathom how the Israeli government can release the Palestinian Authority Arabs who murdered six others and tried to murder them.

Dov said Saturday night that the prosecutor was contemplating requesting the death penalty for the terrorists but eventually settled for life sentences.

A life sentence in Israel, unless you are Yigal Amir, usually means early release with plenty of years ahead. For terrorists, those years are not always filled with helping old ladies across the street and going to a mosque. Sometimes they mellow. Sometimes they revert to killing Jews.

“I am horrified at the thought these murderers will be walking free again,” Bloom told the Jewish Press. “Politically, it is extremely unwise to offer one-sided concessions to the Palestinian Authority, which is offering no concessions. This flies in the face of Netanyahu’s promises that ‘if you give, you will receive something in return.’

“This undermines the Israel legal system.”

Sandy Bloom recalls that when the terrorists were convicted in court, they flashed the “V’ sign for victory.

What victory?

“They are happy to kill Jews,” she answered.

Miracle In A Jerusalem Hotel

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

This past summer highlighted to me how “charity, prayer, and repentance help to annul the evil decree.”

I try to visit my grandparents’ graves in Israel every summer. They are the parents of my late beloved father, Rabbi Dr. Joseph I. Singer. When my father wasn’t able to go to Israel due to illness, I would go to pray at his parents’ graves and pay for the upkeep.

Many years ago, I met a wonderful couple from London and we became friends. We met again in Jerusalem and kept up our friendship. When they were blessed with a daughter, Peninah, we would meet them all in Israel. We always met at the same hotel in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, her father suddenly passed away one December, and we arranged to meet this summer.

We arranged that we would meet in the lobby on August 20 at 4 p.m. to go to the Jerusalem zoo. As president-elect of my Hadassah chapter, I was scheduled to go on a morning tour of the Ein Kerem branch of the hospital, where I worked as a volunteer social worker many years ago. I needed to take my own transportation and everything seemed to take longer. Hadassah Hospital had grown and I got lost. There was even a shopping center, and it was fascinating to watch the hustle and bustle. I remembered how I had wished to stay in Israel and work here after grad school, but the ensuing war changed that. Although I am a senior social worker in a hospital, I could feel the excitement in the air and remembered the special feeling helping our brethren in Israel.

I received a tour and wanted again to view the Chagall windows. I prolonged my visit speaking with a social work supervisor regarding the problems I encounter in New York and we compared notes. Instead of returning to the hotel at 1:00, I came back before 3:00. As soon as I closed the door, I heard a loud noise that sounded like a bomb or a terrorist attack! I opened the door and shakingly viewed the whole ceiling falling down on my floor. I could not believe my eyes, and I realized I might have been killed by a freak accident.

Soon, Peninah came up to look for me. I told her about the accident and how lucky I had been. I was deeply thankful and grateful to G-d.

The next day was Thursday, and I bentched gomel at the Kotel. I hired a taxi and drove to Kever Rachel, and then to Mearat Hamachpela to pray at the kevarim of our holy Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

The next day, I hired the same driver and we went to the Mount of Olives. I found the 82-year-old Arab in charge of the cemetery, and he guided us to my maternal aunt and uncle’s graves. The Arab explained that the graves needed fixing, and I decided to take care of the graves as a chesed shel emet.

I also asked the Arab about my great-grandfather’s grave. He could not find it, but took my phone number. I knew he would contact me if he found the grave.

On the way out of the cemetery, a car honked and it was the Arab. He made a sign to follow him. He stated that he had found the grave of my maternal great-grandfather, who was buried near the Gerer Rebbe.

The next day, I flew home to the U.S. Two nights later, the Arab called. He had found my great-grandfather’s grave, and sent me photos.

The next time I prayed at my grandparents’ graves, the man in charge of the graves told me that he felt that G-d had saved me in the hotel because of my mitzvah of taking care of their graves.

I felt the deep connection of fathers saving their children.

As I prayed on Rosh Hashanah, I remembered the words of the Belzer Rebbitzen when I told her of the incident in the hotel. She stated it was a miracle. I truly feel blessed to be alive. Not only tzedakah and tefillah, but also teshuvah annul the evil decree.

I have undertaken to increase my tefillah, to try and give more tzedakah, and to try to be more tolerant and understanding of people.

I also think of my beloved father of blessed memory who gave me a book listing all the family yahrzeits. He knew when he was on dialysis and could not say Kaddish that I would arrange to have it said for our family members. I have undertaken to continue and observe all the yahrzeits, and I am grateful to the members of the community of Manhattan Beach who get up early to help form a minyan for the yahrzeits.

May the link of loving-kindness continue from generation to generation, as fathers and children continue to be linked in an unending chain of chesed.

Chagall’s ‘Window’ Synagogue: Hadassah Hospital

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Upon walking into the synagogue at Hadassah Hospital, one is forced to look up.  The irresistible color and light emanating from the 12 stained glass windows created by Marc Chagall is overwhelming and draws the eyes into a miniature cloud of color.  In fact, the intensely sensuous nature of colored light that dominates the upper story of the little chapel seems somehow inappropriate in this house of prayer.


 


It is clearly a constant source of distraction from the concentration necessary for prayer and study.  Rather it would seem to function much better as an art museum, which of course is exactly how many thousands of visitors experience the chapel set in the midst of the now sprawling Hadassah Hospital complex just outside Jerusalem in Ein Kerem.

 

 



Naphtali Joseph Benjamin; Stained Glass


by Marc Chagall and Charles & Brigitte Marq (1962)


Courtesy Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Israel


 

 


In a rather extraordinary manner this set of stained glass windows, each 11′ high by 8′ wide and set within a plain round arch, was Marc Chagall’s heartfelt gift to the Land of Israel and the Jewish people.  Each of the windows represents one of the twelve tribes who entered the land under the leadership of Joshua and as derived from Jacob’s final blessing to his sons found in Genesis 49:1-27.   They are arranged three windows on each side: Reuben, Simeon and Levi on the east; Judah, Zebulun and Issachar on the south; Dan, Gad and Asher on the west and finally Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin on the north wall. 


 


While they do not echo the tribal arrangement or orientation around the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, they do follow exactly the order as enumerated in Jacob’s final blessing.  Additionally the text that appears in most of the windows is from the Genesis blessing, with the exception of Levi (sublimated in the castigation of Simeon in Genesis 49:5) where there is a fragment of text from Moses’ final blessing of the tribes in Deuteronomy 33:10.  Three of the windows; Zebulun, Joseph and Naphtali have no texts at all.

 

 



Judah Zebulun Issachar; Stained Glass


by Marc Chagall and Charles & Brigitte Marq (1962)


Courtesy Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Israel


 

 


These windows were created under a most auspicious set of circumstances when Chagall’s explorations in stained glass coincided with the needs of the new construction at Hadassah Medical Center in Israel.  Because of his long standing interest in religious expression, Chagall had been intrigued by the post-war interest in modern art used within a religious setting as evidenced by the Matisse Chapel at Vence in 1951 and the Leger windows at the Church Audincourt, also in 1951. 


 


The Dominicans in France commissioned works for the Church of Assy, consecrated in 1950.  Chagall designed some windows there in 1957 and was quickly commissioned to design two windows at the 14th century Cathedral at Metz that boasts the largest expanses of stained glass in the world.  In this commission Chagall collaborated with master stained glass artisans Charles and Brigitte Marq and completed a Jeremiah window and an Exodus window.  When these were exhibited in Paris in June 1959, Dr. Miriam Freund, National President of Hadassah and Joseph Neufeld, architect of the new Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center saw his newly completed work and immediately commissioned Chagall and Marq to create windows for the new hospital chapel.

 

 



Reuben Simon Levi; Stained Glass


by Marc Chagall and Charles & Brigitte Marq (1962)


Courtesy Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Israel


 


 

As the project developed, one can imagine the challenge of Chagall’s commission, his first in the new State of Israel.  Twelve images would have to express the totality of the Jewish people while each would epitomize one of Jacob’s sons and the Torah’s expression of each tribe’s quality.  Chagall did many drawings for each window, slowly evolving a composition and selection of symbols that would adequately reflect Jacob’s final blessing to his sons at the end of Genesis.


 


While he may have felt constrained by the injunction against the human figure for synagogue works, he easily compensated by extensive use of his signature hybrid creatures that had served as conveyors of complex meaning over most of his career.  Fish, birds, horses, bulls, chickens and goats all took on human attributes; expressing Chagall’s notion of the Chassidic idea that all life was imbued with consciousness and volition expressing G-dliness.

 

 



Dan Gad Asher; Stained Glass


by Marc Chagall and Charles & Brigitte Marq (1962)


Courtesy Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Israel


 

 


The first three windows easily represent Chagall’s overall aesthetic and conceptual approach.  “Reuben you are my first born, my might and first fruit of my vigor, exceeding in rank” (Genesis 49:3)    The soft cerulean blues vibrate and make the surface shimmer in a watery concoction.  Four fish swim in a sea below while four birds flutter in flight up towards a glowing orb that contains the Hebrew text.  Reuben is a particularly complex figure, defined by his father as unstable as water, hence the fish and restless sea. 


 


The shame of the tribe is that Reuben forfeited his rights as first-born and yet Chagall does not dwell on his disgrace but rather emphasizes his soaring and laudatory characteristics with birds that fly towards the upbeat Torah text.  Even Reuben’s questionable role in the use of the mandrakes he found for his mother Leah, seen as shockingly red bushes at the right of the sea, find resolution in the purple reds that illuminate two of the airborne birds, perhaps alluding to his redemptive injunction against spilling Joseph’s blood and thereby effectively saving his brother’s life.  


 


The tribe of Simon provides an even more difficult problem as Chagall starkly lists along the bottom edge his father Jacob’s denunciation “Simon and Levi are a pair; their weapons are tools of lawlessness, let not my soul be included in their council”(Genesis 49:5 – 6).   Here the blue color turns angry, ranging from purples remembering the brutal massacre of the people of Shechem to Prussian blues and tinges of black that nonetheless somehow supports three orbs.  They are surrounded by threatening beasts; a winged and horned bull flies, bloodied doves flutter and finally a war-like horse completes the grim tone of the window.  Beautiful pink, rose and light purple lights burst through to redeem the severe characteristics of this fearsome tribe. 


 


Chagall’s unwillingness to shirk from the realities of the Torah text and a candid portrayal of the tribes provides him with the freedom to divert from his primary text, as narrative deems necessary. Levi is inextricably linked with Simon in Genesis and yet the tribe has a glorious tradition that must be celebrated.  The text is easily found in Deuteronomy.  Therefore the next window soars in a brilliant yellow laced with gentle blues, reds and greens that celebrate the holy and priestly role the Levites will play to bring the Jewish people closer to G-d.  A ceremonial ram and lion frame the bouquet of peace flowers that ascend along with the Star of David and its two mythical birds. 


 


This double symbol of hope and prosperity crowns the tablets of the law that bear Levi’s textual message of, “They shall teach Your laws to Jacob and Your Torah to Israel, they shall offer Your incense to savor and whole offerings on Your altar, Bless Hashem his substance” (Deuteronomy 33:10-11).  The blessings of redemption through Torah study and service animates the multiple shades of yellow and gold, setting off and contrasting with the more somber brotherly colors of Simon and Reuben.


 


The simple white walls and arched ceiling of the chapel set off the luminous Chagall windows, allowing them to glow in an uncontrolled orgy of colored light and images.  If one were to pause and use the chapel as a place of prayer, an utterly new experience could emerge.  One would have to concentrate but, imagine because of the intensity of the aesthetic experience, one would absorb the beauty, the serenity and intensity and then close one’s eyes and apply this experience of beauty to the concentration of prayer. 


 


Aesthetics and prayer would merge in the environment created by Chagall’s windows.  In the midst of vibrant images and symbols of the complexity of the Jewish people, a personal prayer of praise, petition and thanksgiving would surely enter Heaven’s gates.   Perhaps the Psalm of David would be fulfilled “Praiseworthy are those who dwell in Your house; may they always praise you, Selah Praiseworthy is the people whose G-d is Hashem.”


 


 


Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Please feel free to contact him with comments at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/chagalls-window-synagogue-hadassah-hospital/2008/07/16/

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