The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) has announced that it has received a generous gift from Toronto-based Atta and Henry Zieleniec to name its nursing school “The Selma Jelinek School of Nursing.”
The gift will support the construction of a four-story, 60,000-square-foot building equipped with advanced medical simulation training labs, lecture halls, classrooms, faculty offices, and a library on JCT’s new Tal Campus for Women.
The school is being named in memory of Atta’s mother, Holocaust survivor Selma Jelinek, who was affectionately known as “Nurse Selma.” Born in the small Russian town of Koretz, Selma escaped the Nazi annihilation of the Jewish presence in Koretz and became a nurse in the Russian Army. In that capacity she would go on to care for Alex Jelinek, a Russian tank commander and officer who was injured in battle, and they married shortly thereafter.
Selma and Alex immigrated to Canada, where Selma devoted much of her time to support underprivileged youths and various educational programs in Israel. Atta and Henry Zieleniec, inspired by how Atta’s parents strengthened Israeli institutions, considered the naming of JCT’s nursing school the most fitting tribute to Nurse Selma — whose legacy is more relevant than ever amid the rising prominence of the nursing profession during the coronavirus pandemic.
When the Israeli Health Ministry asked nursing schools across the country to train their students in respiratory care in the early stages of the pandemic this past March, JCT swiftly answered the call by training 600 third- and fourth-year nursing students in that specialty within a week. Then in April, more than 30 of JCT’s nursing students started working in nursing homes across Israel, drawing from the College’s expertise as the country’s only academic institution that offers a master’s degree course in nursing with a clinical specialization in geriatrics.
“We are profoundly grateful to Atta and Henry Zieleniec for their generous gift to our nursing school and to our new Tal Campus for Women,” said JCT President Prof. Chaim Sukenik. “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us all of the critical importance of nursing and medical infrastructure. This gift will help provide the country with thousands of highly skilled medical personnel for decades to come.”
JCT’s School of Nursing serves more than 1,000 students annually. It is widely recognized as the country’s premier nursing program, having received the Health Ministry’s National Prize for Excellence and ranking first among 24 nursing departments nationwide.
The College’s nursing program offers a Bachelor of Science of Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Nursing (MSN) with a Nurse Practitioner (NP) certification — the latter representing Israel’s first program of its kind. Further, JCT partnered with the University of Toronto to establish Israel’s first academic program in the cutting-edge field of health informatics, which aims to improve the quality of patient care by utilizing data as the basis for making better clinical decisions.
The new Tal Campus will be the permanent home for up to 3,000 of JCT’s female students in nursing, computer science, electro-optics, industrial engineering, accounting, and management. The campus will provide increased opportunities for national religious, Haredi, and Ethiopian women to pursue higher education and attain employment in Jerusalem’s high-tech industries.