Hadassah Australia: August 2019 Newsletter

From the President

Hadassah has been described as an “island of calm in a sea of chaos”.  That has never been more apparent than in recent weeks as Israel confronts an Ethiopian community enraged by the tragic death of a 19-year-old teenager, shot by an off-duty policeman under controversial circumstances. 

It is tearing apart the social fabric of Israel, at a time when the country can least afford it.

Mourner clutching photo of Solomon Teka at his funeral (Photo: EPA/Abir Sultan)

Seemingly under the radar, the Hadassah-Hebrew University Henrietta Szold School of Nursing has been involved in an innovative program to train young Ethiopians.  It has been so successful that the program, known as Achotenu (Hebrew for ‘Our Sister’), will be expanded.

In contrast to the sense of communal hurt felt by Ethiopians, and leveraged by others to reflect their own feelings of alienation, Achotenu is building a future for the community in partnership with Hadassah.  The approach mirrors the hospital’s record of achievement over more than a century: through consultation, innovation, and a committed philosophy of embracing everyone without pre-condition.           

Hadassah Australia is supporting Achotenu by launching a Nursing program to provide a pathway for young Ethiopian adults to enter Hadassah’s School of Nursing.  We are raising funds for 20 scholarships for the four year program. 

I’m thrilled to acknowledge the generosity of Daniel Weinstock, a member of our National Committee, who asked family and friends to donate to Achotenu in lieu of gifts for his 70th birthday.  We are well on our way to awarding the first ship!

Many young Ethiopian-Israelis express a strong desire to become hospital nurses, which is seen as a respected and well-paid career.  We see it as our mission to support their ambitions.

Ron Finkel AM

President, Hadassah Australia

A Story of Hope: The Mosaic of Life Builds Bridges

The world has chosen to describe Israelis and Palestinians as intractable enemies; two peoples incapable of reaching mutual understanding, let alone reconciliation and peace. But what the naysayers fail to recognise is that mutual understanding and respect are well-advanced in the daily lives of many Israelis and Palestinians.  It is alive and well in the major hospitals of Israel and Hadassah Hospital is a case in point.  Enter either of its campuses, and the first thing you notice is the remarkable mix of people – patients, families and practitioners – representing the mosaic of life in Israel.

There are many stories that reflect this reality. Ron Finkel AM, President of Hadassah Australia, says that it takes a case like this to tell a story of hope, courage and shared commitment.

Read more.

Prof. Michael Wilshansky with the babies

When the Rockets Stop the Healing Begins

Among the many remarkable people who work at Hadassah Hospital, few are in the league of Professor Esti Galili-Weisstub. While most are expert at healing broken bodies, for which there are clearly defined methodologies and where Hadassah is an acknowledged leader, Esti works in the inexact field of damaged minds. She visited Melbourne and Sydney during May, a matter of weeks after terrorists in Gaza sent more than 400 rockets into Israel to speak on the theme of ‘Terror, Trauma, Transformation’, and how the Second Intifada (2000 – 2005) helped to drive a new awareness at Hadassah in the treatment of vulnerable children and adolescents.

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Scholarships: "Nursing"our Ethiopian Brethren to a Better Life

The world marvelled at Israel’s daring as it brought thousands of Ethiopians stranded in that war-torn country to Israel under cover of darkness. Operation Moses (1984) and Operation Solomon (1991) were emblematic of Israel’s commitment to Jews in distress.  But recent events have overshadowed these achievements as Ron Finkel wrote in an Opinion Piece published in the Australian Jewish News. We are raising funds for 20 scholarships for the four year program. 

Read more.

From Hopeless to High-Five: Hadassah's Medical Miracle

Giving birth in a first-world country in the 21st century should be safer than at any other time in human history.  By contrast, complications should be more easily overcome given the advances in western medicine. This was certainly the expectation of ‘Malka’, who at 34 was expecting her fifth child.  But at her 30 weeks’ ultrasound, the medical resident at a hospital near Tel Aviv was suddenly confronted by the unthinkable.

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Breakthrough in Scoliosis Treatment

Bespoke medicine has long been practised at Hadassah Hospital.  It comes from a tradition where the patient is the focus of the medical and nursing staff; where successful medical outcomes can require more than the traditional approach.

This happened recently at Hadassah when spine specialists used an innovative, minimally invasive approach to correct scoliosis in Elia, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome. “The doctors thought ‘outside the box’ to create a positive outcome. It sounds simple, but with the challenges brought by Elia’s special needs, it was anything but.

Read more.

2nd International Mental Health and Trauma Conference

Hadassah Australia will host the 2nd International Conference on Trauma and Mental Health 6 – 8 September, 2020.
The 2017 inaugural conference, the first of its type, was hailed an outstanding success. Attracting many of the world’s leading mental health practitioners and researchers to Israel, it also resulted in the sharing of important information on issues around trauma, mental health and PTSD.
The 2020 conference theme is "The Impacts of Trauma and Adversity: Challenged and Innovations"

Read more. 

Call out for the Challenged Child


You are invited to participate in the forthcoming conference organized by the Department of Pediatrics and the Center for Children with Chronic Diseases at Hadassah Hospital.  They are currently putting the final touches to an international conference about children dealing with chronic disease. Hosts of the conference are Professor Eitan Kerem, Head of the Division of Pediatrics at Hadassah, and Professor Isaiah Wexler, Head of Pediatric Metabolism and Feeding Disorders in the Division of Pediatrics at Hadassah.

‘The Challenged Child’ (child health, development and welfare) will be held in Jerusalem from December 2 – 4, 2019, and will cover multidisciplinary aspects of the care of these children and is open for physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, child psychologists and others to present and attend.

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Register here