Dialog Box

Hadassah's Smiling Room at the Gandel Rehabilitation Center

In memory of Natalie & Eli Z"L

Natalie and Eli were a simple, straightforward, and good-hearted couple. They married late in life, just two years before they were murdered, and had no children.

Natalie was a much-loved caregiver at Hadassah Hospital, Mount Scopus.

Erev Shabbat 27 January 2023 their good hearts cost them their lives. They were brutally gunned down in a terrorist attack on a synagogue in the Neve Ya'acov neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

On hearing shooting and screaming, Natalie and Eli made a conscious choice to go to the assistance of neighbours who were under attack. It was their natural instinct. They were murdered as they were trying to help. They died as they lived – concerned for others.

Nothing can change that reality. What Hadassah decided to do, was to honour their heroism in a meaningful way.

A campaign was launched to preserve their memory by dedicating a special “Smiling Room” in Natalie and Eli's honour in the new Gandel Rehabilitation Center at Mount Scopus, Jerusalem. It will be a double patient room which Natalie's co-workers agreed would be a fitting tribute. Hadassah Australia’s generous donors responded by making a significant contribution to the fundraising effort.

Why a "Smiling Room"? Because that is how all Natalie’s Hadassah colleagues described and remembered her.

Natalie, 46, who made Aliyah from Belarus in the 1990s, worked at Hadassah Mt Scopus Hospital for over 20 years in the food distribution department. Such was her commitment to patient care, Natalie was learning Arabic so she could chat with Arab patients as well as those who spoke Hebrew and Russian.

And thanks to that devotion, she also met Eli, 49. His mother was hospitalised at Hadassah Hospital and fell in love with Natalie, who gave her food warmly and kind-heartedly. Eli came to visit his sick mother and that's how he and Natalie connected.

Currently at an advanced stage of construction, the new state-of-the-art Gandel Rehabilitation Center is answering a huge need in Jerusalem. It will provide 132 inpatient beds, and extensive outpatient facilities with comprehensive and specialised cutting-edge rehabilitation services to those suffering from disease, illness, accident, or injury.