Hadassah Centenniel Celebrations Launched in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Hadassah Hospital

A city is built in layers; Tel Aviv of today is a palimpsest of human and architectural history, with many layers receding from memory as new buildings rise up in this fast-growing city. One of these buildings is Hadassah Hospital, today so closely identified with Jerusalem, yet the original building stood on Mazeh Street in Tel Aviv. The original Hadassah building has been replaced with a 26 storey luxury residence, Rova Lev Ha’ir, built by the Fishman Group and Oneal Construction. Its significance and place in history were marked with respect and style: a joint celebration of the dedication of the new building with the beginning of Centennial Year Celebrations of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.

Ronit Porat, CEO of ONeal Construction, and Yossi Rosen, Chairman of the Hadassah Medical Organization Board of Directors

Nearly 300 captains of industry and commerce, government officials and veteran Tel Aviv residents saluted a century of Hadassah’s contribution to Israel. Eliezer Fishman and Ronit Porat of the Fishman Group and its daughter company Oneal Construction raised a toast to the “pioneering, amazing women of Hadassah”. “As developers, we can appreciate how much effort goes into huge projects,” said Porat, a civil engineer, Oneal CEO and one of Israel’s leading women in the construction field.

Israel’s chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar brought warm words of appreciation and blessings for continued success. Rabbi Metger spoke of the “righteous women of Hadassah” who model the act of giving, and Rabbi Amar said Hadassah’s work was “at the heart of the people of Israel and the entire world”.

Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, Leslie Cunningham, U.S. Ambassador in Israel James B. Cunningham/Photo: Aviv Chofi

U.S. Ambassador to Israel James B. Cunningham said, “This is a tremendous day. It’s really an unusual concept to have so many people combined around the world in so many places sharing a common goal and a common creed. All the people who are involved in this work are really to be congratulated for it. It really is the sharing and caring that makes it so special.”

Prof Shlomo Mor-Yosef, outgoing director general of Hadassah Medical Organization and Marcie Natan, incoming president of Hadassah Women’s Organization of America/Photo: Aviv Chofi

Incoming National President, Marcie Natan, thanked the hosts and the many guests and promised them all the opportunity to tour the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower in Jerusalem. “It will serve all of Israel, and the future will bring more fabulous collaboration between you and us.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he couldn’t imagine Jerusalem without Hadassah and sketched his plan for Jerusalem’s development built around utilizing Hadassah’s scientific and biotech prowess.

Audrey Shimron, executive director of Hadassah Israel, and Galia Maor, president and CEO of Bank Leumi/Photo: Aviv Chofi

Hadassah has been an integral part of the development of Israel and as such, of Israeli culture, and the centennial is an auspicious time to recall the history of the organization. Henrietta Szold established Hadassah in 1912 after a visit to pre-state Israel, reaching out to American Jewish women to send personnel and funds to modernize health care. Every child born in Israel benefits from the well-baby care, educational services and guidance of Israel’s mother and child clinics, Tipat Halav, created by Hadassah. Hadassah built modern hospitals around the country, the Tel Aviv Hadassah hospital opened in 1921.

In 1948, when Israel became a state, Hadassah turned all over the clinics and hospitals to the government, except for the flagship hospital in Jerusalem. Hadassah had to leave its Mount Scopus campus for security reasons, and in 1961, opened Hadassah Ein Kerem. After the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six Day War, Hadassah renovated its original campus.

Prof Ehud Kokia, incoming director general of Hadassah Medical Organization, Yossi Rosen, chair of Hadassah Medical Organization Board of Directors & Prof Shlomo Mor-Yosef, outgoing director general of Hadassah Medical Organization/Photo: Aviv Chofi

Yossi Rosen, chair of the Hadassah Medical Center Board of Directors, emphasized the cooperation between Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) and Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA) in the building of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower. Rosen praised the women of Hadassah, headed by the National Board, for making dreams into reality. “They deserve the thanks on behalf of all the people of Israel.”

And in welcoming the incoming HMO director general, Professor Ehud Kokia, Rosen used the Biblical transfer of leadership as a paradigm. “With a little help from Moses, Joshua is going to turn the new Tower into a center of excellence.” Professor Kokia, 61, has an outstanding 37-year career as a physician and health-care executive. Since 2007, he has served as CEO of Maccabi Healthcare Services. His appointment was announced on March 22, 2011, and he will assume the leadership of Hadassah Medical Organization, which includes both Hadassah University Hospital Ein Kerem and Hadassah University Hospital Mount Scopus, replacing Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, who served as director general for 11 years.
Outgoing HMO director general, Professor Mor-Yosef, took advantage of the celebratory platform to also praise the dedication of the women of Hadassah, particularly those he has met on his many trips to US chapters where women of even modest financial means are willing to contribute to the building of Hadassah’s projects.

A long message of appreciation for Hadassah’s groundbreaking role in the history of Zionism and the State of Israel, as well as wishes for future success arrived from President Shimon Peres, who wasn’t able to attend.


  1. Shalom,
    I’m an Italian Journalist.
    I’ve just broadcasting on the Italian Tv a documentary about Hadassa Hospital.
    I’ll be glad if you decide to publish the YouTube link.
    All the best

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