Chistina Caddy-Gold from Australia blogs about her experiences at the Hadassah International Leadership Conference in Jerusalem, May 11-14, 2015
Arriving in Israel is always a shock to the system.
From the moment we attempted to board our El Al flight at Bangkok airport I felt like I was under suspicion. I suppose having a name like Christina Caddy doesn’t help!
But they let me in and The Inbal hotel was lovely, with every facility you could need for a conference or a holiday for that matter, including a breakfast like no other!
From that first evening I was invited to attend the staff dinner, I felt immersed in Hadassah. I realized quickly that I was in a room with top caliber, highly educated, friendly and warm, giving people who were committed to the Hadassah Medical Center and making a real difference.
I thought that perhaps I had found a place to call home.
Then, the next morning when the conference began and almost everyone stated that their best achievements were their partners and children, and their success in helping others, I knew I was with my kind of people.
From then it was a fast learning curve. Listening to others. Learning methods, seeing their efforts in the past, hearing their goals and strategies for the next year was all very inspiring.
Then, this all came together when we met with Dr. Osnat Lev-Zion, Director of Hadassah Mount Scopus and Prof. Eitan Kerem, Head of the Pediatric Department at Hadassah Medical Center. I really felt that there was a place for us in the soul of Hadassah Medical Center and that we had a job to do to improve the hospital experience. And it was important work. The Hospital relied on us to survive!
However, for me the real ‘ah’ moment was the tour of the hospital where I witnessed a four year old helping a nurse to inject herself with chemotherapy. She was a ‘big girl’ and could do it herself, three times a week.
I saw a Palestinian boy sharing a room with an Orthodox Jewish boy. Both bedridden. There was no need for a bridge for peace here, they were both on it and their families were past any judgment. Clearly, the illness was the enemy in that room.
I saw the Family room filled with people from all walks of life sharing food from home, chatting, living, watching TV.
In the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) I marveled at the equipment used to treat babies and felt proud to learn that they enjoy a 95% success rate in keeping these babies alive, many of them Palestinian babies. Someone said along the way that the most Jewish thing a Jew can do is help the Palestinians and this was evident here.
In the adolescent psychiatry ward I was in awe to learn that they offer a Daycare system that enables adolescents suffering from eating disorders and anxiety to come and be treated and supported by a program FOUR DAYS a week. That is phenomenal dedication and enables the client to still attend school and have a functional life while they recover.
Of course, the Chagall windows are beautiful and mesmerizing and a big draw card for the hospital but even more amazing is the lists of hundreds of names outside the Synagogue for people who have donated at least $100K or more. Hadassah is loved and cared for from around the world.
The underground operating theatres felt like we had been transported to space and again I felt proud of the achievement of Hadassah and staff, tainted with frustration because they are unable to be used due to lack of funding for completion.
I could go on and on, but my overall feelings were of awe and pride and I feel very proud to be of a select few who are dedicated to working towards goals and dreams to make Hadassah even better.
Each team, and each person in each team, in each country, is unique and what became clear though the conference was that no way is right or wrong or best or better. It doesn’t really matter what method you employ to fundraise as long as your heart is pure and your goal is the common good. There are many ways to raise awareness, many projects, many strategies, all working in unison.
It was a terrific adventure for me and I look forward excitedly to attending next year with some successes under my belt to share with others in order that they will grow and succeed further in their endeavors to continue Hadassah to provide the exceptional and warm service they are known for.