Dear Friends,

Visitors to our campuses often comment on the astonishing number of names that appear in our Medical Center – on the walls and in the halls, at the entrances to the buildings, patient rooms, laboratories and research centers. Each name – and I would estimate there are hundreds of thousands of them – honors a loved one or the legacy of a loved one. Most of all, each name represents the faith of people around the world in Hadassah and the lifesaving work that takes place at our Medical Center.

The names that will appear in and on the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower have not yet been put in place, but reserving special spaces for them was an integral part of the building’s design. Still, there are many people whose names will never appear, whose enormous efforts will never be carved on the Davidson Tower’s walls or appear along its wide sweeping hallways. Long before the first bucket of dirt was removed or the first batch of concrete was poured, many people had been working for years to ensure that we could – and would – erect this extremely essential new inpatient facility.

This week I had the pleasure of taking two of these people on a tour of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower and telling them about the people who understood the necessity and embraced our plans with open hands and full hearts. I watched their faces and delighted in their reactions as they walked through the spacious spaces they knew only from the blueprints and identified the sites where our supporters’ names will appear.

We began from the inside of our original building. Descending the ramp that leads into the Promenade, we paused for a moment by the picture of Bill Davidson that graces the rotunda until it is moved to its permanent place in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower.  oct 21 bill davidson

When we emerged at the far end, with its magnificent view of the Judean Hills, we stood on the plaza by the main entrance that will be the main drop off point for people arriving by car or taxi. The curving, sweeping roadway approaches and then descends to merge with the Ring Road around the campus, one floor below.

Above the wide and welcoming doorway there is broad swath of space where Sarah Wetsman Davidson’s name will appear. Her name will also be placed at eye level immediately inside the entrance. We chose this significant site to honor our Cornerstone Contributors as well, highlighting the landmark contribution of Bill and Karen Davidson. The names of these pace-setting donors–more than 50 of them –will be placed on a wall close to the entrance.

Slightly beyond, the prow of the triangular Swartz-Hyde Pavilion projects an imposing presence, its walls of windows gleaming in the sunlight. A gift of our Campaign Chairs, Judy and Sidney Swartz, this Pavilion is named in honor and in memory of both their parents.

There are not enough superlatives to praise Judy and Sidney Swartz for their extraordinary leadership. From the moment they assumed this responsibility, they have put their hearts and souls into the enormous task of raising the funds for this important and ambitious undertaking – and they continue to do so. Undaunted by unexpected events, they look ever forward. Theirs has been an exceptional effort, one that they have embraced with love and devotion.

From this vantage point we could see the bridge to the central parking facility and the workmen constructing the infrastructure for the Jerusalem Light Rail station below on the road beneath the building where city busses will also stop. Everything was designed to bring people comfortably to this entrance – not just to this incredible building, but to the entire campus.

Inside and out, activity abounds. Construction elevators rise and fall, workmen move about intent on their tasks – some were directing a small crane putting a piece of equipment in place; some were finishing the floors and others, the walls. The gentle swish of people sanding plaster mixed with the more strident sounds of steel and stone. By March 19th, 22 weeks from now, everything will be ready for the building’s first patients.

Names continue to dictate our conversation – and as I mention them, the faces of these generous donors appear in my mind. These public recognitions can hardly convey the depth and intensity of our gratitude.

As many will do in the future, we enter the Davidson Tower through the David and Fela Shapell Family Gateway to Health, the atrium between the Davidson Tower and the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center. You should have seen their awed expressions as we stood beneath the three-story glass ceiling and looked through its glass walls, with the Jerusalem stone refracting the sunlight.

On the ground floor, we approach the space that has been designated to honor Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, and its outstanding leaders. Inherent in each name is the acknowledgment of HWZOA’s century of commitment and contribution to the health and wellbeing of the people of Israel. Immediately opposite there is space for the name of the donor of this impressive ground floor and a list of the most significant supporters who have made this building possible.

I escort my colleagues around the curved wall into the Moises Saba Masri Synagogue and await their reaction – and I am not disappointed. Their eyes widen in delight at the sight of this two-story sanctuary with its unique atmosphere of light and space and stunning view of the Judean Hills.

Back on the main floor, we pass the site of the Holocaust Memorial, a gift of David and Fela Shapell’s children – Rochelle, Benjamin and Irwin – in memory of their grandparents and the millions of others who perished.

We continue to the Barbara and Jack Kay Welcome Garden. Here, as throughout the building, its plants, trees and shrubs will bring the outside indoors through the environmentally-friendly glass walls, providing an enclave of calm and caring to embrace patients and visitors. It’s almost hard to believe that a different atmosphere prevails four floors below where our Surgical Center is located. It is constructed as a bomb shelter –an underground hospital, in fact. Some of its specialty Operating Rooms are gifts of Barbara Miller Fox Abramoff, another dedicated family who prefers to remain anonymous, as does a generous foundation.

A few footsteps further, we see where the Davidson Tower’s three glass elevators will be installed and envision them filled with passengers enjoying the wonderful views of the Welcome Garden below and the greenery beyond as they rise and descend. Turning around, we see where the Goldyne Savad and Dr. Larry Rosen Imaging Center, with its three multi-purpose rooms and state-of-the-art equipment, will be located directly opposite.

At this point, I stop and describe the incredible design of the building created by Arthur Spector, Moshe Levy and Arie Shauer, our Israeli architects, and their American counterparts at HKS Inc, of Dallas, Texas.  The West Pavilion, the Swartz-Hyde Pavilion, is triangular; the East Pavilion, square – and in between them, the Katherine Merage Pavilion creates a seamless connection where they converge. Here too, beauty and function are united. The elevators have a functional role, but the Merage Pavilion itself, with its Healing Gardens and the balconies that overlook them, create special areas of calm, light and greenery.

We go up to the Fifth Floor and walk through the Madlyn Barnett Healing Garden, envisioning the area filled with patients and their families relaxing and admiring the view. I point to the Healing Gardens above and below – the Elinor and Sam Fishman Healing Garden on the Second Floor, the Healing Garden on the Ninth Floor and another on the Twelfth – and explain how they carry the concept from the ground floor to the roof. I show them where the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Surgery Center is located on the Seventh Floor, describe the Irma and Paul Milstein Heart Center on the Third Floor with the Silagi Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in its East Wing – and another important intensive care unit, the Medical Intensive Care Unit on the Twelfth Floor, a gift of Beth and Seth Klarman.

As we cross from one end of the floor to the other, I point out the Family Waiting Areas at the farthest end of each floor, as there are on every patient floor. There, too, the inside and outside seem inseparable. “The view is included,” I said as we look at the campus from different perspectives.

Touring the Fifth Floor, which is in the final stages of completion, we step into several patient rooms – those for one patient and those for two. “I’ve been in hotel rooms that are smaller and less well appointed,” one of the women said “and without the view that each person will have. “It’s hard to believe this is a hospital.”

The Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower is very much a medical facility. The four-bed “step-down” units on each department floor are just one of many of its advanced features. These Intermediate Care Units are for patients who require constant monitoring, but do not need the sophisticated services of the Intensive Care Unit.

While walking through the corridor, I call their attention to an exposed section in the ceiling with its myriad of colored pipes and spaghetti-like lengths of colored wires. “This and the technical floors are the heart of the building,” I told them, “the complex infrastructure that will never be seen. Here are the systems that make the building function 24/7. They contain the backup systems – and the backup for the backup, in case of emergency or war. Also there, I told them, are many of the sophisticated systems that we installed to guarantee that the Davidson Tower would be environmentally friendly – the heating, cooling and electrical systems, among others – that ensure we conform to, and even exceed, the highest standards of environmental safety.

As we were standing there, one of the workmen instructed another to go to Room 121. “I couldn’t believe the rooms already had numbers,” the other woman told me later. “When I heard that – and realized how far along we are – I actually felt a shiver run down my spine.”

We stop on the Second Floor for a look at the Surgical Intensive Care Center that will open next fall and go out onto the two bridges that connect the Davidson Tower to the main building on one side and to the Mother and Child Center on the other.

The women were excited and enthusiastic. Even though they only saw a small part of this 19-story building and I didn’t have a chance to tell them about all our generous donors, especially those like the Crown Family Philanthropies and the other hundreds of donors, who have not yet chosen a special area, they were amazed and impressed.

I look forward to seeing your faces and delighting in your reactions when we come together to dedicate the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower next October.


“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” That may be true in Romeo and Juliet, but for us at Hadassah, names have a special significance, an individual identity. Each person or family whose name is placed in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower – and elsewhere throughout our Medical Center – is a member of the Hadassah family, a friend in the finest sense of the word.

In the years to come, thousands of people will treat and be treated with care and consideration in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower – and they will know that the names of the people they will see have made that possible.

Shabbat Shalom,


Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef

Director General