Estelle Siegel of Philadelphia and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, dreamed of creating an outdoor place of beauty and comfort for patients and their families who were receiving medical care. She worked together with Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the hospital staff and an architect to fulfill her dream. Then suddenly, in December 2012 at age 92, she passed away.
On October 26, 2016, in her memory, and to honor the family members who carry on her vision, Granny’s Garden was dedicated in Jerusalem, in the presence of her daughter Joan Siegel of Philadelphia. Chairs, a gazebo and flowers now occupy a meditative area adjacent to a children’s playground on the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem campus.
“We are at a season of beginnings and a time when we read about the first garden, a place of blooming and burgeoning life. You’ve created a place of solace where men, women and children can gather the inner strength which is part of dealing with illness, recovering and new life and regained health,” said Dr. Janice Weinman, Executive Director and CEO of Hadassah. Hospital Director Prof. Yoram Weiss spoke of how Granny’s Garden was already used in a recent hospital preparation exercise for possible earthquakes. “We had to evacuate the hospital,” said Prof. Weiss. “Even though it was an exercise, there was a lot of stress. Patients and staff quickly found their way to regain their composure in Granny’s Garden. We thank you so much.”
Said Joan Siegel, “This is exactly the healing garden that my mother wanted.”