A hundred years ago, on the Jewish holiday of Purim in 1912, a group of women founded the Hadassah Chapter of the Daughters of Zion at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. Soon thereafter, this group began its medical endeavors in Palestine by sending two nurses to Jerusalem, which at the time was still under Ottoman rule. Today, the heart of the Hadassah Medical Organization remains in Jerusalem, and it includes two hospitals and related institutions that employ more than 5,000 men and women. Moreover, last week the organization began celebrating its centennial by opening a new hospital tower, an immense building with state-of-art technology that solidifies the organization’s place as arguably the leading medical center in the Middle East. But as I learned recently, the story here is not merely one of professional success but of human achievement in adverse political conditions. At a time when peace in the Middle East seems more distant than ever—and the Palestinian and Israeli governments appear happy in their immobility—places in civil society such as Hadassah exemplify a flourishing coexistence among Jews and Arabs.
more from Eyal Chowers at Dissent here.