The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Sunday, June 23, 2024
The Jewish Observer

The War in Israel Highlights Growing Need for Critical Resources

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Larry and Carol Hyatt hope their gift to Hadassah inspires others to find meaningful ways to give back during the current crisis.

When Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th communities around the world mobilized to quickly meet the immediate needs on the ground. The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville raised over one million dollars for its Israel Crisis Fund which is part of the Jewish Federations of North America’s total of $800 million raised. In the months since, agencies and organizations continue their relief efforts in various ways across a broad spectrum.

Local donors are working with a variety of agencies, including the Jewish Federation, United Hatzalah, Magen David Adom, and Hadassah, to address ramped up work on the ground in Israel. One of those is Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus’ Gandel Rehabilitation Center at, which is aimed at treating victims of terror and other war related injuries. The center opened early this year to address the immediate needs of the current war and is fast tracking completion of the remainder of the facility.  

Hannah Stein is senior director of institutional giving for Hadassah. Just after the war began, the hospital opened two emergency hospitals, and it is quickly working to complete the rest in phases. She says, “Our biggest focus is the crisis efforts of the hospital. We needed to fortify our existing facility to meet the demands of civilians and soldiers.”  

Upon completion the Gandel Rehabilitation Center will serve about 10 thousand people a year, and will be the largest hospital in Jerusalem, according to Stein. “There is incredible need in general, and in Jerusalem in particular,” she says. 

Local Hadassah chapter co-president Beth Wise says the center will offer many cutting-edge technologies. “The construction and opening of the new Gandel Rehabilitation Center at Hadassah Mount Scopus was greatly accelerated so they could meet the needs of the many war wounded with a host of special treatments including a PTSD center and rehabilitation for neurological problems caused by brain, spinal cord and nervous system injuries,” she says, “This center offers state-of-the-art advances such as ‘walking labs,’ which use computers to analyze motion and detect problems not always apparent in clinical exams, and a therapeutic swimming pool with a modular floor that adapts to each patient's needs.” 

Nashvillians Carol and Larry Hyatt were moved to meet the need in a major way after they attended the Federation sponsored Rabbis’ Report event in February, which followed the rabbi’s mission to Israel. Carol says, “We were inspired by the Pargh’s gift of ambulances, and we thought maybe we’d donate another ambulance.” After speaking with Federation CEO Rabbi Dan Horwitz, they learned about the Gandel Rehabilitation Center and decided to direct their gift to helping to build nurses’ stations for the facility. “The hospital just seemed like something that clearly needed the resources, and they can move up their timetable with these types of donations,” says Carol. 

Larry’s connection to the land of Israel goes back to 1974 when, as a teenager, he spent a semester in Israel. The experience also ignited his passion for volunteering and for Hadassah. “We had to spend Wednesday afternoons volunteering at something, so I volunteered at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem,” he says, “A lot of the patients at that time were IDF soldiers who were rehabbing after being in the Yom Kippur war.” 

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Photos courtesy of Hadassah
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Photos courtesy of Hadassah

This type of gift is just one example of how people are considering a broad array of opportunities to make a difference, and to think outside the box. Horwitz says the Hyatts research into how best to merge their interests with the need is inspiring, “As the leader of an organization that champions Jewish philanthropy, it is both humbling and moving to see folks like Larry and Carol Hyatt so meaningfully align their resources with their values. At a time of crisis for the State of Israel and rising antisemitism here at home, may we be inspired by the Hyatts' example, and recommit our resources, to the best of our abilities, to supporting both our Israeli family and our Jewish Nashville community.” 

Stein agrees and adds since October 7th Hadassah has seen people give in new and different ways. “It’s been an accelerator for families and inspiring to get new supporters.” She says Federations have been a good resource for directing potential donors. “I can’t underscore enough the role Federations have played in unifying people and connecting people in the community to Hadassah.” 

The Hyatts, while preferring to give anonymously, are hopeful that others will learn of the possibilities, the need, and the ease of giving and be inspired. “Just as we were inspired by hearing of the Pargh’s gift, we’re hoping others will be motivated as well.” 

Hadassah of course provides many services to a diverse population. Wise says, “Construction of this $132,600,000 facility has only been made possible by the generosity of Hadassah donors like Carol and Larry who understood the increased need for such services since the start of the war. Hadassah welcomes all donations of any amount to help fund the hospitals as well as the Youth Villages that have taken in many of those who lost their homes in the attacks.”  

For more information about Hadassah, visit www.hadassah.org  

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Photos courtesy of Hadassah
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Photos courtesy of Hadassah

 

 

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