Israel’s President Isaac Herzog and Mrs. Michal Herzog visited Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem yesterday. The presidential couple delivered Mishloach Manot (food baskets) to patients in the Wilf Children’s Hospital.
The President and his wife also met and thanked representatives from the medical, paramedical, and administrative branches of the hospital, where staff members shared their personal and professional experiences, and challenges from the past two years, defined by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The visit, which was hosted by Shaare Zedek’s Director General Prof. Ofer Merin and Shaare Zedek’s President Prof. Jonathan Halevy, opened with an emotional stop in the hospital’s Lesley & Leon Berman Paediatric Dialysis Unit, where the group visited patients, and experienced a musical performance by Israeli musician Ishay Ribo. Ribo’s performance was made possible through the initiative of the Tikva U’Marpeh, an organization that provides entertaining and enriching programs to children treated in the unit.
To honour the visit, children in the unit presented President Herzog with a specially designed 3D printing of the Israeli Knesset. They created this together with Nina Chai, an Art Therapist working in Shaare Zedek’s Lincoln David Abraham Paediatric Educational Institute.
Prof. Merin thanked the President and his wife for their visit saying, “since the very first Jerusalem COVID-19 patient came to Shaare Zedek, and over all the five waves, we were on the front lines with our staff proving their dedication each and every hour of every day. Beyond the professional challenges that defined this period, this pandemic introduced unprecedented personal stresses defined by distancing from families, and a constant fear of infecting others. Here, in the presence of our nation’s President, we again welcome the chance to thank all of you for your remarkable dedication and passion for your work, and our patients, and we thank President Herzog for this visit which proves his support for our daily investment on behalf of the people of Jerusalem and Israel.”
In his address to staff, President Herzog said, “the diverse religious and ethnic makeup of this hospital proves that everyone is created in the image of G-d and that is a reality that can be seen every day in your medical care. You should know that your dedication is deeply appreciated, and no one can ever underestimate your commitment to life-saving and life-improving care. I particularly want to congratulate Shaare Zedek on 120 years of service to our community which benefits not just Jerusalem but our entire nation.”
Mrs. Herzog added, “one of the most moving aspects of this hospital is the sense of collective pride. And while I know that the past two years were incredibly difficult, I firmly believe that what has allowed you to thrive and succeed on behalf of your patients is that sense of unity that inspires and motivates you at both the happy times and no less so during the challenging ones.”
Dr. Yigal Helvitz, a Senior Physician in the Intensive Care Unit remarked, “our medical teams have worked so hard over the past two years, and we were able to save many lives as a result of that commitment which is indeed a mark of immense pride for Shaare Zedek.”
On the occasion of International Social Work Day (which took place on Tuesday, March 15th), Dafna Kammer, a Social Worker in the Weinstock Department of Emergency Medicine said, “this period reinforced for us the importance of emotionally supporting our patients and their families, and the ways that we were able to help our patients were the source of so much pride and strength, even on those toughest of days.”
This was a lovely visit that was deeply appreciated by both staff and patients.