Hadassah hits new heights
Hadassah's centennial event will reach new heights with the dedication of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower.
Marcie Natan with mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat Photo: courtesy of Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization
One of the most important events of the Hadassah Centennial celebrations in
Jerusalem will be the dedication of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower in
the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital campus.
The Tower is Hadassah’s most
ambitious project in Israel to date, at a cost of $363 million.
fully completed in 2013, it will be not only one of the most technologically
advanced hospitals in the world but also one of the most comfortable for
The story of the TOWER began in 2005, when the women of
Hadassah completed the Swartz Center for Emergency Medicine. It was becoming
clear that the Hadassah Ein Kerem round building, completed in 1960, was
outdated. It was crowded, with five, and sometimes more patients to a room, with
beds in the corridors. It was difficult to adapt the building to the exigencies
of advanced medical technologies, especially in robotic
Consequently, the Hadassah leadership in the US decided it was
time to build a new hospital. By 2005 the plans were ready, and the actual
construction work got underway in 2007. The Tower is a carefully conceived,
modern energy-efficient inpatient facility that will integrate Hadassah’s
dedication to healing with science’s most sophisticated developing medical
The project was a tremendous financial commitment for
Hadassah, but there were no second thoughts. Hadassah was fortunate that Judy
and Sidney Swartz, major donors to Hadassah themselves, agreed to become
campaign managers for the project. Their drive, dedication and wide range of
contacts soon brought results.
They received a very large donation of $75
million from Bill and Karen Davidson of Detroit. The generous donation was the
financial cornerstone of the project, and the new building is named after Bill
Davidson’s mother, Sarah Wetsman Davidson, who hosted Henrietta Szold in Detroit
when she visited in 1916 and who founded the Detroit Chapter of Hadassah. Later,
the family donated a further $12.5 million toward the completion of the
The Swartz's with the help of partners from all over the United
States and in countries around the world, received additional donations, large and small.
both on major donors and grassroots support from its 330,000 American members,
male associates and Hadassah-International supporters.
“Our mothers and
grandmothers helped build the State of Israel and started Hadassah,” says Judy
Swartz. “Now it is our generation's, our children’s and grandchildren’s,
responsibility to accomplish the dream that is the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower.
We are confident that when, on October 16TH, we dedicate our glorious
accomplishment, we will all be overwhelmed with pride. For nearly 100 years
Hadassah has set the standard for health care in the Middle East. Today, the
Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower is the largest building project in Israel. Tomorrow
it will touch countless lives with the precious gifts of health and
The Tower is indeed large, with a floor area of 90,000 square
meters, or approximately one million square feet. It has 19 floors – five below
ground and 14 above.
It will contain 530 fully equipped beds in spacious
rooms designed to accommodate one or two patients, each room with its own
panoramic view of the Judean Hills. Two-thirds of the rooms will have two beds,
while the remaining one-third will have one. There will be an additional 60 intensive care beds, with four beds to a room and
The Tower is designed with the comfort and
well-being of the patients as a main concern. There will be no beds in the
corridors, which were built narrow to avoid this temptation. (narrowly built on
purpose.) The entrance to the Tower looks more like a five-star hotel than a
hospital. And in many ways, the hospital rooms resemble hotel rooms. They have
large digital TV screens, with cable broadcasts and Internet access. Patients
can order their meals through this Internet connection. In every room, each
patient has a safe in which to store valuables. In addition, all the rooms
(will) have scenic views of the surrounding Judean Hills.
features what the designers call “healing gardens.” These are three
internal winter gardens, one of which will be visible from any part of the
building. The rooms and the gardens provide a very comfortable and pleasant
atmosphere for patients and their families.
While the new Tower was
designed with the ultimate comfort of the patient in mind, it was also designed
as a modern technologically advanced medical institution adapted to the security
situation in Jerusalem. It will have 20 advanced operating rooms situated in a
secure and protected location four floors below ground.
The Tower will
also have facilities in innovative areas in which Hadassah hospital staff have
already made significant breakthroughs, such as minimally invasive surgery,
telemedicine, computer-assisted procedures and medical robotics.