As 2016 comes to a close, we at Haverut are taking a moment to reflect. The past year has been one of tremendous growth. From our expanding programs, strengthening ties with hospitals, to collaborating with medical staff and deepening the connection between our volunteers and patients; this has been a year of remarkable development for Haverut. This is also an exciting time for Haverut as we move into the organization’s tenth year. It is thanks to you and the dedication of the staff and volunteers of Haverut that we have been able to create and sustain a presence and make a positive impact in so many lives.
When I started Haverut in 2007, I had a dream of creating meaningful encounters between all those in the medical system with the belief that we are as strong as the sum of our parts. I also deeply believed (and still do) in the healing power an individual feels when they are not alone on their journey. Haverut has accomplished so much within the Israeli medical system because we acknowledge the profound need all beings have to be connected and supported during difficult times. It is with great pride that over the course of the last year we have expanded to working with more hospitals, medical wards and Federation partnerships.
The following are just of the few Haverut highlights from 2016.
– Our Healing Musicians Program has expanded. We have a presence in 4 hospitals, 10 medical wards and have added 4 more incredible musicians.
– The UJA has sponsored us so we could create a pilot Mechinot Program for pre-army students. This program is about creating a new model of Israeli leadership for the next generation. This brand of leadership includes the qualities of care, generosity, personal prayer and compassion. In these times of conflict in Israel, we see a great need for these types of leaders.
– In April we collaborated with The Oman School of Higher Education for the Arts on our bi-annual Dress For Her event for the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Passover. This event of female empowerment brings the Ultra-Orthodox students of Oman and the elderly women of the Psycho-Geriatric Department of Kfar Shaul Mental Health Facility ward together. Together the students and woman design and make individual dresses and create an evening of beauty, celebration and laughter where each woman can present their dress in a fashion show.
– We created a yearlong course for the Palliative Care staff of Sheba Hospital. This interdisciplinary group met once a month for workshops exploring themes on restoring the caregiver’s spirit. In addition, we held a powerful two-day retreat for the staff.
– In Loving memory of Amy Haber, the Haber family has made a donation for us to create the Healing Music CD that we will proudly share with you once it is complete.
– The Prescriptions for Life program and booklet has been created as a way to create a welcoming and creative environment once a child has been admitted into the hospital. The program was a designed in a collaborative effort between Haverut and the hospital staff who were able to identify the needs of the children entering their wards. The Prescriptions for Life booklet is also an excellent tool in maintaining interaction with the children after their release from the hospital. The images, quotes and activities in the booklet are universal and appropriate for children and families of all faiths and denominations.
Haverut in the Galilee grew as well this year thanks to the Russell Berrie Foundation.
Music, art, spiritual support and workshops for professionals are becoming part of the services in the hospital.
Before I conclude this letter, I would like to share the following story and picture with you of an encounter that happened just the other day in the Oncology ward. Two of our volunteer medical students Noora and Arinee were working in the common area when an elderly gentleman by the name of Itzhik approached them and inquired what they were doing. Noora and Arinee explained that they were volunteers with Haverut and invited him to join them. Itzhik obliged and told them he was “new to the club,” meaning he had cancer. He began tell the ladies how his doctors were encouraging him to get treatment and then said “ but what’s a little cancer compared to what I’ve been through.” Itzhik then opened up and shared his story of surviving the Holocaust. Afterwards, Itzhik remarked, “this is the nicest thing I’ve seen in the hospital.” Naturally Noora and Arinee were touched by this encounter and shared it with me and I with equal warmth now share it with you.
This exchange along with thousands of other meaningful moments between strangers is the power of Haverut. By seeing the individual as whole and an essential part of the collective is what allows one the inspiration to heal. For two Arab volunteers to enable Itzhik, a Holocaust survivor a brief reprieve from his health challenges encouraging him to connect and share is at the core of the Haverut philosophy. We must remember we are all a part of the whole and it is through our connections that healing will begin.
In the past 10 years of Haverut, we have influenced and created a holistic, healing presence in 6 hospitals throughout Israel and have created meaningful encounters just like the one between Itzhik, Norra and Arinee. We have united with more than 500,000 people whose lives have been touched by Haverut’s presence in the medical health care system.
We feel deeply humbled and honored that you have been a part of Haverut’s journey and hope that together we can continue to create health together in 2017.
May we all be blessed in the year to come.
Rachel and the Haverut staff
Donations can be sent to:
PEF Israel Endowment Funds
630 3rd Ave
Gifts are Tax deductible