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Patricia Levinson
Board Member, Hadassah International

Hadassah Medical Organization Answers Ukraine’s Call for Help

Hadassah doctors in Lublin examining their new “Hadassah Medical Humanitarian Mission” safety vests. Photo courtesy of Hadassah.

A team of doctors from the Hadassah Medical Organization has arrived in Lublin in southern Poland, near the border Ukrainian refugees are crossing by the tens of thousands. Hadassah has extensive experience organizing and running humanitarian missions around the world, and once again, our doctors are on the ground helping the injured and traumatized.

The medical team, which is working with the University Hospital of Lublin, brings an intimate knowledge of wartime medicine and the physical and human infrastructure needed to handle sudden large influxes of patients. The Hadassah doctors will share their experience with the local medical teams on how to triage trauma patients.

The doctors will also work with the Lublin hospital to assess the resources and personnel that will be needed to treat the Ukrainian refugees, whose swelling numbers may soon stretch the hospital’s capacity to its limit.

At the same time, the first Ukrainian patients – a family with severe injuries – have arrived at the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem for treatment.

I am proud to be a Hadassah volunteer and leader, both here in the US and internationally, and will be working diligently over the next few weeks to support this humanitarian mission to help the Ukrainian people. You can follow Hadassah’s daily updates from Poland on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

This week, as I helped lead 50 of my neighbors here in St Petersburg, FL, in a special ecumenical prayer service for the people of Ukraine, I proudly wore the gold necklace that had been passed down to me by my Ukrainian great grandmother, Henna Kaplan. As we prayed, I reminded those assembled of the words of Leviticus 19:16: “Do not stand idly by while your neighbors’ blood is shed.”

The President of the Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has taken this message to heart. He is standing tall for freedom and democracy. As an American and a Jew, it is impossible for me not to feel proud of the courage and dignity Zelensky has shown in the face of overwhelming odds. It is empowering to see a modern Jewish president and a Holocaust descendent fight for his country in this way.

At the prayer service, we prayed together for a peaceful end to the conflict, but we know that prayer is not enough. Jewish tradition teaches that it is incumbent upon each of us to do whatever we can to make the world a better place. In this crisis, the world is taking that concept to heart, and people are looking for meaningful ways to help the people of Ukraine.

Zelensky is a hero of modern times. May God give him the strength to save his country and his people, and may God give us all the courage and determination to continue to speak up and support the Ukrainian people in their time of need.

To help Hadassah provide urgent medical care for Ukrainian refugees, click here.

About the Author
Patricia Levinson, Chair of Hadassah International Communications, a member of the Honorary Council of the HWZOA Board of Directors, Hadassah International Communications Chair, and a member of the Hadassah International Board of Directors, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. A biochemist, she moved to Israel in 1966 with her husband, working at the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 1970, the Levinson family moved to Schenectady, New York. Patricia immediately became involved with Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America Inc. (HWZOA), moving through the ranks with multiple leadership responsibilities, including working with Hadassah International in the communications area since 2002. She has served on the National Board of Directors/National Assembly of HWZOA for 32 years, and on the Board of Directors of Hadassah International for three years. In 1992, Patricia received her MBA from the State University of New York at Albany, majoring in Marketing and Communications. Patricia lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.
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