Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

The hospital called Tsriffin

This morning I had an interesting experience  at Tel Hashomer Hospital.
The hospital was established in 1948 as Israel’s first military hospital, to treat casualties of Israel’s War of Interdependence. It was founded in a cluster of abandoned military barracks from the Mandate era, and was originally known as Army Hospital No.l.

The area was called originally SARAFAND and in hebrew, Tsriffin. I  had always thought that because a wooden hut was known as a tsrif ,this was how it got that name.

However my son who’s English,Hebrew and Arabic are better than mine,put me right!

The last time I was actually at Sheba Hospital(most Israeli hospitals are also, named after famous medical practitioners) was  as Director of Britain Israel Public Affairs Center  in Tel Aviv. In the eighties, I took a group of  British Medical Journalists who were  interested in Israel’s rehabilitation prowess, to see for themselves.

At 11 am,  I was collected by taxi from my home. When we entered the  hospital grounds I was stunned by the the number of buildings and the ambiance.

I had been called by a young woman called Shon. She had contacted me after  Nechama, a mutual friend had suggested that I might be a suitable candidate for trials,which were connected to balance. I think the first time I had visited the hospital years back was when the same Nechamas’ grandmother Bessie, was there.She in fact was in one of the original barrack buildings on the ground floor and spoke to us through the window.She was an amazing woman who had come to the country in the 1920’s.

Shon who’s name really described her,  met me at the main entrance and escorted me up to the Centre of Advanced Technologies in Rehabilitation. In short CATR.

On arriving at the Centre I was introduced to Amit, an equally charming young man and together we went through the procedure.

All I actually had to do, was to walk in a straight line and respond to certain directives while they watched me.

One, was counting from 100 and deducting, while walking.

I am always rather nervous whilst doing tests which relate to awareness.  Also since I tend to translate from Ivrit to English in my mind, I requested that they would use English.At an advanced age when one is as I am fortunate to have all my faculties,one is also extremely hesitant when challenged.

One does not want under any circumstances to end up as a burden on the family. However at the same time one knows that that day is not far away. So since everyone I meet thinks I am still up to any challenge, when its concerned directly with my health I tend to be reluctant.

The Horowitz clinic of Kupat Holim Klalit which I attend locally, can be described as 5 star. I am fortunate to have a caring and delightful Doctor who could be my son. All of the staff without exception,are charming and helpful.  Aviva the head of the Pharmacy and my physiotherapists Fadhi and Liran who have the patience of saints, also the nurses, are so caring and reassuring.

So now, I am awaiting the results of this test not anxiously as I know that indeed I have a congenital balance problem as did my mother.Also, both of us suffered from Osteoporosis.

I have in the past few years broken many bones but I am still dancing, to the chagrin of my physiotherapists.I hasten to say I have not as yet broken any bones whilst dancing. I need to dance it gives me energy and an emotional uplift as nothing else does.

So in the midst of this solitary period of Corona at least today I felt like a human being and grateful to know that Israel’s services which are stretched to the limit, are filled with generous capable and dedicated human beings.

God Bless them all and Shabbat Shalom to everyone.

About the Author
Zelda Harris first came to Israel 1949, aged 18. After living through the hardships of the nascent state, she returned to England in 1966. She was a founding member of the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1978, she returned with her family to Israel and has been active in various spheres of Israeli Society since. Together with the late Chaim Herzog, she founded CCC for Electoral Reform, was the Director of BIPAC in Israel, and a co-founder of Metuna, the Organisation for Road Safety, which received the Speaker of Knesset Quality of Life Award for saving lives on the roads and prevention of serious injury. She is now a peace activist, blogger for Times of Israel and is writing her life story.