February 28, 2011, 3:50pm, The Forward

By Jordana Horn

Koenig’s forthcoming cookbook

While Forward “Ingredients” columnist Leah Koenig may be a self-taught cook, she has certainly made the most of her education. She is currently an acting associate editor at Saveur magazine, and is the former editor-in-chief of the food and sustainability blog The Jew and the Carrot, which is now a joint project of the Forward and Hazon. She is also the author of “The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook: Daily Meals for the Contemporary Kitchen,” due out March 8. I recently interviewed Koenig about writing a cookbook that is affiliated with a venerable women’s organization, cooking trends in two-career households and what makes this cookbook different from most other Jewish cookbooks on the market.

Jordana Horn: How did your affiliation with Hadassah come about?

Leah Koenig: My mom is a longtime Hadassah member and active in our local chapter in Chicago , so I’ve always felt like Hadassah was, by extension, a part of my life and my Jewish experience. Needless to say, I was really excited and honored to be asked to work on this project. It seemed like such a perfect opportunity to share my love of seasonal cooking and Jewish culture with readers, while working within the framework of this timeless organization.

In the course of working on this cookbook, did you have to read many past Hadassah cookbooks? Did you find any prevailing Hadassah ethos?

I was very aware throughout the process that Hadassah has a significant legacy for publishing beloved Jewish cookbooks —classics, really. For example, I’ve been told that the regional Rochester cookbook from the 1970s is still a mainstay in people’s kitchens, and a common gift for newly married couples. It’s still relevant all these years later.

I did read through several of the older cookbooks — particularly the most recent one, “The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook” [from 2003], and a regional one from Canada published in 1982. My mother-in-law had a copy, and that was the year I was born so she lent it to me. The main thing I learned is that food photography has made serious strides since the 1980s! Seriously though, while food styles and tastes have clearly changed, there seems to be a consistent focus on the importance of cooking as an opportunity to nurture other people, and build stronger communities, which are both things that speak to me.

In your introduction, you mention how most people are “short on time” these days. What are other trends you’ve noticed in modern, perhaps two-career, households in terms of food?

In addition to being short on time, I think there is a lot less general kitchen literacy and comfort in the kitchen than perhaps there once was. I, for example, did not learn how to cook anything beyond grilled cheese and chocolate chip cookies until college, and those first few months in front of the stove were pretty intimidating.

I think people often let their fear of messing up a meal deter them from getting into a daily habit of cooking, and instead rely too heavily on pre-packaged and processed convenience foods. My hope is that new cooks will be inspired by the simple, flavorful dishes in this book, while more experienced cooks will also find dishes that excite them.

To what extent do you think the “daily meal” responsibilities still fall to the proverbial ‘lady of the house’ rather than the man?

Well it varies, of course, from household to household. But although Hadassah is traditionally a women-focused organization, I made a conscious effort to direct this cookbook towards men and women alike. Regardless of one’s gender, the desire to eat fresh, delicious meals without a huge amount of fuss is pretty universal. And everyone has a different definition of what everyday cooking means. Some people find it relaxing to come home after work and spend an hour whipping up a homemade pasta sauce or roasted chicken, while other people can’t be bothered for more than 20 minutes, so I included recipes that accommodate both types of cooks.

You aren’t a professionally trained chef, and the cookbook really attempts to democratize cooking -— explaining how to do things like butterfly a chicken that may not be intuitive for those of us who are less familiar with the kitchen. Was that borne out of your own cooking experience, or is Hadassah attempting to democratize the kitchen?

You’re right, my cooking experience is 100% self-taught, and I am absolutely still learning. While testing recipes for the book, I tried to be hyper-aware of all the little tips and tricks that popped into my head, so that I could share them with readers. The best way to get more comfortable in the kitchen is to cook with other people and learn by osmosis. But if we aren’t lucky enough to have a teacher, the next best thing is to have a book that kind of acts as a stand-in — that little extra helping hand guiding you along the way.

Why is this cookbook different from all other cookbooks?

I think it is different in its combination. There are many everyday cookbooks, Jewish cookbooks, and seasonal cookbooks on the market, but this book actively combines all three. It’s also different from other Hadassah cookbooks in that it does not focus on traditional dishes like brisket and kugel, but is instead an everyday cookbook that pulls from a wide variety of culinary traditions in addition to Jewish cuisine. Still, I think the book ultimately feels really Jewish. It makes the statement, I think that Jewish cooking is more about the intention behind a dish — the love and care that we put into it — than the final dish itself. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s completely true.

Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/135736/#ixzz1FInGo9KB



One hundred foreign doctors are completing fellowships at the Hadassah Medical Center –an experience that dramatically influences how they practice medicine when they return to their home countries.


Currently, the highest number of foreign residents at Hadassah are from Costa Rica and Mexico; the others hail from Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, India, Peru, Romania, Turkey, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia. Ophthalmology and Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine have the most foreign residents, but there are also foreign residents in the departments of Cardiology, Gynecology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Plastic Surgery, and Radiology.


Dr. Sasha Lonchar, a cardiologist from Bosnia , Yugoslavia explains that his country is in the process of rebuilding its medical infrastructure. He looks forward to being a part of that process and practicing the medicine he is now learning at Hadassah.  Dr. Lonchar is especially impressed with the easy interaction and open communication among Hadassah’s doctors, whatever their titles or the hierarchy. “Each of us brings a different approach based on his or her individual culture and experience,” he notes. “Together, we are creating a hybrid approach that results in the best patient care.”


Dr. Samuel Moscovici is a fourth-year resident in the Department of Neurosurgery, who received his medical education in Caracus , Venezuela . “The international flavor of the people we work with and treat makes Hadassah special,” he comments. “Sharing personal and professional experiences gives us all a very humanitarian approach and teaches us how to be better doctors.”


Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Hadassah Medical Center Director General, explains: “Our doctors–superb clinicians and inspired teachers–open their hearts as well as their minds to our overseas students. They teach them, train them, listen to them, and counsel them. When these foreign doctors return home, they take with them advanced medical training and the special spirit they found at Hadassah, promoting health and healing wherever they may be.”


LINK: http://www.hadassahinternational.org/news/article.asp?id=1873

21c – By Abigail Klein Leichman , February 15, 2011

Only about 1.2 million of the world’s 400 million ethnic Arabs live in Israel , yet the sole registry for Arab bone marrow donors is located in Jerusalem .

Dr. Amal Bishara, left, and Dr. Shoshana Israel in the Hadassah tissue typing lab.

Since 2008, Dr. Amal Bishara has traveled to 60 Arab villages in search of cheek-swab samples for the world’s only Arab bone marrow registry, housed at Jerusalem ‘s Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. She has gathered 9,000 samples for the registry, resulting in six life-saving donations.

That might not seem like a lot, considering that about 1.2 million of the world’s roughly 400 million ethnic Arabs live in Israel . But Bishara, who has a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Hadassah, first has to explain the need for a registry of unrelated, anonymous donors. Since Arabs frequently marry relatives, at least 60 percent of those needing marrow find genetic matches within their own extended families.

Using lectures, publicity campaigns, newspaper articles and social media, Bishara has spread the word that the registry is the best means of locating donors for Arabs suffering from blood cancers and a variety of genetic diseases. And her efforts seem to be paying off.

“A small girl needed a transplant recently and our phone did not stop ringing,” Bishara tells ISRAEL21c. “People want to participate. Now my emphasis is on getting university students to join because they are committed, young and healthy.” She’d like to beef up the registry to 50,000 names.

Prof. Chaim Brautbar began Hadassah’s bone marrow registry 22 years ago, and it now includes 75,000 potential Jewish donors. The information is stored in a global registry of about 15 million names, says Dr. Shoshana Israel , head of the registry and Hadassah’s tissue typing laboratory. She says several attempts to convince Arabs to participate had fallen flat until Bishara was brought in.

Donors are angels

“Each ethnic population presents different tissue types, and you have to try to find a population most suitable for each patient,” Israel explains. In the absence of a wide base to choose from among both Jews and Arabs, “the chance of finding donors is very low. So we have to get people aware and tested.”

“We are very excited whenever we find a match,” relates Bishara, who was herself a backup donor for a 24-year-old female patient. “I often accompany donors through the whole process, and it actually changes their lives. One 19-year-old girl said it was the first time she felt she did something good in her life.”

“The donors are really angels,” Israel continues. “Even though it’s not a huge operation, donating is not a trivial thing. Arabs and Jews alike are willing to go through the process just to save the life of someone they don’t know.”

Marrow stem cells today are usually extracted from blood, rather than from bone. After receiving injections to raise their stem cell count, donors are hooked up to an apheresis machine that harvests stem cells as the blood flows from one arm to the other. In cases where actual marrow is needed, it is extracted from a hip bone with a surgical syringe.

Umbilical cord blood registries are also being built up at Hadassah and at Sheba Medical Center from samples banked by the organizations Magen David Adom and Dor Yeshorim, Israel adds.

“If we don’t find a donor from the marrow registry we might do better with cord blood, because it does not require a perfect match. That’s a big advantage for minority populations like the Bedouins, where we don’t have enough donors because we haven’t had the budget to test them.”

A one-woman show

More often than expensive mass recruitment drives, Hadassah puts out calls for donors within the ethnic communities of specific patients. However, general drives would allow for more and faster matching in Israel and other countries where transplants are done.

Bishara runs a virtually one-woman show, and her son or several retired Arab nurses often help with her educational programs and recruitment campaigns. In her presentations, she explains that about 90% of Arab requests for bone marrow transplants are for children with genetic diseases resulting from consanguineous marriages.

“When I explain that because of our unique genetics we only find matches for 10% of the Arab population without a family donor, that convinces people that we need them,” says Bishara. “Once people know [donating] doesn’t harm them, they will be encouraged to join the registry and give a donation if they’re matched.”

All potential donors are made aware that because Arabs and Jews have common ancestors, sometimes an Arab might be a match for a Jew and vice versa. In any case, the identity of the recipient is kept secret. After a year, if the recovered recipient agrees, the donor and recipient are given each other’s contact information.

Hadassah’s was the first Israeli marrow registry, but it is not the biggest – the non-profit Ezer Mizion registry is the largest, with about 500,000 Jewish names. Another small registry is based at Sheba Medical Center, near Tel Aviv.

Group photo of participants in recent West Coast Young Judaea convention. Teens were from CA, AZ, OR, CO, WA, IL and NJ. If you know of teens interested in joining Young Judaea, have them contact Bentzion Wollner at bentzi94@gmail.com

Soraya Nazarian, Past HSC Governing Cabinet Chair, has already posted this to her Facebook Wall and invites everyone to post this.

Dear Friend:

Our world is often filled with uncertainty.
In good and bad times, Hadassah is prepared for any emergency.
Our new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower tells the world:

You can count on us.

Share our video – featuring Natalie Portman – with your friends.


LINK: http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/21584-marijuana-compounds-hold-promise-in-treatment-of-cardiovascular-diseases.html

Jerusalem, Israel–(ENEWSPF)–February 4, 2011.  The active constituents in marijuana influence the cardiovascular system and hold promise in the management of certain cardiovascular diseases, including arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and ischemia, according to a scientific review appearing in the journal Cardiovascular Therapeutics.

Investigators at the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Israel and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston assessed preclinical data on cannabinoids and their role in various cardiovascular pathologies.

They reported: “[T]he endocannabinoid system has a physiological role in the cardiovascular systems. This system is involved in modulating cardiac inflammatory processes, maintaining hemodynamic homeostasis and rhythm control. It is not surprising, therefore, that cannabinoids offers intervention opportunities to alter the course of cardiovascular diseases. Such is the case in ischemic reperfusion injuries, where there is evidence that activating the cannabinoid system may prevent ischemic injuries and arrhythmia. Such is the case in the rhythm control mechanisms, where a few studies indicate potential antiarrhythmic properties for cannabinoids, and such is the case in heart failure.”

Authors concluded, “The evidence of a potential role for cannabinoid in various cardiovascular pathologies, together with the safety data gleaned from various human intervention studies, indicate that now is the time to show efficacy across species and continue toward human trials.”

Full text of the study, “The potential for clinical use of cannabinoids in treatment of cardiovascular diseases,” appears in the journal Cardiovascular Therapeutics <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1755-5922.2010.00233.x/abstract>

LINK: http://www.hadint.org/news/article.asp?id=1865

The Hadassah Medical Center will shortly open an Epilepsy Center to treat children and adults with this debilitating seizure disease, caused by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain.

Dr. Mony Benifla, a pediatric neurosurgeon and one of only two epileptic surgeons in Israel, will head up the Center, which is unique in Israel. “Treating children with epilepsy is different from treating adults,” explains Dr. Benifla, who trained in both pediatric neurosurgery and epilepsy at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. “Children,” he says, “have the advantage of still having a fontanel–the “soft spot” on their heads.” Using a special ultrasound system that he places directly on the fontanel, Dr. Benifla can identify abnormal electrical activity and seek its source. As he expresses, “The fontanel and ultrasound allow me to see into the skull.”  He then determines the relationship of these seizures to the functional areas of the brain with the goal of avoiding permanent damage.

While medications help about 70 percent of epilepsy patients, 30 percent must turn to surgery to achieve relief. The new Epilepsy Center’s multidisciplinary team will address all aspects of the condition– from initial diagnosis to the management of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, including surgery. The Center’s support team will attend to the psychological and social problems that accompany the condition, with special sensitivity to cultural issues.

Israel21c Newsletter, By Harvey Stein , January 11, 2011

In what many consider a global epidemic, more than one million women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Recently, Jerusalem became the 141st city worldwide to host a Susan G Komen Race for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness.

The Koman Foundation, headquartered in Dallas Texas, is the largest breast cancer foundation in the world. It has invested nearly $1.5 billion globally for research, education and treatment.

“We really wanted to empower the women in Israel to know that this is a disease that one can fight and win,” said Rena Riger, Israel Project Coordinator for Komen for the Cure. In partnership with Hadassah International, Komen brought almost 7,000 people, including many from Israel’s Arab communities, to the gathering before the race in Sacher Park in downtown Jerusalem.

During the week of the race, a one-day international think tank organized with Israel’s Weizmann Institute, met to focus on genetic research on the genes involved in breast cancer.

Riger noted that Israel is in the top five countries in the world and a global leader in cancer research.


Israeli study follows 45,000 mothers over 37-year period. Results: Mothers with one child or more than five children die faster than those who have average number of children. Why? Question remains unanswered
Sarit Rosenblum, Ynetnews.com

Many couples come to the crossroads where they need to decide, small family or large one? Now it seems that from certain perspectives, the right path to follow is the one that most people choose – the middle path.

The study took an extremely long time, one of the longest witnessed in medical literature in the field. A team of researchers from the Hebrew University’s School for Public Health in Jerusalem and the Hadassah Ein-Karem Medical Center’s Obstetrics and Gynecology department, examined data collected over 37 years from 45,000 mothers who gave birth to 125,000 babies in the capital.

The final results were amazing: Women who had one child and in contrast, women who had five children or more – were at a significantly higher risk of dying young from various diseases.

Professor Uri Elchalal the director of Hadassah Ein-karem’s clinic for high risk pregnancies, who conducted the study together with Professor Yechiel Friedlander, of the epidemiology unit, offers a possible explanation.

“During pregnancies, the woman’s body goes through extreme physiological changes that take certain resources from the mother and give them to the fetus. This leads to major changes in women’s’ metabolism, and when those parameters accumulate they affect disease and mortality later on in life.”

From the first phases of the study it became clear that as the number of children rose, so did the mortality rates among the mothers. Among those who had one child, mortality rates from various reasons stood at 3.7%, among women with two to four children – 5.7%, among women with five to nine children 13.5% and among women with 10 children or more – 15.4%.

A similar trend was seen in the case of specific mortality reasons, like cancer, diabetes or heart disease. When researchers prepared a ‘survival curve’ based on the data, it was revealed that the odds of survival for women with more than four children are significantly lower than that of women with four children or less.

After researchers neutralized factors that could affect the results – socio-economic factors and the mothers’ personal health issues, the connection was weakened, but it remained pronounced.

The study also found that mothers with just one child also die at an earlier age. “This finding is one that as yet, we can’t explain,” admits Dr. Uri Dior an intern at Hadassah Ein-Karem’s Obstetrics and Gynecology department.

“One of the hypotheses is that the initial physical condition of a woman with one child is not as good as that of the other women. Another is derived from theories that deliberate over the support children give parents when the parents can no longer care for themselves, but other theories claim the exact opposite.”

Overcrowding has again become an issue in Israeli hospitals, which are reporting an unprecedented number of admissions as patients suffer complications from typical winter diseases.

By Dan Even

Jan. 4, 2011 – Overcrowding has again become an issue in Israeli hospitals, which are reporting an unprecedented number of admissions as patients suffer complications from typical winter diseases. For the Health Ministry the crisis is an ongoing one, which reached a peak last year.

According to the ministry, people hospitalized in internal medicine hallways amount to 70,000 patient-days yearly. On Sunday this week, hospitals in the country averaged 107 percent general occupancy, including 114 percent in internal medicine departments and 111 percent in children’s wards. Record high rates were documented at Jerusalem ‘s Hadassah University Hospital , Ein Karem (173 percent ) and Hadassah University Hospital , Mount Scopus (159 per cent ), Laniado Hospital in Netanya (158 per cent ), Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem (148 per cent ), Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot (149 percent ) and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon (136 per cent ). On children’s wards, records reached 188 percent at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon (175 percent ), Hadassah Ein Karem (168 percent ), Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Tzrifin, Schneider Children’s Medical Center and Shaare Zedek (all 154 percent ).

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has reached an agreement with the treasury for the gradual addition of 960 new beds over the next six years, in an attempt to deal with the severe crowding. The increase is a dramatic one, although not all hospitals are prepared, and it is not clear whether the addition will lead to the disappearance of the practice of hospitalizing patients in hallways. We spoke to Dr. Hezi Levy, head of the Health Ministry’s medical administration, which is responsible for hospitalization nationwide, about this matter.

Dr. Levy, can we stop hospitalizing patients in hallways?

The Health Ministry convened a committee to examine the lack of hospital beds, after which the deputy minister and the director agreed to add 960 more over the next six years, including additions to internal medicine, premature baby and intensive care wards. These additional beds will be accompanied by an addition of relevant staff members. With an increase in beds and infrastructure, it is possible to deal with the phenomenon of patients hospitalized in hallways, although in winter here, as in many places in the world, we expect the crowding to continue.

The increase in beds can provide support in the short run only. At the same time we are working on a strategic plan and to establish a planning body to build up hospital infrastructures by 2020, which includes the number of beds, innovative technologies and additional personnel.

The treasury claims that the hospitals have an interest in placing patients in corridors, in order to receive more positions for workers, and also because the cost of such hospitalization is low.

Hospitals have an interest in treating patients, and not in putting them in hallways. If we look at Israel in relation to the rest of the world, we see several phenomena that contradict the treasury’s claim. The number of beds available for hospitalization in Israel stands at 1.95 for every 1,000 people – almost in last place, before Mexico , in comparison with Western countries. The average length of a hospital stay is four days – one of the shortest in the West. How does this sit with the claim that hospitals want to hospitalize patients? The director of the Health Ministry told the hospitals that he cannot cope with over 120 percent capacity, because this damages the quality of care, and he is working to bring this figure down. So it cannot be said that hospitals like Barzilai are interested in putting 56 patients in a ward built for 36. This is nonsense.

Is there sufficient infrastructure to enable the addition of beds? Where will the patients who were previously placed in hallways be hospitalized?

Some hospitals already have room to add wards. There has been construction in recent years, and we worked to build more, looking ahead to a larger population and the need to add beds in future. But it is true that some hospitals lack sufficient infrastructure. If we have to build for each bed we add, we will see results only in another three years, at the least. And so the first step is to add beds to hospitals that can use them in their existing structures.

Will the planned addition of beds lead to additional staff, or are we talking about the addition of beds alone?

Another committee at the Health Ministry, which has just completed its work, examined the existing standards for hospitals here. They are archaic, having been established more than 30 years ago, although there have been significant improvements in hospitalization conditions since. The committee recommended additional doctors, without any connection to the addition of beds. We have not yet begun negotiating with the treasury on this matter, but we will soon.

The Finance Ministry has lately been emphasizing the worldwide trend in community clinics as an answer to providing some hospital services. Are you working to provide such a solution to the diseases common in winter?

Of course the community is important too, and the Health Ministry is working to find solutions in the community to take the place of hospitalization, especially in the case of chronic illnesses. About diseases that occur in winter, I believe that family doctors located in the community are trained to recognize in which situations the patient can be treated at home with a warm blanket, chicken soup and paracetamol, and which should be hospitalized.

It was reported yesterday that at the Haemek Hospital in Afula patients waited more than a day in the emergency room due to overcrowding and a lack of beds in the internal medicine ward. Are you aware of this?

Emergency room wards have always existed, and it is possible to treat patients there. The current crowded conditions means that some patients spent more time there than planned, but it should be noted that these patients receive medical care. At the same time, of course emergency rooms do not offer the same conditions of a general hospital ward, and the addition of new beds will help to deal with this phenomenon.

How much is the negotiation over beds connected to the negotiation between the medical union and the treasury over doctors’ salaries in the public sector?

Fate would have it that they are taking place at the same time, but they are not connected. Increasing the number of beds is part of the Health Ministry’s job to treat core issues, and to organize the hospitalization system in the country. Beyond this, the ministry, as a regulator and an employer, takes part in negotiations on salaries, and some of these topics will be raised there too.

Is the current winter worse, in terms of morbidity, compared to previous ones?

The rise in hospital overcrowding reported this week is connected to the seasonal rise in winter diseases, but also, unfortunately, to the low rate of response to the flu vaccination campaign. We believe that the flu vaccine is one of the strongest means to prevent getting the flu. Among adults, there is a reasonable response [to the request that they be vaccinated], but among children under five – considered a high risk group by the ministry, which has for the second consecutive year called on parents to vaccinate them – there has been a decrease in response and less than 20 percent have been vaccinated.

In some age groups, the number of vaccinated people falls to a single digit. There was a sort of illusion that there would be no winter this year, and people were not falling ill, but now the flu is here and it is still possible to be vaccinated. The shot this year works against seasonal flu as well as swine flu.