(The 5th Maimonides Medical Delegation to Israel took place March 5-9. Following are the impressions and insights of delegation co-chair and national board member Dr. Andrew Hutter)
From March 5-9, 24 physicians, many accompanied by spouses, spent an exciting four and a half days touring Israel from north to south as members of the 5th Israel Bonds Maimonides Delegation. I was proud to co-chair the delegation with Dr. Burton Herbstman.
We began at the Elma Art and Music Resort near Zichron Yaakov, where we were welcomed by Bonds President and CEO Israel Maimon. The next day, we explored the north, beginning at Kfar Tikva, a kibbutz for mentally challenged adults, meeting with many residents and the management team.The entire community embraces the residents, many of whom work at local businesses.
Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman speaks to the delegation at Hala: the Rachel Nash
Jerusalem Comprehensive Breast Clinic
We then proceeded to the Tulip Winery, after which we traveled to the Poriya Medical Center
, viewing its state-of-the-art emergency room and undergtround hospital for use in case of missile attacks..The doctors then broke into groups to meet with their peers, based on specialty.
Visiting Poryia, a state-of-the-art emergency room and underground hospital
The chairman of orthopedics was an Israeli Arab, who introduced the orthopedic surgeons in our group to a patient from Syria suffering shrapnel injuries to one leg and a below-the-knee amputation on the other. He was awaiting fitting for his prosthesis and seemed very appreciative of the care he received. We completed our tour of the north by meeting with IDF Colonel (Res.) Kobi Maron of the Golani Brigade in the Golan Heights.
Observing training for IDF combat medics
Tuesday was spent in Tel Aviv, viewing the medical simulator at Tel Hashomer Sheba Medical Center and attending the MEDinISRAELl convention to see new medical hi-tech innovations.
The delegation's clear highlight came at Halutza, a true pioneer community just 450 yards from the Egyptian border and only a few miles from Gaza. We saw the brand-new medical center that will provide basic medical services for the community, thus avoiding traveling over an hour to Beersheba for treatment. We also saw the community’s hi-tech farming, which is not only turning the desert green, but also creating a successful agricultural hub growing many different fruits and vegetables. Additionally, there was a yeshiva in Halutza for children with ADHD who work the fields in the morning and attend classes in the afternoon.
Delegates gather for a group photo at the southern border community of Halutza
The trip ended in Jerusalem, where we packed Shaloch Manot baskets at Ohr Meir and Bracha, an organization supporting over 400 families who were victims of terror. We then proceeded to Hala: the Rachel Nash Jerusalem Comprehensive Breast Clinic, to view state-of-the-art breast cancer detection and screening, where women can get testing, and, if necessary, a biopsy done in a single day. While at Hala, we had the honor of meeting with Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litman.
Preparing to wrap gift baskets at Ohr Meir and Bracha, an organization supporting
victims of terror attacks
Following the closing dinner, the group dispersed, some to return home and others to enjoy a few extra days in Israel. Great bonding experiences were had among the participants, all of whom pledged to share the story of this great country.