Rabin Medical Center Hosts Senior Religious Leaders Interfaith Mission to Israel

Standing in unity together are the senior clergy from New York along side Dr. Abeer Massarwa one of the first Israeli-Arab female gynecologists. Pictured from L-R are Rabbi Jonathan Stein, Temple Shaaray Tefila; Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, Park Avenue Synagogue; Reverend Stephen Phelps, The Riverside Church; Reverend Dr. James Kowalski, Cathedral Church St. John the Divine; Reverend Stephen Bauman, Christ Church; Reverend Brenda Husson, St. James Episcopal Church; Reverend Galen Guengerich, All Souls Unitarian Church; Reverend Shari Brink, Marble Collegiate Church; Father Robert Robbins, Church of the Holy Family at the United Nations Parish; Physician from Rabin Medical Center; Reverend Dr. William Heisley, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church; Dr. Abeer Massarwa; Physician from Rabin Medical Center; Imam Dr. Muhammad Hatim, Admiral Family Circle Islamic Community; Sheikh Dr. Ibrahim Abdul-Malik, Fairleigh Dickinson University; Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, Central Synagogue; Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein, B'nai Jeshurun Congregation; and Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.

Rabin Medical Center recently hosted the Senior Religious Leaders Interfaith Mission to Israel which was led by Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York. The delegation included 16 of the most prominent religious leaders of New York City, including eight ministers, six rabbis and two imams whose main goal was to learn about religious coexistence in Israel. Throughout their stay they met with organizations and leaders promoting peace, coexistence and inter-religious dialogue.

It was no coincidence that Rabin Medical Center was the mission's only visit to a formal health related facility. The mission was hosted by Dr. Eyran Halpern, CEO of Rabin Medical Center, who provided the delegation with information about the excellent medical care and state of the art technologies at the hospital and stressed that in the area of medical care all Israelis, Arabs, Christians and Jews, are treated equally both among patients and staff, which is a microcosm of the Israeli society.  He also spoke of the medical care which is given at Rabin Medical Center to Palestinians who are referred by the Palestinian Health Authority, which is responsible for these patients' care.

Dr. Abeer Massawara, an Israeli of Arab descent from the city of Taibe who is completing her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, coordinates the female patients who are treated at the Women's Hospital. She spoke to the delegation and gave several examples of women who were brought from Gaza due to serious medical complications during pregnancy and the importance of being able to speak their language and understand their culture. In 2011 Rabin Medical Center provided many Palestinians medical care in all areas of medicine, saving many lives.

During their visit the delegation also heard a presentation from Prof. Mordechai Shohat, head of Rabin Medical Center's Genetic Institute, about his work for over ten years with the Arab village of Jezel Al Zaka where there was an amazingly high percentage of children born with nonspecific mental retardation. Thanks to his work they have since indentified the gene causing this mutation as well as four other genetic mutations. Almost all couples in this village now undergoes screening before marriage and Prof. Shohat and his team have truly made a difference in this community, significantly decreasing the number of babies born with these genetic diseases.

In addition Dr. Dror Dicker, head of one of the departments of medicine at Rabin Medical Center's Hasharon Hospital and head of the clinic for obesity and hypertension, spoke about his department's collaboration with a diabetes medical clinic in the Arab Israeli town of Jaljulia coordinated by Dr. Abo-Salook Mahmud, a physician in the department. This project, which was sponsored by an American Friends of Rabin Medical Center donor, provides important guidance and training for the medical staff of the Jaljulia Clinic in the treatment of their pre-diabetic and diabetic patients. Diabetes, a worldwide epidemic, is especially prevalent in Israel among Arab Israeli women. This program has been instrumental in providing life-changing skills which can help prevent diabetes as well as teach patients how to manage their disease, improving their condition and quality of life.

The Senior Religious Leaders Interfaith Mission to Israel included Shaykh Ibrahim Abdul-Malik, Ph.D. of the Imams Council of New York, Reverend Stephen Bauman of Christ Church, Reverend Shari Brink of Church Benevolence and Auburn Seminary, Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein of B'nai Jeshurun, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, Ph.D. of Park Avenue Synagogue, Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman of Union Temple, Reverend Galen Guengerich of All Souls Unitarian Church, Reverend Dr. William Heisley of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Reverend Brenda Husson of St. James', Reverend Dr. james Kowalski of Cathedral Church of St. John the Devine, Reverend Stephen Phelps of Riverside Church, Reverend Robert Robbins of Church of the Holy Family, Rabbi Peter Rubinstein of Central Synagogue, Rabbi Jonathan Stein of Temple Shaaray Tefila and Imam Muhammad Hatim, Ph.D. of Admiral Family Circle Islamic Community.

Rabin Medical Center was proud to host this delegation and look forward to continued cooperation with the Senior Religious Leaders Interfaith Mission to Israel in projects which promote equality and co-existence among all citizens of Israel.

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