Building a Healthy Future
10 August 2018
At the heart of every Jewish Simcha is the desire for continuity and growth.
Whether it’s a birth, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a wedding or one of the other events that punctuate our lives, the underlying theme is consistent: our quest for a healthy and thriving future.
The Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek celebrated its own Simcha this year. The annual Shabbat Nachamu Appeal at the end of July was an outstanding success. Volunteers of all ages including a strong contingent of Bnei Akiva madrichim, and 3 generations of one family, assembled to call donors and to raise funds for a state of the art Gene Sequencer for the hospital in Jerusalem.
Clinical Geneticist Professor Agnes Bankier OAM, Deputy Chair of the AFSZ Inc says, “The Gene Sequencer enables Shaare Zedek Medical Centre to analyse millions of molecules at once. The ability to screen for genetic mutations enables us to help parents who are both carriers of genetic disease to have healthy children through IVF, helps people who are genetically predisposed to heart disease or certain cancers to take preventative steps, and enables us to provide personalised targeted treatment with a far higher success rate.”
During the day, Beth Rivkah tzedakah captains brought in their earnings from a recent school fundraiser. Generous donors matched the community donations, and as the day progressed, record breaking donations were recorded.
Director General of Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, Jonathan Halevy was watching the activity from Israel and was impressed. He sent the following message:
“Dear Australian Friends,
We were very excited to see that you reached your ambitious fundraising goal during the recent Shabbat Nachamu campaign!
Each year we are more and more impressed by the passion and excitement that you bring to this project.
It is so encouraging to witness the friendship and caring between your community and Shaare Zedek and you should all know that your support comes at a particularly important time of development for the hospital.
On behalf of the countless people who will benefit from your efforts, we wish you all a huge YASHAR KOACH and we look forward to continuing to work together for many years in strengthening Jerusalem and Israel.
Prof. Jonathan Halevy”
The project was rendered even more meaningful by the fact that the Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek chose to dedicate this vital piece of equipment to the memory of Ron Tatarka, Z”L a generous and gracious benefactor of AFSZ for many years. His family and friends rallied around the cause which was a fitting tribute to such an outstanding individual.
Agi says, “The next step in this process is to apply the ground breaking research that has emerged from Shaare Zedek to improve the health of the Australian Jewish Community.
“It was Shaare Zedek’s Medical Genetics Unit that discovered the high carrier rate of BRCA 1 and 2 gene mutations in people of Ashkenazi origin that predisposed people to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers. We will shortly begin a research project checking or BRCA mutations in Melbourne and Sydney to enable our local community to take advantage of these discoveries.”
“The Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek would like to take this opportunity to thank the Australian Community for so generously embracing this campaign. Thanks for your donations. We look forward to a healthy future for both the local community and our brothers and sisters in Israel.
“There can be no better Simcha than this.”