Ninety-five years ago today, 26 years before the establishment of the modern state of Israel, the first class of women in the land of Israel graduated with their nursing degrees. The 22 women earned their degrees at the Nurses’ Training Institute at Rothschild Hospital in Jerusalem.
At that time, vocational opportunities for women were slim and medical needs in the area were great and growing. These nursing students went on to work in Hadassah-run hospitals throughout Israel, many becoming leaders in the medical profession.
We love the words spoken to them at their graduation ceremony:
Addressing the graduates, the school’s founder Henrietta Szold remarked, “”What do I ask of you on this solemn occasion? That you strive to reach the high ideal set before you by your noble profession. And on this joyous occasion what wishes do I send after you on the path on which your feet are set? That you approach the ideal so closely that those who follow may look up to you as models, at once ‘trained nurses’ and ‘Sisters of Mercy’ - that combination of the strong and the sweet, of intellect and sentiment, of knowledge and sympathy, which is the finest flower of human culture.”
The Fellowship is proud to have supported nurse- and nurse’s-aid-training programs throughout Israel over the years.