Friday, February 14, 2014

Hadassah and Purim Katan

Today is Purim Katan, the 14th of Adar I. I just read an article about the crisis taking place at the Hadassah hospitals here in Jerusalem:
The strike at the Hadassah hospitals in Jerusalem is expected to continue on Friday and workers are threatening further action as of Sunday.

A meeting on Thursday evening between representatives of the Histadrut labor union, the employees and the Hadassah board of trustees ended with no results.

The Histadrut subsequently announced that Hadassah employees will continue to operate on a Shabbat schedule on Friday as well.

The workers are demanding that their January salaries be paid in full by Sunday, or they will take further strike actions.

The Hadassah strike began at both Hadassah Ein-Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus medical centers, as a backlash against the Finance Ministry for stalling in negotiations to expand the hospital's budget. The budget cuts have been hurting patients, according to the staff, and the staff is reeling after a month on half-pay.

The ongoing strike at has already driven several senior members of both Hadassah Ein Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus to quit, fed up over the hospital's inability to compensate for missing wages and frustrated over the tedious negotiations.

This week, protests erupted outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, with demonstrators demanding that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yael German intervene to end the strike.

It is quite unfortunate to see these great institutions on their knees. I was wondering what the mother organization, Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, had to say about the situation. While browsing their web site, I found the following:
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. is excited to announce the creation of an annual Hadassah Shabbat to be held on the Shabbat preceding Purim. Shabbat Zachor holds particular importance as Hadassah was founded during Purim and was Esther's Hebrew name. Hadassah is encouraging rabbis and congregations to become part of the first Hadassah Shabbat Zachor on March 14 and 15, 2014.

Hadassah Shabbat will celebrate Parshat Zachor, reminding us how evil can be transformed into good, focusing on the victory of Israel over Amalek and of Esther and Vashti over oppression and discrimination. As an organization of over 330,000 women across the country, Hadassah will read Parshat Zachor as a reclaiming of Vashti as a force against discrimination.

Sorry ladies, but our Rabbis, who lived close to the time of the Megillah, have a much different description of Vashti. Even though it is Purim Katan today, and on Purim there is a side of "venahafoch hu", I must condemn such a distortion. For those interested in Judaism's traditional view of Vashti, Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller wrote a very nice article about The Villainy of Vashti. It is no wonder that an organization that turns a villian into a hero, which is a symptom of spiritual bankuptcy, has financial problems.

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