The Hadassah Hospital in Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, has welcomed a new healing and environmental garden. The garden provides a relaxing atmosphere for patients and families to enjoy together whilst being treated at the hospital. The Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation Healing Garden represents an innovative approach in treating children with chronic illnesses and is based on design principles developed at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne. The beautifully landscaped garden in Jerusalem includes green lawns, flowerbeds, a vegetable garden, medicinal herbs, a wooden promenade, an observation deck and a small amphitheatre.

This project was developed with the support of JNF Australia and Hadassah Australia, led by the Jack and Robert Smorgon Families’ Foundation and other generous philanthropic families from Victoria. “I am pleased that sick children will be enjoying this garden for many years, and it will certainly contribute to their recovery,” said Jack Smorgon. “Jerusalem and all of Israel have a warm place in my heart, and I am proud to be a partner in this project in Jerusalem, which contributes to the environment and to the health of children.”

The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat and the Director General of the Israel Ministry of Health applauded the efforts at the dedication ceremony on Sunday June 22. Attendees included the representatives of the Smorgon family, KKL-JNF representatives, Hadassah Hospital and Hadassah Australia members and supportive medical staff. 

The Mayor emphasised the garden’s contribution to children of all religions. “Jerusalem respects people of all faiths. The hospital has an important role in bringing the different populations together. I remember how this location used to look, and I am pleasantly surprised to see how beautiful this new garden looks now.”

Dr. Osnat Levzion-Korach, Director of the Hadassah University Hospital – Mount Scopus, said the Healing Garden fits in well with the vision of Hadassah. “We look at the patients beyond the immediate medical treatment. The children will enjoy the natural surroundings, the scent of the flowers and the twitter of the birds, using the playground equipment, performing in the amphitheater. All of these are links in the chain of recovery.”

Speaking on behalf of the patients at Hadassah, Mira Aharoni, said “This beautiful Healing Garden has great significance and I am sure the tranquility and the calming effect of the greenery and the colorful flowers will help the patients deal with the difficult moments they have to experience.”

Prof. Eitan Kerem, Chair of the Pediatrics Division at the Hadassah Medical Center, thanked JNF Victoria, Hadassah Australia and all the contributing donors. “Thanks to you,” he said, “this dream has become a reality.”