Friday, October 22, 2004

Jilted Lover --> Nursing School

A few days ago I attended a Hadassah Young Women's event. One of the speakers, the PR director of my hospital (yes, I now think of it as my hospital!), recalled the history in great detail of Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital and more specifically the nursing school.

Forgive my screwing up the exact dates, but basically Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, had been keeping the company a man, Leo Ginzburg for quite some time. Something like 5 years, which was unheard of in 1909. She kept waiting for him to want to marry her. She was a highly educated woman, from a family of 5 girls, and everyone had warned her that Leo Ginzburg would never propose. He was just using her to edit his books and ghost-write them. She kept hope though. At some point (after 5 years), he told her he had a surprise for her. She assumed it was a proposal. But no, he told her, "I'm engaged to some young chippie I have gone out with 3 times".

As you can imagine, Henrietta was crushed. Her mother thought it might be a good idea to get her away for a while, so they came to visit Palestine in 1909. While here they noticed the terrible health conditions (the area was still under Turkish rule), and realized that a health care system was desperately needed. Specifically nurses. Henrietta brought over doctors and nurses from America, and had a special
program to train nurses in America and bring them here to Israel. After 10 years or so, Henrietta and the Hadassah Women's Group realized it would be better to train the nurses here, and thus, Hadassah founded a nursing school, with the first graduating class in 1921. Eventually came the hospital, the med schools, and in 1975 the nursing school joined with the Hebrew University. Hadassah, by the way, is named for Queen Esther. The women all little Jewish girls wanted to be at some point on Purim, but whom may not have made it in real life. The Jewish heroine who saved her people.

Meanwhile, Henrietta Szold never married, never had children. In Israel, Mother's Day (which we call Mother and Family Day) is celebrated on Henrietta Szold's Yahrzeit (anniversary of death); although she was not a mother in the literal sense, her founding the healthcare system of Israel enabled the fledgling country to survive, so in a sense, we are all her children.

I almost cried when I heard that whole story, and felt very proud and honored to be continuing in the chain that Henrietta had founded.

After the speech, a friend came over and pointed out what I'd been thinking during the whole speech. "Isn't it funny," she said, "How the nursing school was founded because someone had a broken heart and had been shafted by a man, and you chose to go to the very same nursing school for the same reason?"

I don't want anyone to think I chose nursing school because of my sadness over D. (Sadly, I don't think I can call it a broken heart - the breaking part happened already). I have been wanting to do this for more years than I can remember. But the sadness that was going down with him all last year made me realize that you need to make your own happiness. Don't expect it to come riding up to you on a white horse. So, I decided (while still dating D., but knowing there'd be no happy ending) to create my own happiness and go for my dream, instead of putting it off. To leave my job, that bored me to death and brought me no happiness, and go for the career I thought would give me a bit more meaning, that I would enjoy going to work in.

I have made it through the first week. (Hence the lack of blog entries). Classes are good, the people are all pretty nice. The material we learn is relatively simple for me, since i have taken almost all the classes already for my BA in Biology, but because they are in Hebrew, I find myself exhausted at the end of each day. Sitting through 9 hours of classes in Hebrew wipes my mind out. Though, I am bursting with pride to say, I fully comprehend everything. Every once in a while we come to a word I don't know, and I write it down and look it up after class.

I have started to raise my hand and speak in class. I never thought I'd do that, but it only took about 2 days to get the confidence. I'm not embarrassed about my accent, and if I am saying something and I can't think of the word in Hebrew, I just say it English. No one minds, and since they all have to be fluent by graduation, they actually try to speak English to me.

I have found a few other "oldies" like myself in the class. A woman who turned 40 on Tuesday, but never went to college. A 27-year old religious girl who has a degree in Criminology. Ronnen, 30, who studied economics and worked for a drug company, but decided he'd rather see the human side of it. I'm learning a lot from my co-students, in terms of Israeli culture and Muslim culture. One of the 19 year old Arab boys, Adam, has a crush on me. You know, Jewish guys could leanr a thing or too. He brings flowers, sits next to me in all my classes, brings me coffee. I explained to him it'll have to just stay a crush, but he's content at that. On second thought, maybe its not the religion; maybe its because he's 19!

Which brings me to my social life. I've gone out with a couple (okay 3) people. I know it seems like it's "really soon", but the truth is, D. and I had broken up so many times and had so much messiness, the heartbreak had happened a long time ago, and what happened a month ago was just an acceptance of the reality. People have been setting me up left and right, and I've been meeting guys all over. I must give off some "newly-available" scent. One guy (and I thought this was shallow as all hell) saw a picture of me and got my number form his friend on the basis of that picture alone. I said yes, because I'm a poor student and it turned out to be a free meal! He was also a nice guy and he smelled good, something I am now conscious of.

However, I've gone out a bunch of times (to the point that I will no longer see others, for now) with B., who was not a blind date. He's quietly sweet and intelligent, and adorable and he smells divine. And he's a really good person (I have empirical proof, but I'll withhold because it is an identifying characteristic and I don't want to out the poor guys I date). So I figure, B. now deserves an initial on this blog. Again, more on it if it develops. I haven't even entered him into my cellphone yet because that'll jinx it...but I did see I was in his!

So, in summation, life is good. Real good. Sometimes, the sun does come out tomorrow.


Blogger Gilly said...


9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have incredible respect for what you are are an impressive and wise young woman. And you deserve a guy who appreciates that. Let me know if you are ever in greater Tel Aviv, or I'll get in touch my next time in Jerusalem -- I want to treat you to dinner.


11:03 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Deluroking bcs a) lurkers are frustrating and b) it's about time. You don't know this but I read you often and think you are very very brave. In fact, your courage in revealing your hopes and pains has helped me see there's a lot to be said for not being afraid to expose a bit of one's life even in blog mode. So I'm out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and B., be it this one or the one after. (We like the smell, smell is promising!)

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm stunned that you've dated 3 people and are now steady with B. I was expecting you to spend the next 6 months at least crying and getting back with D. at regular intervals.
Don't get me wrong, its not that I dissaprove or anything stupid like that - I'm just shocked.

Is it that easy to open up again to someone new? to sit on a date without thinking of D? to believe that this time it will be different?

12:54 AM  
Blogger Divrei Moshe said...

Everything in good time. I was involved with Nursing homes back in the US and I know how much the industry needs good, competent and sympathetic nurses. You sound like you'll be one of them. B'vracha -Moshe

10:48 PM  

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