Hadassah activist speaks of its ‘powerful mission’

Hadassah activist speaks of its ‘powerful mission’

Most people think of Hadassah as a women’s organization in the United States, but through Hadassah International, we have different units in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, China, and a lot of other places, plus many members who are male," says Barbara Sabin, RN, BSN, of River Vale, chair of special projects for Hadassah International and co-chair of the National Center of Nurses Councils Advisory Board.

Barbara Sabin will speak at Temple Beth Tikvah in Wayne.

Sabin will speak on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 1 p.m. at the second in the series of senior daytime programs at Temple Beth Tikvah in Wayne. Her topic is "A Bridge to Nations through Medicine." The program is free to senior members of the synagogue and open to other members and non-members for $5.

"We are honored to have such a distinguished woman come to Temple Beth Tikvah," says Janice Paul, chair of the temple’s membership committee. "Barbara Sabin has brought various aspects of Hadassah International, a most respected organization, to virtually every continent over the years and will be sharing her personal stories with us of how Hadassah has made a difference around the world."

Sabin, who is assistant director of nursing at Pascack Valley Hospital, is a life member of Hadassah and has been volunteering for the organization on a national level since 1993. She has led 10 educational nurses’ missions to Israel and chaired international conferences, the next one scheduled for March in Israel. "It will attract people from all over the world, of all religions, who care about Israel and Hadassah," she says. The goal of the conferences is education, networking, and raising money for Hadassah .

Sabin first became involved in medical volunteering a number of years ago when she was working as an emergency room nurse at Pascack Valley Hospital. Late one night, after a double shift, she couldn’t sleep and was leafing through a copy of the organization’s magazine when "I saw a single paragraph, saying, ‘See Israel through the eyes of a nurse. Join Hadassah nurses.’ The trip was two weeks later. The next day I asked for leave and it must have been bashert — they let me have the time off. I was sitting at JFK waiting for the flight and I heard someone call my name and it was Nancy Falchuk, who’s also a nurse and now the national president of Hadassah." Thirteen nurses made the trip, and Sabin says it changed her life. "Everyone was so grateful for our help. People actually started crying when they saw that we had come to help."

What will she be speaking on at Temple Beth Tikvah? "I don’t know how much they know about Hadassah and Hadassah International, so I’ll be talking about that — telling them that we’re a humanitarian organization comprised of both men and women from all faiths, from all walks of life, that we live around the globe, but we’re united in a powerful mission to promote universal health care and contribute to a healthier world," Sabin says.

"I want people to know that we’re out there in Panama, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany, Cuba. There’s an amazing world out there that most people don’t know about. I’m hoping just to give them a taste."

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