As we read our daily newspapers/newsfeeds and listen and watch the news, we are often overwhelmed by traumatic events, sad events, events making us angry, and events that divide us, resulting in big doses of pessimism in our lives. Bad news grabs headlines, while the day-to-day, step-by-step progress in the world seemingly takes a back seat.
I wrote this last year while sitting in Hadassah Hospital located in Jerusalem, Israel.
We read about violence in the Middle East. The screaming headlines can be scary. Can’t everyone in the Middle East just get along? In many places there is cooperation. The recently completed “Abraham Accords” are examples of increasing cooperation. Hadassah Hospital has been a decades-long example.
Palestinian patients. Muslim Arab Israeli patients. Christian Arab Israeli patients. Druze Israeli patients. Bedouin Israeli patients. All colors and shapes of human beings. Also, there are patients coming from outside of Israel for the advanced medical care at Hadassah. And, oh yes, there are also Jewish Israeli patients: secular, traditional, and orthodox.
The political views of this rainbow of humanity span the spectrum: right wing, left wing, and centrist. The socioeconomic profiles included wealthy people, people of modest means, and less fortunate people.
The workforce at the hospital mirrors the same demographics. Muslim surgeons and nurses. Christian surgeons and nurses. Jewish surgeons and nurses.
It is impossible to walk the corridors and label all the people walking by. That is the point! In this special place, it seems all humanity comes together to heal and be healed. No labels.
Western New York’s own Gregg Easterbrook is an optimist. His book is entitled “It’s Better Than it Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear.” Steven Pinker’s book entitled “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress” was reviewed in The Buffalo News. Pinker argues that the loud bad news is out of proportion to the good and progress humanity made, and continues to make. Historian Yuval Noah Harari’s book entitled “Homo Deus” also puts bad news and overall progress into perspective.
Hadassah has been good news about Jerusalem for many years. It is good news about progress among people living in Israel.
There are many people in our Buffalo area community striving together to conquer poverty, disease, disabilities, and poor education. People Inc., Outstretched Arm, Literacy Volunteers, ConnectLife, Eight Days of Hope, FeedMore, and Belmont Housing Resources are among scores of organizations working day by day, step by step, to help all people.
The visit to Hadassah in Israel was an inspiration to me, reminding me of the goals and ideals that truly matter, and gave me pause to think about what we are doing here in Buffalo. Hadassah should be a model to copy for all people everywhere, particularly as it fulfills its mission in a region often torn by conflict. In spite of those conflicts, and in the overall grand scheme of events, it serves as an important beacon of hope that the world can be a better place.
Dave Schiller SIOR