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July 07, 1978 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-07-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 Friday, July 1,1918

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Arza Convalescent Home in Israel
Graced by Herzl Who Planted Tree

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JERUSALEM — Theodor
Herzl stood on a crest in the
barren Judean Hills a short
distance outside Jerusalem.
He gazed at the magnificent
view and breathed in the
fresh, clear air.
"It was in 1898 when he
was on his way to meet
Kaiser Wilhelm in
Jerusalem," said Arie
Segal, director of the
famous Arza Convalescent
Home which now stands on
that same hill. "It is said
that as he stood there he
remarked, 'This would be
nice place for a rest home for
writers.'" -
That particular vision of
Herzl's was to become a
reality exactly 25 years
later—and just 25 years be-
fore the fulfillment of his
greater dream of the re-
birgh of the Jewish state.
Not only were many famous
writers to come there but
thousands of others, accord-
ing to Abe Kramer in the
Israel Digest.

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"The workers of Pales-
tine at .the beginning of
the century suffered from
malaria, typhus and
other diseases," the di-
rector went on. "In the
early 1920's the Histad-
rut's Kupat Holim (Labor
Federation Sick Fund)
decided to build a place
where people could re-
cuperate in a good
environment and this site
was chosen. Arza was
opened in 1923, the first
convalescent home ever
to be built in the land of
Israel—built by Jewish
hands for Jews."

It was already a famous
spot. Segal explained, be-
cause when Herzl was here
he planted a tree on the spot
where he stood—a cedar
tree, which flourished and
grew, and many visitors
began to be attracted to the -
site.
But in 1915 some un-
known person cut the tree
down," Segal related. "We

the buildings, in the
lounges, foyers, hallways,
and dining areas—even in
the clinic—hang original
paintings by Israeli artists.

The plateau on which
the front grounds and
buildings are located
slopes down into a suc-
cession of terraced land-
ings, wooded and land-
scaped, with benches and
chairs to provide sec-
luded, quiet sitting.

Patients in the Arza Convalescent Home relax in the
sun in front of the main building which closely resem-
bles the U.S. President's mansion, the White House.
Theodor Herzl planted a cedar tree on the premises,
the stump of which is enclosed in glass in the Presi-
dents' Garden at the home.

have preserved the stump in
a glass enclosure and it is
now part of our Presidents'
Garden. Yitzhak Ben-Zvi,
who was a frequent guest
here, on his inaugration as
second president of Israel
planted a tree near Herzl's
and began a tradition which
the other presidents since
have followed."
Arza—the Hebrew word
for cedar—was named in
honor of Herzl's tree plant-
ing, the director stated.
"The home began with one
building which is still our
main building, and now we
have seven. We started with
30 beds, now we have 220
and we have an average of
80 percent occupancy
throughout the year. We
have a doctor and nurses in
permanent residence, and
we have a fully equipped
clinic and our own medical
laboratory.

Arza is mainly for
members of the Histad-
rut, but as long as there is
room, non-members are
also accepted as well as
non-convalescents who
may come simply for rest
stays. Most people stay
from 8 to 10 days."

Henry Leliy has been
working as a volunteer with

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Sick Fund institutions for a
number of years. He com-
mented:
"Arza is a place like no
other—it has a special at-
mosphere and a special
function. It is the only con-
valescent home of its
kind — even today —
providing post-operative
and post-hospital care, with
round-the-clock medical at-
tention, for a variety of
patients. More than that, it
has an exceptional dietary
regime—special individual
diets prepared by a highly
trained dietician. Arza has
one of the most complicated
kitchens, ready to serve
every conceivable dietary
need.
"Beyond all this, Arza has
the reputation of being one
of the warmest in terms of
care given by the person-
nel," Levy added. "I have
stayed here myself and I can
testify to that. Not only is it
famous for its beauty, its
tranquility and restfulness,
but the care and attention
given is beyond the call of
simple duty."

"Of our staff of about 70
many have devoted their
whole lives to this place,"
Segal noted. "Our dieti-
cian, Mrs. Judith Silbers-
tein for example, has
been with us for 26 years.
Even our gardener, Mor-
decai, who tends our
grounds and flower gar-
dens with dedication, has
been on the job here for
24 years."

Segal himself has headed
the Area Home for 29 years,
from the year of the estab-
lishment of the state.
In addition to guest
rooms, the main building
contains the kitchens and a
large cheerful dining room
seating 225, with a smaller
room adjoining for overflow.
In this building too are lo-
cated the immaculate clinic
and medical laboratory.
All the buildings contain
large pleasant lounges
where the guests can watch
television, play cards or
chess or checkers on special
tables, or just chat or. read.
There is an extensive li-
brary available, and one of
the buildings has an au-
ditorium seating 200 where
films are shown and lec-
tures given on a wide range
of subjects. Throughout all

On the first upper landing
is a small synagogue ("we
are planning to enlarge it")
where all services are held.
Just below the synagogue
on the next landing is the
Presidents' Garden, with
the trees planted by Ben-
Zvi, Zalman Shazar and
Ephraim Katzir surround-
ing the relic of Herzl's tree
in its glass case. Standing
here, it is difficult to con-
ceive that only decades ago
this was a totally barren
hillside.
Back in his office, the di-
rector took from a closet a
rare treasure of Arza—a
special guest book in which
are inscribed the names and
comments by prominent
visitors. They include the
historic greats of Israel and
Zionism, presidents, prime
ministers, members of Par-
liment, diplomats, dig-
nitaries and military lead-
ers.
Writing in almost every
language of the earth, the
guests did not merely sign
their names; they wrote let-
ters and poems and im-
pressions, even made
sketches—in glowing trib-
ute to Arza and their ex-
perience there.

Student Challenge

TEL AVIV (ZINS) —
Bar-Ilan University Presi-
dent Emanuel Rackman
has called for less confor-
mity and more challenge in
the Israeli classroom and
more give and take between
the students and their
teachers.
At the same time he
lauded Israeli youth for
their patriotism, courage
and attitude toward
academic work, saying they
are as competent and moti-
vated as any students in the
world.

Internal Criticsm

JERUSALEM (ZINS) —
At a recent meeting of
Likud Knesset members,
MK Geulah Cohen de-
nounced Foreign Minister
Moshe Dayan for pursuing a
foreign policy that was basi-
cally that of the opposition
Labor Alignment.
MK Chaim Kaufman
criticized Ambassabor
Simha Dinitz for opposing
Israel's invasion of Leba-
non. Defense Minister Ezer
Weizman said the invasion
achieved all the goals that
Israel had sought.

The wise do not rest
either in this world or in the
world to come (for they al-
ways strive for greater wis-
dom).

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