[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
Dr. Moshe Goldfeld is the head of the Computed Tomography Unit at Western Galilee Hospital where he has worked for the past 21 years.
The hospital is remarkable in many ways. Located close to Israel’s Lebanese border, it is constructed to withstand attack during war with a completely contained underground facility that not only can serve as a bomb shelter, but can be sealed completely in the event of chemical or biological attack. In addition, it’s parking lot can quickly be converted into a decontamination center, complete with showers.
WGH is experienced in handling mass casualty events, maintaining its preparedness through regular simulation drills, and sharing it with doctors and other medical personal who come to Nahariya from around the world to learn from their expertise through the ERG ( Emergency Response Group ) program.
As remarkable as WGH is, it still does not have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine, but that is about to change, and Dr. Goldfeld has come to Louisville on a three-week program to receive the specialized training he will need once the unit is installed. “Our hospital intends to buy an MRI,” he said. “This year, probably the government will give permission for some MRIs in Israel, and we hope one will be ours. This is the main objective of why I’m here.”
He has been working closely with Dr. Richard Goldwin, a Louisville radiologist, and his colleagues, and staying at Goldwin’s home.
That’s easy. Since 1997, the Jewish Community of Louisville and its predecessor, the Jewish Community Federation, have been active participants in the Jewish Agency for Israel’s (JAFI) Partnership with Israel program. The community belongs to the Central Area Consortium, a group of 16 Midwestern communities partnered with the Western Galilee.
Over the years, Partnership has provided opportunities for many Louisvillians to work one-on-one with residents of the Western Galilee on a variety of projects in which they have special interests.
A strong partnership has developed between the community and Western Galilee Hospital. A number of local physicians have participated in the hospital’s ERG program and numerous other exchange opportunities and visits by physicians both to Louisville and Nahariya.
While his main goal is to learn to administer MRIs, Goldfeld is also an emissary from the Western Galilee and is using his time in Louisville to connect with colleagues and to promote the Partnership. “I’m trying to make some personal contact with the local community so we can expand the Partnership in a more personal way,” he said. “For example, some physicians at the hospital already asked me if they could come to Israel on some kind of academic program to teach.” He’s hoping to be able to work something out to accommodate them.
As an ambassador for Partnership, Goldfeld is also encouraging Louisvillians to participate in existing Partnership programs. The Artist in Residence program, connects artists with projects in the Western Galilee. Past Louisville participants have decorated the outsides of buildings that serve children or done special projects with young children in their schools.
The Tri-Teen Summer Program will bring teens from consortium communities in America together with Israelis from the Western Galilee and from Hungary to spend time together in both Israel and Hungary. The Just Another Day program is an opportunity to see dance and video art performances and participate in dance workshops with a group of Israelis who will be touring the U.S. cities in the consortium.
Kefiada brings 19-26 year olds to the Western Galilee to volunteer in summer camps for four weeks. If seeing the Western Galilee close up is your choice, the week-long Bike the Western Galilee program might be the right one for you.
Goldfeld himself is participating in the Medical Externship program. There are opportunities to spend a month learning at the Western Galilee Hospital as well. And another ERG training program is scheduled this fall.
Originally from Brazil, Goldfeld came to Israel 26 years ago. “At the time I made aliyah,” he said, “I thought, and I still think, the only future for the Jews is in Israel.” He describes himself as a Zionist.
Today, Goldfeld lives in Kiryat Motzkin, between Haifa and Acco and about a 25 minute drive from the hospital. His wife, Eva, is a pharmacist who works as a research aide. They have three children. Uri is an electronic engineer, Rafael is studying law, and his youngest, Adam, just finished his military service and is working at a medical company to earn some money to travel for a while.
Coming to Louisville is “a wonderful and different experience for me,” he said, “because it’s the first time I’m living in a home with an American family. Richard and Ellen are wonderful people.” He is very grateful to the Goldwins. “They are being extremely good to me,” and ensuring that he is comfortable.
He also appreciates Kathy Karr, Louisville’s Partnership chair, and her husband, Matthew, both members of the Louisville Orchestra, who arranged for him to attend one of their concerts.
Goldfeld is also enjoying the opportunity to learn about the local Jewish community, how it works and how it is organized. “It’s completely different from what I knew in my original Jewish community in Rio de Janeiro, and it’s completely different from everything I know in Israel.”
He cited the Chabad Purim dinner he attended as an example of the uniqueness of the Louisville Jewish community. The event was organized by Chabad, but people from all streams of Judaism, including Reform attended. While people prayed on one side of the room, others “could just walk around and talk on the other side. The party even included the non-religious” and presented Chinese folklore.
He observed a lot of willingness “to accept other human beings as Jewish” even though they think differently. “It’s very beautiful integration,” he said. “It’s not easy for any side to accept each other.”
Partnership with Israel receives support from the JCL’s Annual Campaign. Dr. Phil Rosenbloom is chair of the Consortium’s Medical Task force.
The Central Area Consortium communities include Louisville and the Jewish communities in Akron, Austin, Canton, Dallas, Dayton, Des Moines, Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Indianapolis, Northwest Indiana, Omaha, San Antonio, South Bend, Toledo, Waco and Youngstown.
For more information about Partner-ship with Israel opportunities, contact JCL Executive Director of Philanthropy Alan Engel, 451-8840 or email@example.com.