Shaare Zedek Medical Center has played an important role in the life of the city and its unique population for nearly 112 years. Shaare Zedek was the first large Hospital to be located in the western portion of Jerusalem and is today the city’s fastest growing medical center.
After the Ottoman Turks gave permission in the 1890s, and with funding from European donors, the original 20-bed Hospital was built on Jaffa Road, where it opened in January 1902. In 1979, thanks to the vision of Director-General David Maier, it moved to its present location (the original building still stands and houses the Israel Broadcasting Authority).
Named after the inspiring biblical term “Gates of Righteousness,” Shaare Zedek has responded to the needs of Jerusalem’s uniquely diverse population from its very first day of operation, treating patients of every race, religion and nationality.
Bikur Cholim Hospital was founded in Jerusalem’s Old City in 1826 and after inhabiting a series of buildings, moved to west Jerusalem, outside the walled city, in 1925. In December 2012, it was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and about to close. Shaare Zedek was chosen by Israel’s government to submit a plan to take it over and subsequently, Bikur Cholim was saved. This historic event brought together Jerusalem’s two oldest hospitals and today Bikur Cholim also bears the name Shaare Zedek Medical Center – City Center Campus.
Shaare Zedek (located between Ramat Beit Hakerem and Bayit Vegan) and Bikur Cholim (its City Center Campus), are the only major medical facilities in the city’s center – the “Heart of Jerusalem.”
With a constant commitment to developing increasingly innovative means to provide patient care, the 1,000-bed facility treats more than 600,000 patients per year in its 30 inpatient departments and 70 departments and units comprising its outpatient clinics.
Early History of the American Committee for Shaare Zedek
The American Committee for Shaare Zedek was started in 1949 by a group of dedicated refugees from Germany and Holland, descendants of the original founders of the Hospital in Jerusalem. These dedicated men and women started fundraising for the Hospital on an individual basis. The women organized into a Ladies Auxiliary and the men established a Board of Directors.
In 1956, the Committee approached Mr. Rudolph Meyer, a young lawyer whose office was at 15 Park Row in New York City (the first office of the American Committee) to organize the American Committee’s first dinner. Mr. Meyer recruited Rev. A. Asher Hirsch who organized a successful dinner and became the first Executive Director.
Subsequently, The American Committee and its mailing list began to grow through fundraising dinners, concerts and mailings.
In the early 1960’s, under the leadership of Chairman of the Board, Max Stern, a building fund campaign became the main focus of the American Committee, and the new Shaare Zedek building in Israel was dedicated in 1978.
Today Shaare Zedek is a world-renowned 1000-bed medical center. The American Committee, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Florida is dedicated to making this great Hospital a beacon of hope to all the citizens of Jerusalem.