When I visited ALYN Hospital a few weeks ago, I went with the hope of learning how to answer the questions that I get asked most frequently by members of our ALYN community: “How is the hospital doing since October 7? What has changed there?

I learned so much in face-to-face meetings with the heads of many of ALYN’s world-renowned departments. They all shared stories of having to unexpectedly adapt to a new environment. Many staff members were called to the reserves for military duty, others had spouses and partners who were called up, and given the large number of Arab employees, there were those who had family living in Gaza.

ALYN’s impressive history of fostering and serving as a model for cultural competency and inclusion was being tested. As they worked to support their employees and maintain a fragile peace, many departments were unsure how to move forward. The administration moved quickly to establish guidelines for appropriate language and behavior and instituted or enforced rules meant to limit confrontation.

What struck me most in my conversations is the nature of some of the cases the therapists and doctors have been seeing since the war began. While we may not be treating the children attacked in the Gaza border communities on October 7, or now those possibly injured while living in northern Israel, under constant fire from Hezbollah, I began to understand how close ALYN is to being a front-line facility. The work happening there to treat, heal and serve children and soldiers affected by the war makes them so. What do I mean? For example, the stress of the war and the fear and worry it has created has resulted in an increase in patients in the Feeding Rehabilitation Clinic whose feeding disorders have been exacerbated by the rise in stress levels.

DR Pele (2)

There has also been an increase in children with conversion disorder--a functional physical condition (i.e. pain, paralysis) without an organic cause that is brought about because of emotional distress. While the root cause is psychological, it has been shown that for treatment to be successful it must be a combination of mental health work and physical rehabilitation. Given ALYN’s holistic approach, a child with conversion disorder can receive all the services needed in one place. ALYN has been treating conversion disorders for 15 years and is considered an expert in the field.

We have shared with you past articles about the work ALYN is doing for children with disabilities who live in border communities and have been evacuated from their homes into temporary housing. Many of these children need adaptive equipment that they had in their homes and/or the availability of remote therapies, both of which ALYN Hospital has been able to provide. (Please see the December Newsletter)

Even closer to front-line work are the services ALYN and its PELE team (Personalized Equipment Leading to Empowerment) have been providing to soldiers who have been injured and maimed in the hostilities. ALYN’s therapists first partnered with Sheba-Tel HaShomer Medical Center and now with Hadassah Hospital to treat soldiers in their rehabilitation units in need of adaptive equipment. (Please see the January Newsletter).

Beyond what I deem to be, in fact, front-line work – the hospital also continues to move forward, with innovative collaborations through ALYNnovation, research projects, global presentations, creating partnerships with other medical facilities, launching new services, and, importantly, continuing to operate at full capacity throughout the conflict.


One of my final meetings was with Dr. Maurit Beeri, Director General of ALYN Hospital. We discussed the challenge of competing with nonprofits raising money for soldiers or evacuees or families of hostages. I asked Dr. Beeri what message she would want me to bring back to our community and our donors in the States. She said,

“If you want to support Israel in the long term, you have to support the institutions that are the backbone of the Israel you want to thrive.”

ALYN has certainly set the bar high for the best of Israeli institutions, healthcare or otherwise. Be assured that when you are donating to ALYN, you are investing in a world-class institution that not only provides exceptional care to children with disabilities but also embodies the resilient spirit and innovation that will drive Israel's future successes.

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