Clowning Around With Hadassah: Don’t Miss Dudi Barashi’s Visit

This is a guest post by Joanna Lowinger, writing about her life experiences as a 30-something Jewish woman in the Twin Cities. As an active participant in the Twin Cities vibrant Jewish community, she volunteers with Hadassah, the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival and Beth Jacob Congregation, among many others.

The clip I was watching opened with three children, sitting in a room wired to IV poles, looking incredibly sad.  Suddenly, three heads pop around the corner, silly looking adults – clowns.  In they strutted, scratching their heads – they count each other and then the children.  The kids look between themselves as these clowns begin to act out a scene and interact with the kids, it looks and sounds fun.  The clowns huddle to discuss and then you see them grab the kids, place them on or around their IV poles and off they go, running (ok, walking quickly, but you get the idea). Out the door, down the hall, the nurses get involved, cheering… it’s a race.  Suddenly the kids forget they are attached to IV poles and in a hospital.  They are having fun; fun because of a simple concept – Dream Doctors or Medical Clowns.

It turns out that Dream Doctors, these Medical Clowns, are one of many projects that Hadassah has sponsored and encouraged from the very beginning at their hospitals in Jerusalem.

The project began as an experiment at the Hadassah-Ein Kerem Medical Center, Jerusalem, with three professional clowns, selected with painstaking care and integrated into the pediatric departments. Today it has grown so much that the University of Haifa offers a degree in medical clowning. The field combines medical training of nursing, psychology, physical therapy, and the history of medicine with the theatrical aspects of juggling, improvisational comedy, and other performance techniques.

Established in 2002, the Dream Doctor program integrates professional medical clowning into Israel’s hospitals. The Magi Foundation in Israel funds this program through private donations and has placed 72 Dream Doctors or Clowns in 18 hospitals and clinics across the country.

Meet an Israeli Medical Clown right here in the Twin Cities

David “Dudi” Barashi, 34, is a Medical Clown from Hadassah Hopsital who will be traveling to the Twin Cities February 2nd and 3rd (after visiting here he heads to warmer temperatures in Miami – wish we could all go with him).

For the past seven years, Dudi has worked with sick children at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.  He has volunteered his talents all over the world: in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, in outreach programs in India, in Ethiopia for AIDS-stricken orphans, in southern Asia for survivors of the 2006 tsunami along the coasts of the Indian Ocean, and in northern Israel for civilians who endured bombardment during the war with Lebanon.

Dudi holds an undergraduate degree in nursing and theater arts from the University of Haifa. He also writes, directs, produces, acts, and works as an artistic director on plays and visual arts projects.

I’m looking forward to meeting Dudi and hearing more about his experiences as a Medical Clown.

Dudi will be speaking at the Sabes Jewish Community Center Theatre on February 2nd at 7:30 P.M. General admission tickets are $10. The Minneapolis and St. Paul chapters of Hadassah will host an invitation-only “Meet ‘n Greet” reception from 6:30 P.M. until 7:30 P.M. (Aside to all the single ladies – rumor has it, he’s single.)

There are four ways to receive an invitation to the special Meet ‘n Greet and have the admission cost to his presentation waived:

  • Purchase a life membership to Hadassah for yourself, a family member, or a friend between January 1 and February 2 at the special Centennial Celebration rate of $100 (previously, Life Membership was $360).
  • Purchase a Hadassah Centennial Key for $100. This lovely key shaped necklace makes a perfect gift for women of any age.
  • Make a $100 (or more) donation to the Medical Clown program at Hadassah Hospital.
  • Make a $100 (or more) donation to Hadassah’s “Greatest Need” fund.

To contact the Upper Midwest Region of Hadassah office to take advantage of one of the special admission offers and receive your invitation to the Meet n’ Greet, call 952-924-4999.

No clown noses required to attend. ;-D

(Photos: Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.; Magi Foundation, Dream Doctors Project)