Updated: Mar 31
In honor of International Women's Month, Israel is Beautiful has been profiling women who have contributed to the development of the State of Israel. We have spoken about the heroism of Hannah Senesh and the vision of Golda Meir. Today we turn our attention to the women of today, women inspire us through their technological prowess, their commitment to those on the fringes of society and their tenacity in entering the Israeli political fray to serve the Jewish people in Israel and abroad.
Meet Sarit Sass, healthcare account executive at Microsoft
Sarit Sass, the daughter of American parents, grew up just outside of Tel Aviv. From an early age, she displayed great mathematical and scientific prowess. She attended a prestigious technical high school in a neighboring town and served in an elite unit in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). She earned her degree in the Computer Science department of Reichman University (formerly the Interdisciplinary School of Herzliya). Today Sarit is now a healthcare account executive at Microsoft; traveling the country training Israeli hospitals and healthcare funds to use 21st century technology to improve the quality of healthcare. Although not yet 30, Sarit is an expert in providing cloud-based solutions and has been educating staff at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva and Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, some of the largest hospitals in the country. She is an expert in using augmented-reality to treat Covid 19 patients and is sought-after by medical professionals, across different disciplines, for her expertise in blending technology with improved healthcare delivery. Sarit is an example of young women succeeding in male-dominated professions.
Meet Shari Mendes, creator of the Lemonade Fund
Shari Mendes moved to Israel from New Jersey in 2003. An accomplished architect in both the United States and Israel, Shari thought that she would continue in that field for the duration of her professional career. And while she still accepts a limited number of architectural projects, her professional life veered in an unexpected direction when she received a breast cancer diagnosis. Shari discovered, first-hand, the expense of a cancer diagnosis; lost work, extra cleaning help, extra childcare expenses. The list is endless. Even families with professional careers felt the financial impact.
The Lemonade Fund is born
The financial burden is felt even more acutely by people already living on limited income. The diagnosis, in addition to the physical and emotional toll, often deplete any savings and can lead to spiraling debt. Shari saw the need and created the Lemonade Fund which provides one-time emergency grants to breast cancer patients and their families. Shari and her team have worked diligently to meet with patients, social workers, donors and medical specialists to understand how to best serve the needs of families facing the trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis. The Lemonade Fund has brought much needed relief to Jews, Muslims, Christians, veteran Israelis (sabras) and new immigrants (olim). Shari took the expression, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" to heart and because of her tenacity and the dedication of her staff, the Lemonade Fund has helped hundreds of needy families in Israel when they need it most.
Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor of Foreign Relations
And finally, when Israel is Beautiful first launched in 2020, we met with Jerusalem Deputy Mayor of Foreign Relations, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum. Fleur hails from London but grew up in Gibraltar. She moved back to London, earned a law degree and then immigrated to Israel in 2001 during the Second Intifada. Deputy Mayor Hassan-Nahoum is passionate about her Zionism, her Judaism and her Feminism. She always believed that women should participate in politics and she displayed her commitment to these ideals when she entered the tough world of Israeli politics. After serving as senior associate with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and CEO of Tikva Children's Home, she entered Israeli politics in 2013.
Inspiring women - breaking barriers in Israel
Israel is Beautiful thanks these three inspiring women who continue to break barriers and serve the needs of all populations throughout Israel. We look forward to profiling other great Israelis in the months to come.
Image credits: Sarit Sass - Sarit Sass (selfie for Facebook) Shari Mendes - Jon Mendes Fleur Hassan-Nahoum (Fleur Hassan-Nahoum Facebook page).
Israel is Beautiful was developed by Onnie Schiffmiller and Dr. Peter Abelow, both licensed tour guides, with a shared love of the Land of Israel, sharing nearly thirty years of professional tour guiding experience. The premise is simple, Israel is Beautiful brings Israel, in all its beauty, into the comfort of your home via weekly you-are-there video tours, along with Meet the Tour Guide video chats. Join us in this adventure, subscribe today and begin your own personal journey of the Holy land with Israel is Beautiful.