The Shmooze

A (Jewish) Solar Solution to Maternal Mortality

By Masha Leon

  • Print
  • Share Share

The Jewish Women’s of New York Foundation’s 18th Benefit Luncheon at The Plaza honored writer-journalist Marilyn Berger, “Pulmonologist Dr. Marion Bergman, and investment maven Carol Eininger.

Moderated by broadcast journalist Paula Zahn, the “Chai” celebration touted its [to date] over 100 organizations and $3 million in grants that have helped transform the lives of Israeli, Ethiopian and American women.

Keynote speaker and JWFNY grantee Dr. Laura Stachel, co-founder and executive director of We Care Solar, mesmerized the guests with her amazing recitative: “ I am a doctor, an obstetrician…. following a back injury, began studying maternal care.” Her description of her 2008 “encounter with emergency obstetric care in Nigeria” was akin to a horror story. Observing the “state hospital’s labor room” she was appalled by the lack of reliable electricity. “I watched as midwives struggled to deliver mothers by kerosene lanterns or tried to start intravenous lines by candlelight…surgeries by ambient light from windows” and “C-sections as lights went out at night…. I knew I had to do something about it.”

Karen Leon
Dr. Laura Stachel

Her husband, Hal Aronson, a solar educator, responded to her mails from Africa. “The idea was to create a system that would require minimal maintenance, allow emergency obstetric care 24 hours a day…. It was his design…. We created “The Solar Suitcase” — a stand-alone solar electric system that would allow emergency obstetric care 24 hours a day. Thanks to donors like JWFNY, our programs he been able to expand to Uganda, Malawi, Ethiopia and Tanzania.. Within one year maternal mortality has descreased 70% in one hospital in Nigeria.”

During the post-lunch panel discussion moderated by Zahn, honorees Berger — who had adopted a severely crippled boy she found on a street in Addis Ababa whom she refers to as her “personal miracle” — Marion Bergman— who serves as a trustee for the Global Child Dental Fund AJWS (American Jewish World Service) and Physicians for Human Rights, and Carol Eininger, whose many “hats” include Director and member of the Investment Committee of UJA-Federation — compared notes on their emergence as powerful women in what had been a totally man’s world.

There were welcoming remarks by JWFNY president Marilyn Gottlieb. Benefit luncheon co-chairs were: Madeleine Grant, Klara Silverstein and Lynn Tobias.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.