Hadassah Head Medical Clown visits London


Hadassah UK brought over to London our Head Medical Clown; David Barashi aka “DuSH” to highlight in the UK how medical clowning in Israel, pioneered at Hadassah Hospitals in Jerusalem, has developed to a new level over the last 14 years. DuSH was one the people who have helped change and develop medical clowning from its inception as an experiment at Hadassah in 2002. He is now an integral part of the IDF Israel emergency team sent around the globe to natural disasters like Haiti & Nepal and he came to London to show how Hadassah’s medical clowns have developed into a really serious medical tool.

Clowns are “no laughing matter” and this is an area of medicine that Israel is really ahead of the game compared to the UK, where Hospital Medical Clowning is not as developed and is still used as children’s entertainers- in hospitals.

This difference in progression in Israel is because the medical clowns have developed an excellent reputation and close partnership with the hospital medical staff. The parameters are firstly, the medical staff consider the Medical Clown to be a therapist -not a performer. Secondly, the clowns have to be integrated into the work of the medical team as one of them and the medical clowns are professionals trained at an academic level up to undergraduate degree at Haifa University.

These clowns have developed a one-to-one, eyeball-to-eyeball personal patient empathy different from what parents or medical staff can achieve and encompassing not just in paediatrics but adult patients and also medical staff within many departments. Our Hadassah doctors and nurses have come to develop new techniques that specifically use these specialist trained professional clowns as part of their everyday medical practices as an integral part of their “medical toolbox”.

This is why every Head of Paediatrics in Israeli hospitals appreciated and wants medical clowns;- now over 22 hospitals in all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eVHoDnKy0Q (hear them say it themselves- from just 5.48 mins mark to 7.15 minutes.)

Hadassah is a university teaching hospital that excels in research carrying out over 50% of all the clinical research in Israel, an achievement in such a hugely technologically and medically advanced country. This is why we are now looking for the next stage in Medical Clowning and are for example, training up our clowns to work in the Sexual Abuse Clinic and as an integral part of our Paediatric Surgical Teams as well as in other adult patient departments.

Dush’s visit was a different sort of visit to London of one of Hadassah Hospital’s best practitioners. Normally Hadassah UK bring over our Heads of Depts, or our world-class leading researchers but we brought Dush to London this year to give the opportunity for our UK hospitals and others to see Hadassah Medical Clowning in practice and to engage in a conversation with one of the most experienced practitioner of medical clowning in Israel.

It was a real privilege to hear his presentations to hosted groups in the evenings and to accompany Dush to not only schools, where he showed himself to be a master of his art, but Kisharon (for children and adults with severe learning disabilities) and North Middlesex Hospital and see him at work in his natural environment.

Dush’s visit to London culminated in Hadassah’s “Three Tenners and a Clown” Musical Event in partnership with the Central Synagogue. The three tenors;- Chazan Jonny Turgel,  Rabbi Danny Bergson & Chazan Steven Leas together with the Shabbaton Choir and the Sacks Morasha and Immanuel College Primary School Choirs produced a magnificent evening’s music. The music was arranged and directed by Stephen Levy, who was ably assisted and interrupted by our very own clown Dush.

Hadassah Medical Clowns in action

If you want to see the emotional side of medical clowning in Israel see “I Clown You” (filmed at Hadassah)

password: icy2015

“Hadassah – more than a hospital”

If you would like to contribute to the vital work being carried out by Hadassah in Jerusalem please send your donation to Hadassah UK, 25 The Burroughs, Hendon, London NW4 4AR


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Telephone 020 8202 2860

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