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"Be the change you want to see in the world."
Medical Director at St.
Joseph's
Former Senior Vice President
& Chief Medical Officer,
ADS President.  
Established Tri-State Chapter
Founding Member, ADF
DR. NADIM KASSEM
Nadim was born on May 15, 1931 in Rama, Palestine, the third son of Yousif and Afiffeh Kassem. His mother
died when he was a few months old but he was raised by his cousin, Ghazaleh, whom he called 'mom'.   His
father remarried Nadim’s “Khalti Fedwa” in 1934 and had 5 more children. Shortly thereafter, during the
Palestinian rebellion against the British in 1938, his family was forced to move to Aley, Lebanon, where Nadim
attended school for two years at Al Jami’a Al Wataniyya.

In 1940 the family moved back to Palestine where Nadim completed his Elementary School education in Rama.  
Due to his outstanding academic performance he was selected as one of 25 pupils from all of Palestine to attend
high school at the prestigious Arab College in Jerusalem.  Nadim graduated from the Arab College in 1947 with
a Palestine Matriculation Certificate. The Arab College was being converted to a University in 1948, the same
year Nadim's father died and the war began.  

To keep his younger siblings safe, he once again traveled back to Aley, this time as a refuge.  His older brothers,
Kassem and Shakib, stayed in Rama to protect the family home and land. Nadim refused to live in a refugee
camp or to accept rations from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinian refugees
(UNRWA).  Instead, Nadim literally worked day and night to provide for a family of eight, rent a 2 room apartment,
buy food and clothing and even provide private schooling for his 3 sisters and 2 brother.  In order to accomplish
these goals, he taught at St. Joseph’s school in Aley during the day and tutored students in English in the
evenings.

In 1952, they returned to Rama where he taught in the village school. However, due to the lack of high schools in
the Arab sector coupled with a desire for their sisters to be better educated, Shakib and Nadim, with 2 other
gentlemen, founded Rama High School where Nadim taught Arabic, English and Math.  Under the leadership of
his brother Shakib, Rama High School quickly became the most successful High School in the country.  Shakib
was the principal from 1957 until his death in 1987.

In 1955, Shakib encouraged Nadim and supported him to pursue a degree in medicine.  Nadim studied and was
accepted to Hadassah Medical School at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  In order to attend medical school,
Nadim had to learn Hebrew.  He was self-taught and spoke Hebrew flawlessly.  During his 6 years at Medical
School, there were many surprises and struggles, coupled with activism for Arab minority rights in education,
health and infrastructure as well as development of their towns and villages. Nadim was instrumental in organizing
the students and establishing the “University Arab Students Committee” which he chaired for three years. The
Committee was recognized by the University Administration and it helped solve a wide variety of issues facing
Arab students from housing to financial aid and obtaining travel permits.  

In 1961 Dr. Kassem graduated from medical school and in 1962 began his Internship  followed by his Residency
in Internal Medicine and Clinical Research at Hadassah Medical Center at the Hebrew University.  In 1965 he
moved to the New York’s Veterans Administration Hospital, in the Bronx, where he continued his specialty
training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, becoming a Senior Fellow at the same institution in 1970. He
then joined the pharmaceutical industry, advancing his career to become Senior Vice President,  Chief Medical
Officer of one company while continuing his private practice as an Internist and Gastroenterologist. During those
years, he was also the Medical Director of St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly, a position he held for over 25 years
until he retired in 2004.

Nadim met his wife, May Hallaway in 1965 and they were married in 1967. They raised their 4 children in New
Jersey, where May still lives.  Each of his children is accomplished in their own field of study.

Nadim was involved with the American Druze Community from the early seventies until his death in 2013.  He
was elected President in 1981. He helped establish the Tri-State chapter of the ADS and was instrumental in
activating the Committee on Religious Affairs by recruiting very dedicated individuals including Dr. Anis O’beid,
Mr. Samah Helal, Dr. Abdallah Najjar, Mr. Hassan I’zzeddin and the late energetic Dr. Wahbe Sayegh under
whose chairmanship the five CORA Books were published and the Devotionals were prepared.  He was a
founding member of the ADF and a member of its Committee on Religious Reform.

Anyone who knew Dr. Kassem knew that he was proud of his heritage, his culture, his family and his Tawheed
faith.  He was passionate about unifying all Arabs around the world.  Although this brief summary provides an
overall glimpse into his life, for those of us who knew him, it merely scratches the surface of this well-loved,
respected and honored man who will be remembered by many.

If you would like to contribute to the memory of this special person, please visit the following web sites:
 
http://pcrf.net/campaign/the-dr-nadim-yousif-kassem-fund-for-continuing-education/
or
 
http://www.druze-orphanage.org/
and click on the 'how to donate' tab at the bottom.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS - USA
DR. NADIM KASSEM
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