Soroka Medical Center
Defending Israel’s Health
Rosh HaShana Greetings & Kol Nidre Appeal
Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of American Friends, and the entire staff of Soroka Medical Center, I extend warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for a Happy and Healthy New Year, and a meaningful High Holy Day season. I am proud to share with you an update on our recent activities, some plans for upcoming events, and relay two moving patient success stories.

We have enjoyed a wide array of events over the past 3 months that advanced our goals of raising funds for critical hospital projects and building awareness in America for Soroka – a unique and treasured Israeli institution. Our inaugural Musical Evening launched our fundraising initiatives for the future Comprehensive Cancer Center; we arranged a Visiting-Professor Panel at Soroka featuring four top American Urologists; our Neonatal Intensive Care Director visited Charlotte, NC to train hospital staff in emergency disaster preparedness; Dr. Michael Sherf led a delegation of Soroka medical “stars” in a fascinating Shabbat symposium at The Hampton Synagogue that underscored how we protect our humanitarian mission in challenging times; and Senior Surgeon Michael Bayme visited Great Neck Synagogue to share his personal story of how his career at Soroka intertwines trauma surgery, state-of-the-art breast surgery, intense community involvement and Army service. In presenting Soroka’s story to new and appreciative audiences we illuminate our unique challenges and capabilities.

One of these challenges – threat of Missile attacks – unfortunately persists. Even as school-children throughout Israel prepared for the first days of school, children in the South spent time in emergency shelters, in the face of missile attacks from Gaza. Our staff works in a complex environment where patients are often facing emotional trauma from exposure to violence, and where routine activities have to be calibrated to accommodate emergency scenarios – for example, when neighborhood schools are ordered closed by homeland security forces, staff children accompany their parents to work, and are provided informal education opportunities in protected space.

In the past month we have had some unique patient stories that serve to underscore the excellence and capabilities of our medical staff. Read below to learn of the bold and innovative heart surgery that saved a Russian man’s life when local doctors there offered him no hope, and of Soroka physicians who successfully diagnosed and excised a brain tumor and restored a small child’s vision when the child complained: “I can only see the night”.

My overwhelming emotion in reflecting on these events is PRIDE. As I have said in this space before, Soroka is a beacon for safety, healing and unity in the most trying of situations – and we are also a Global beacon – with a stellar reputation for excellence, from translational research to the most advanced therapies, all within a holistic framework, where the patient’s well-being is foremost.

I hope you will consider including Soroka in your donations for the New Year – and make a gift to support Soroka Medical Center. Your help will enable us to provide critical care to Israelis at times of emergency, and resources to further our innovative, cutting edge research.


With our Sincere Appreciation for your Support,

Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
Executive Director
  • Parlor meeting in NYC
  • Inaugural Miami Fundraiser
  • Long Island Event
  • Westchester Chanuka
    social event
The Light of My Eyes
August 22, 2012 - The mother’s quick and wise reaction saved her little son’s eyesight.
Read the story...
Soroka Specialists Save
a Man from Moscow
August 28, 2012 - The life of a 50 year old man from Moscow was saved thanks to complex emergency surgery performed by cardiovascular specialists at Soroka.
Read the story...
Dr. Asher Bashiri
Dr. Asher Bashiri

Dr Asher Bashiri is a senior gynecologist at the Soroka University Medical Center’s Delivery and Gynecology Unit, and senior lecturer at the Ben Gurion University’s Faculty of Medicine. Asher was born and raised in Be’er Sheva, where he lives today with his wife and four children. Dr. Bashiri specializes in childbirth, high risk pregnancies, recurrent pregnancy losses, maternal fetal medicine and ultrasound. He has published many articles in his area of expertise and presents regularly at medical conferences worldwide. His clinical expertise in these very sensitive areas helps support and heal families facing the unique pain and stress resulting from a pregnancy loss. Asher embraces his profession as a personal mission for promoting the health system in the Negev, a tremendous personal priority given his local roots.

Asher is a Sephardic Jew, and immensely proud of his heritage. He was awarded a grant by ISEF – The International Sephardic Education Foundation - during his fellowship in the ultrasound unit in NYU during 2002-2003, and since then has been actively involved in many activities in conjunction with ISEF. Asher is in very close contact with ISEF students – particularly the medical students. He advises and mentors them, helping them to navigate their career development and maximize their potential. Asher understands the huge impact that ISEF had on his own personal development, and helps to connect other up-and-coming medical student from the periphery with ISEF so that they can apply for scholarships as well. This is closely aligned with his mission to strengthen the health-care delivery system in the Negev.

Priviate residence of board member Caroline Freidfertig
Musical Evening
Scarsdale, NY - June 3, 2012 Musical Evening, – 100 guests were welcomed at the Scarsdale home of board member Caroline Freidfertig for our Inaugural musical evening. With a world-Class Jazz performance by international star Aaron Weinstein and his Trio, funds were raised for the future Comprehensive Cancer Center. Thanks to the committee that included Melanie Lee, Debbie Markowitz, Patricia Englehard, Lorraine Kransdorf, Ruth Steinberg. Please see our website for a video of the event.
From left: Dr. Susan Klein, Dr. Eric Klein, Neil Fleshner, Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld, Joel Sheinfeld, Gennady Brataslavsky
Urologist Mission to Soroka:
July 2, 2012 - The Urology faculty of Soroka Medical Center welcomed four prominent American and Canadian Urologists for a professional development day. With an audience of Urology professionals from around the country, the guests delivered talks on state-of-the-art topics in their individual areas of expertise. This provided an excellent opportunity for both the Soroka team and the invited guests to share ideas and build relationships. Featured guests were: Dr. Joel Sheinfeld, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Eric Klein, The Cleveland Clinic; Dr. Neil Fleshner, University of Toronto; and Dr. Gennady Bratslavsky from Syracuse University.
Dr. Ohad Birk
American Sephardi Federation
July 12, 2012 - Dr. Agi Golan and Dr. Ohad Birk presented at the beautiful American Sephardi federation, at the invitation of Director Lynne Winters. Dr. Golan is the head of the Neonatial Intensive Care Unit at Soroka (see Charlotte Events) and Dr. Birk is the head of the Genetics Institute at Soroka. Dr. Birk is an expert in rare genetic diseases, with particular focus on the populations of the Negev: Sephardic Jews and Bedouins. Dr. Birk has led the institute to international fame, and is responsible for greatly alleviating the suffering of these populations. See related article from The Forward.
Dr. Michael Sherf, Director General of Soroka Medical Center, with Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld.
The Hampton Synagogue
July 13 - 14, 2012 - Soroka Medical Director Michael Sherf and American Friends of Soroka Executive Director led a delegation of Soroka Physicians as special guests of The Hampton Synagogue, Shabbat July 13 - 14. Beautiful connections were made to this wonderful community, and we thank the synagogue for their warmth and hospitality.
Dr. Agi Golan with Talia Goldman and
Dr. Steven Goldman
Dr. Agneta Golan Visits Charlotte, NC
July 16 - 17 Charlotte, NC - Dr. Agneta Golan, director of the Neonatal intensive Care Unit at Soroka, visited Charlotte, North Carolina at the invitation of Presbyterian Hospital, where she delivered 2 talks to the Charlotte medical community on Emergency Preparedness. At the Parlor meeting at the Goldman residence she shared her story of the special risks and responsibilities of caring for the most fragile patients while under direct missile attack. Dr. Golan is raising funds for a new, secure Neonatal Intensive Care building, that will be safe for patients, family and physicians alike in the face of attack
Dr. Michael Bayme with American Friends of Soroka Director Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
Dr. Michael Bayme
August 2, 2012 – Great Neck, NY Dr. Michael Bayme, Senior Surgeon at Soroka, a Yeshiva of Flatbush and Princeton Grad, Spoke at Great Neck Synagogue about his experiences delivering Medicine Under Fire. Dr. Bayme discussed his unique career and illuminated how Soroka protects its humanitarian mission in times of conflict.