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.

In June we held a Gala Benefit Dinner in New York City, and I am proud to share with you in this newsletter some reflections on that beautiful evening, celebrated with cherished friends - both new and of long-standing.

We also bring you a moving and inspirational story, written by a young mother celebrating the recovery of her baby at Soroka. This story underscores Soroka’s holistic and humanistic approach to healing - a theme that was also illuminated at our dinner, as we honored one of the world leaders in Humanism in Medicine, Dr. Shimon Glick.

Soon, the iconic “White Coat” ceremony will be celebrated at Soroka, as Ben Gurion University Faculty of Health Sciences Medical School for International Health in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center welcomes a new class. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation designated a special White Coat Ceremony “to welcome entering medical students and help them to establish a psychological contract for the practice of medicine. The event emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for the patient as well as scientific proficiency”. We were greatly honored to have our dear friends Arnold and Sandra Gold present at the June Gala, alongside the Columbia University leadership of the MSIH.

We also are pleased to share with you an update on the impact of Haim and Cheryl Saban’s philanthropy at Soroka, as we note with delight that the iconic Power Ranger brand developed by Chaim Saban is celebrating its 20th birthday!

As we prepare for the New Year, Israel faces worrisome tension along its borders, as troubles in Syria and Egypt threaten our security. Soroka, as always, is on high alert, serving the medical needs of the IDF, and treating all patients regardless of race, religion, nationality or orientation. Soroka’s serves as a premier Israeli asset, with a stellar reputation for excellence, from translational research to the most advanced therapies, where the patient’s well-being is foremost, and is at the core of a strong and secure Israel.

Please consider a donation to Soroka Medical Center as we approach the holiday season. 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
Upcoming Events

October 19: Benefit Concert in Westchester

Coming Soon: Young Professionals event in NYC

Special Giving Opportunity

Launched at our Gala Benefit Dinner: Fund-a-Wish - Pediatric Care

Created to help the hospital meet a very special need to bring joy and normalcy to the children who must be hospitalized for prolonged periods. When young cancer patients are in the hospital as patients on their birthday, we will offer them a celebration of life on their special day. $1,000 funds one party and also supports a special fund at Soroka for pediatric cancer patients, to help fund special medications not covered by the government Insurance. If a child has a disease that does not respond to current therapies, and the doctor prescribes a drug not currently in the insurance "basket", the family must pay out-of-pocket. This fund was created to help families in need afford these medications, and have the best shot available for a cure for their child. This Birthday Wish Fund is a doubly meaningful opportunity: to bring joy and hopefully also a new chance for a sick child fighting the fight of their life at Soroka.
Fund a Wish Now!

First Annual Gala Benefit Dinner
Dr. Shimon Glick
June 18, 2013 - American Friends of Soroka Medical Center held their Gala Benefit Dinner at The

Harvard Club in NYC, honoring two extraordinary individuals profoundly devoted to Soroka, Israel’s busiest hospital and the only major medical center in the southern half of the country. Over 250 attendees enjoyed a concert by the Gerard Edery Ensemble, an exciting silent auction, and moving presentations.

Dr. Shimon Glick, who has enjoyed a remarkable 40 year tenure, inspiring and nurturing generations of medical professionals at Soroka, received the Visionary Leadership Award. One of Soroka’s most luminous leaders, Glick’s career includes world-class accomplishments in medical science and patient care, and international stature in modern Jewish Medical Ethics. Professor Glick enjoys a strong global professional network, emanating from his cutting-edge research and advocacy. Colleagues from Coney Island Hospital, Ben Gurion University Faculty of Health Sciences Medical School for International Health in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center, Mount Sinai and the Arthur P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine were among those who joined in this tribute.

Brad & Robin Klatt, Ruthe Stone
Laurie & Yitz Glick, Josh Minkove and Shachar Minkove
Alexandra & Daniel Roubeni, Daniel & Sepi Koren
Caroline Freidfertig
Gidon Freidfertig, Pazit Levitan, Alon Mor, Alexandra Mor
Vivian Zeitlin, Lady Nina Franklin, Sir Roland Franklin, David Zeitlin

Katja Goldman, speaking on behalf of herself and husband Michael Sonnenfeldt, her sister Dorian Goldman and her husband Marvin Israelow, and her brother Lloyd Goldman and his wife Victoria, presented Dr. Glick with his award, a bronze mezuzah hand-crafted by Negev artist Vidik Noiman. “My family has had a long and deep association with the Ben Gurion University Faculty of Health Sciences Medical School for International Health in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center, which is named for my parents, of blessed memory, Joyce and Irving Goldman.

Soroka Medical Center, together with the Ben Gurion University Medical School and the Ben Gurion University Faculty of Health Sciences Medical School for International Health in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center, has earned an international reputation for excellence that is unique and distinguished. It is known for its holistic approach to the patient, as well a focus of bringing Israeli medical expertise to underserved global communities, which is closely linked to Dr. Glick’s leadership in Humanism in Medicine. It is therefore exceptionally meaningful for me to share the stage with Dr. Glick on this very special night of tribute and recognition for a world leader in medicine.”

Mandy Patinkin
(click to view the video online)

Mandy Patinkin, actor, singer, and star of Homeland, recognizes in Soroka cutting-edge medical expertise, coupled with a singular humanitarian focus. He is greatly inspired by the vital role Soroka plays in the health of the underserved and diverse populations of the Negev. Mr. Patinkin received the Statesman for Health Award. Please view his video greeting on our website at

Rabbi Marc Schneier presented the award to Mandy Patinkin and offered greetings and reflections on Soroka as a beacon of global peace through delivery of excellent healthcare. Ambassador Ido Aharoni inspired the audience with insight into Israel’s triumphs and leadership in technology, and Soroka’s starring role.

The Honorary Co-Chairs for the event were Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Cheryl and Philip Milstein and Rabbi Marc Schneier. The Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation served as event Co-Chairs.

Efrat Elgarisi with Dr. Michael Sherf

An emotional highlight of the event was the presence of surprise guest Efrat Elgarisi. Efrat appeared in Soroka’s promotional video 10 years ago as an adorable 8-year-old newly cured of a severe leukemia. She is now a vibrant and healthy 19 year old, who is quietly discovering her voice as an advocate and counsellor for children with cancer. In her own words: “I fought cancer for four years and beat it. The disease forced me to grow up fast, to understand the meaning of life, something many who were older didn’t understand. I came to terms with death, calmed my parents, and thanks to the power of recovery, I have been privileged to visit places around the world and empower sick children through many programs. Today, I feel that God wanted me to give strength to those around me, wanted me to support others. If I can make one child with cancer at Soroka or any other place in the world smile each day, then everything I went through was worth it, and I’m not sorry I had cancer. I deeply thank the wonderful, warm, skillful and dedicated staff at Soroka for hugging me, for curing me, and for helping to make all of this possible.”

Proceeds from the dinner were dedicated to the building of Soroka’s new Comprehensive Cancer Center, which will transform cancer care in the Negev


The Saban Family Opens its Heart to Soroka
Haim and Cheryl Saban

We salute Haim and Cheryl Saban for their life-saving contributions to the children of Beer Sheva, and for all of their exquisite philanthropy for Soroka, on the 20th anniversary of the iconic Power Rangers. Saban Pediatric Center, inaugurated in September, 2008, was erected thanks to the generous donation of Cheryl and Haim Saban, along with additional funding from public institutions and other donors.

The Saban Pediatric Center represents a very significant event in the history of the Pediatric Division and Soroka Medical Center. The old, crowded pediatric department constructed in the 1960s was replaced by spacious, attractively designed facilities tailored to the needs of the child patients, facilitating top-notch patient and out-patient medical services for the 400,000 children of the Negev.

The Saban Pediatric Center includes a Pediatric Emergency Room, Pediatric Intensive Care Units with isolation facilities, four children’s hospital departments, a Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department with large modern rooms that are setting new standards for medical care of children in the Negev.

Another milestone in the Saban Family involvement in Soroka Medical Center was the official opening of the new Saban Maternity and Gynecology Center in 2011 that replaced the old jam-

Saban Pediatric

packed delivery rooms that also had been built in the 1960s. Employing unique architectural features and highly improved conditions, the residents of the Negev are the fortunate recipients of excellent birthing surroundings and the best hospital and medical services available. The new structure includes two modern Emergency Rooms (Maternity and Gynecology), state-of-the-art operating rooms and a wing of 25 spacious, bombproof, individual delivery rooms. Coming full-circle, the Saban Pediatric Clinics were officially inaugurated on August 27th. The Saban Pediatric Clinic Complex contains 22 clinics specializing in every field of pediatric medicine. These clinics provide professional compassionate care to over 30,000 children annually. The new clinics cover an area ten times larger than the old clinics, affording a much needed sense of privacy. The new playground and spacious waiting rooms translate into a much more pleasant experience for the children and their families.

Saban Birth and Maternity Center

The new Pediatric Complex and the Maternity and Gynecology Center are among the most advanced in Israel and serve as a role model. Other institutions planning to refurbish or construct such centers make it a point to visit Soroka for inspiration. Our new Saban Pediatric Hospital features state-of-the-art patient care, as well as some unique features inspired by Haim Saban: we have a movie theater that allows hospitalized children to “go to the movies”, and the corridors and public spaces are replete with film ephemera that brings smiles to the face of the sickest patients. The building also features unique classrooms and a science lab that allows all pediatric patients, whether hospitalized overnight or long-term, not to miss a day of school.

Speaking of inspiration, it is that personal touch of Haim and Cheryl Saban that has made the contact between them and Soroka Medical Center so meaningful over the years. For example, Cheryl Saban is the driving force behind the wonderful academic cooperation with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, enabling professional interaction for the benefit of all concerned. We know we have true friends in Haim and Cheryl Saban. They are always ready to proffer a helping hand, offering wise advice, guidance and support.

A Family's Prayer's Were Answered
Professor Zehavi Cohen,
Director of Pediatric Surgery, with Noa

“My personal cell phone says ‘Professor Zehavi- The Angel’, exclaims Bracha, mother of 7 month old Noa. I have no doubt there is a divine guiding hand, and the Lord’s messenger in the case of our Noa is Professor Zehavi”. Noa, the first daughter of Bracha, a chemical engineer, and Ofer, an industrial engineer, was born earlier with a rare, congenital and extremely complex bowel obstruction, affecting one in 12,000 Israeli children. This is not a case of a single-center bowel obstruction but of multiple obstructions that prevent a child from eating and developing normally. Prior to birth an extended bowel was suspected and monitored, causing fear and deliberations, but Bracha felt in her heart that everything would be okay, so the young mother allowed herself to feel excited as she awaited her first childbirth. The delivery went well and Noa, now six months old, was born weighing 4 kilograms. However, she faced the need for immediate surgical intervention.

The first operation was at a community hospital. About a week after the surgery, it was clear Noa wasn’t managing well: her abdomen swelled, the bowels remained obstructed and her condition deteriorated. She was transferred to the care of Prof. Zehavi, head of Pediatric Surgery at Soroka. From the very first meeting with Professor Zehavi, says Bracha, “it was clear to us that this was the man who would save our little fragile Noa” They were captivated by his warmth and compassion, coupled with outstanding talent and experience.

Since then, the Barzilai family has virtually lived at Soroka. Both parents stopped working and have been at her bedside, taking care of Noa day and night. Noa is fed through a feeding tube,and is being closely monitored by the Pediatric Surgery Department staff. She has endured three additional complicated surgeries. Against all odds, she continues to recover well and her condition has improved to the point where the medical staff is optimistic that she will soon be released.

In the parents words: “The Department of Pediatric Surgery at Soroka has become our actual home. We’re here day and night in a light-filled room, extremely colorful, friendly, pleasant and inviting. There hasn’t been a day the nursing, medical and administrative staff didn’t come to check on both Noa and her parents, to see if we needed anything. The staff is calming,encouraging and supportive in the difficult moments and shares the joy and excitement, just like family, in Noa’s successes, achievements and progress.” “Even today, when Professor Zehavi enters the room asking what’s going on and how can he help, I see the light in his eyes and the concern in his heart, and I immediately calm down, regain my senses and start updating him. I am reassured that Noa will be fine one day soon.

The Barzilai family has much to celebrate this New Year - and Soroka shares in their joy!

Soroka Medical Center Welcomes Ehud Davidson as CEO
Dr. Ehud Davidson

Dr. Ehud Davidson became Director-General of Soroka Medical Center in May, following six years of service as a senior medical administrator in Clalit Health Services. He replaced Dr. Michael Sherf, who had led Soroka for the past six years. Since 2007, Dr. Davidson served as Clalit's Deputy Director General and Head of the Hospitals' Division. His earlier positions at Clalit included directing Meir Medical Center and the Clalit Northern District. Clalit is Israel's largest Healthcare fund. Soroka, with a catchment area that includes all of the Negev, is Clalit's largest hospital, and one of the largest in Israel.

At Clalit, Davidson was closely involved in promoting Soroka's advancement and development. Over the past few years, Clalit Health Services has made large investments in Soroka to develop its infrastructure, equipment and human resources. Dr. Davidson said this experience will help him meet the challenges of being the hospital's director-general, including in the purchase of advanced technologies, construction and development, and further developing manpower.

Michael Sherf has been tapped to fill the Clalit deputy director post vacated by Dr. Davidson; he becomes the Deputy Director-General in charge of the hospitals' division. This shift allows the two to collaborate closely to optimize Soroka's future opportunities and development. Soroka's largest project in the near-term is the construction of the new Comprehensive Cancer Center.

American Friends of Soroka Medical Center joins with Dr. Davidson and the entire staff of Soroka in thanking Dr. Sherf for his excellent work and major accomplishments over the past six years and wishing him all the best in his new position.