Soroka Medical Center
Defending Israel's Health
Autumn Greeting and Appeal
Dear Friends,

We are extremely proud of Soroka Medical Center for its extraordinary role in caring for Israel’s wounded sons and daughters this summer, fulfilling its role as “Israel’s Iron Dome for Health”. During Operation Protective Edge, Soroka Medical Center treated 0ver 1,200 wounded, including 775 IDF Soldiers. This holiday season we pray for peace and for the security of Israel. We are profoundly thankful to the medical staff at Soroka Medical Center for their heroic efforts in saving the lives and healing the wounds of so many during Operation Protective Edge. We pray for a refuah shelemah for those whose path to recovery continues, and draw inspiration form the wounded IDF soldiers who rushed from their hospital beds at Soroka back to battle as soon as they could. We tremendously appreciate the encouragement and gratitude of an entire nation who visited our campus and supported the wounded soldiers, their families and our staff, as well as the hundreds of calls and notes we received in our NY office with your prayers and good wishes.

Your generous contributions to our Special Emergency Funds enabled the purchase of urgently needed emergency life-saving equipment. With the support and generosity of our “Friends”, Soroka will be prepared for the future.

With our warmest regards, and best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful new year,
Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
Executive Director
Upcoming Events
Miami Debut Gala
January 18, 2015
The Historic Alfred I. DuPont Building. Please contact for additional information and to join the committee.

Urgent Fundraising Priority - Expanded Emergency Room and Trauma Center

As the only major medical center for the entire Negev, Soroka Medical Center faces unique challenges. It is Israel’s busiest Emergency and Trauma Centers, with over 200,000 visits per annum. As became clear during Operation Protective Edge, Soroka’s current Emergency Room size is insufficient for the level of Trauma volume that we experienced, and will also soon be insufficient to meet the peace–time demands of the Negev. The population in the south of Israel is set to increase by as much as 30% in the next 10 years given the new IDF bases opening in the South. Soroka’s project to expand our Department of Emergency Medicine and our Trauma Center is of great strategic importance to Israel, and is undertaken in consultation and partnership with the Ministry of Health. Dr. Ehud Davidson, the CEO of Soroka, who will be attending this event, assigned this project an urgent status.

Please contact Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld to learn how you can participate in this momentous and essential project. • 914-582-9070

Scenes from Soroka during Operation Protective Edge
Photo credit: Israel Yosef
Soldiers wounded in combat in Gaza are led to the emergency room at Soroka.

Soroka performed magnificently during the war, fulfilling its role as “Israel’s Iron Dome for Health”. Over the course of this extremely difficult and stressful 2-month period, Soroka’s devoted ER and Trauma staff cared for 1259 wounded: of those 775 were IDF soldiers, including the most severely wounded. Dozens of helicopters landed at Soroka with the most severely wounded soldiers. Soroka, the only major medical center for the entire Negev, heroically met the challenges of this war, and is fully prepared for the future.

During Operation Protective Edge it became clear that Soroka’s current Emergency Room size is insufficient for the level of trauma volume that we experienced, and will also soon be insufficient to meet the peace-time demands of the Negev. The population in the south of Israel is set to increase by 30% in the next 6 years given the new IDF bases opening in the South. Soroka’s project to expand our Department of Emergency Medicine and our Trauma Center is of great strategic importance to Israel. Dr. Ehud Davidson, the CEO of Soroka, assigned this project an urgent status, and has the full support of the Ministry of Health.

New Record for Births

On Tisha B’Av, August 5, 2014 - also the last day of the war, a record breaking 68 babies were born in Soroka Medical Center. This was a record for a hospital in Israel, and it was also nearly exactly the same as the number of Israelis that died in Operation Protective Edge through that date, plus one. This riveting coincidence captured international attention, and created a surge of optimism.

Soroka is one of the largest and most strategic hospitals in Israel, and the sole major Medical Center for the entire Negev, serving over 1 million residents in an area that comprises 60% of Israel’s land. In recent weeks, with the onset of Operation Protective Edge, Soroka has been inundated with soldiers wounded in the nearby Gaza Strip and affected civilians.

In response to Operation Protective Edge and the subsequent high increase in incoming trauma patient volume, American Friends of Soroka Medical Center established an Emergency Equipment fund to help the hospital purchase urgently needed supplies and equipment. We are deeply grateful to all of the individuals who donated.

Additionally, Soroka medical staff has been working tirelessly to support civilians and soldiers suffering from psychological trauma of Operation Protective Edge. In order to help those affected cope with the daily disturbances of rocket fire and the anxieties of the larger military operation, the Soroka’s Vivian and Seymour Milstein Trauma Recovery Center released urgent treatment recommendations to children, their parents, and all individuals struggling to deal with intense trauma.

Israeli dignitaries, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres have recently visited wounded soldiers and their families in Soroka, carrying with them a message of solidarity, appreciation and encouragement to the heroic medical staff at Soroka for their excellence and tireless work.

Gala Benefit Dinner
Ambassador Ido Aharoni and Caroline Freidfertig, AFSMC Secretary

June 17, 2014 - Over 200 Friends of Soroka gathered at The New York Palace Hotel to help raise money for Soroka’s new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, who received the Stateswoman for Health award, made an impassioned speech lauding Soroka for its lifesaving leadership in the global health arena.

“In the 21st century, global health is a humanitarian, economic, and national security issue. Public health threats like the spread of infectious diseases including flu, AIDS, MERS and the spread of tobacco and obesity do not recognize state or national borders. Socioeconomic status is a powerful predictor of heath worldwide. More than 748 million people do not have safe water to drink and 2 billion people live on less than $2 a day. There are significant health disparities in our world. We live in an interdependent, interconnected world so that one nation’s problems

Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, MD receiving award from Dr. Larry Norton

becomes every nation’s problem. All nations are impacted by infectious and chronic diseases. 80% of the chronic disease burden is now in the developing world. Countries must worry about pathogens as well as carcinogens.

But the good news is that solutions cross borders as well. Advances from science, technology and public health are being delivered in innovative new ways and health systems are being built and strengthened as a cornerstone to improving health. Furthermore, a “health in all policies” approach,emphasizing the power of prevention and preparedness, mobilizing all sectors of society is needed to make communities healthier, safer and stronger worldwide. Education, employment, protecting human rights and ensuring access to health care are essential elements. The quest for better health crosses languages, cultures and politics and health diplomacy is a powerful tool for peace.

Jonathan & Jennifer Franklin, Debbie Goz, Danielle Goz, Caroline Freidfertig, Galina Novikova

Soroka Hospital has been at the forefront of these efforts translating science into superb clinical care as well as providing training and treating Bedouins and Arabs. As David

Ben Gurion once said, “in Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” Soroka hospital is a miracle in the Middle East, providing hope for a healthier future for the people of Israel and our world

Soroka Professor Gabriel Gurman received the Distinguished Service Award, and legal media expert Dan Abrams eloquently served as Master of Ceremonies. The elegant dinner, which featured live auction and silent auction, enabled American Friends to contribute the funds for the Triage Room, and essential component of the new NICU building, which is needed to meet the needs of growing population of the south. This new building will be designed to exceed the current standard of protection from missile attack.

AFSMC Medical Advisory Board Member Dr. Arielle Kauvar with Dr. James Cottrell
Dr. Reina Marin & Emilio Bassini, Kim & Raymond Amzallag
Dr. Erik Skolnick, Harriett Zeller, Dr. Lynne Quittell
Parlor Meeting

On August 6, 2014 - about a month into Operation Protective Edge - Drs. Rebecca Amaru & Jonathan Waitman hosted a parlor meeting for the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center at their home in White Plains, NY. The featured speaker was Dr. David Geffen, the Chief of Breast Oncology Services at Soroka who co-chaired the New Frontiers in Cancer Research Conference that took place at Soroka on April 2. The international conference was undertaken to promote Soroka’s new Comprehensive Cancer Center, the first of its kind in the Negev. It covered breast cancer related topics ranging from new therapeutics to immunology to genetics. The keynote speaker was Larry Norton, the leading breast cancer researcher from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

At the conference, Drs. Merav Fraenkel and Ethel Siris presented results from their new study, “Association between Bone Mineral Density and Incidence of Breast Cancer,” published this August in the open access journal PLoS One. By examining medical records from women treated at Soroka over the past decade, the study confirmed that a higher bone density is associated with a greater risk of developing breast cancer. This association is due to the fact that estrogen stimulates the growth of both bone and mammary tissues.

At the parlor meeting, Dr. Geffen reminisced about coming to Soroka twenty-eight years ago. At that time, cancer patients in the Negev had to travel to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv for treatment. He was justifiably proud of building an oncology department that delivers all of the up-to-date therapies to his patients, “just like they could get in New York, Paris, or anywhere,” he quipped.

Dr. Rebecca Amaru, Mitzi Geffen, Dr. David Geffen, Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld

He started by noting that there is definitely a biochemical link between obesity and breast cancer risk. But the more interesting link, he said, is that between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk. He cited a study done in California that followed 9000 patients with non-metastatic breast cancer for a median of ten years. It concluded that post menopausal women who drank 1 glass of wine (6 oz) per day had a small but statistically significant chance of breast cancer recurrence. The interesting part is that drinking a glass of wine can also lower the risk of coronary artery disease in this population.

Then he segued into speculating about whether common drugs taken for other purposes can impact cancer. We don’t know yet, because rigorous studies into this area have been sadly lacking. He mentioned three studies that are examining the use of common drugs as adjuvant therapies in breast cancer patients undergoing standard treatment regimens: one being done by the National Cancer Institute of Canada using metformin, a type 2 diabetes drug sold under the trade name Glucophage; another at the University of Beijing using aspirin; and the last at Johns Hopkins University using a statin.

In response to a question from the audience, Dr. Geffen said that the Sephardic population - which comprises the bulk of the Jewish patients seen at Soroka - has a slightly lower incidence of breast cancer than Ashkenazim, who are more likely to harbor BRCA1 mutations. The Bedouin a population also heavily served by Soroka, have by far the lowest rate. However, their rates of breast cancer are is rising as their lifestyle and becomes westernized, particularly as more fat enters their diets.

Long Beach, NY presents Soroka with funds for the purchase of Emergency Equipment
Rabbi Chaim Wakslak, Rabbi of YILB, Nelson Speiss, Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld

August 17, 2014 - Under the leadership of Young Israel of Long Beach President Nelson Speiss, the Long Beach, Lido Beach and Atlantic Beach Jewish Communities united to raise $65,000 for the Soroka Medical Center Emergency appeal over the summer, funding the purchase of a Lifepak 15 Monitor, Defibrillator, PaceMaker - essential for the emergency care of incoming. This advanced instrument saves critical time in emergency settings – saving lives – blood pressure, pulse, respiration rate, saturation, PCO2, temperature, ECG etc, and also acts as an external defibrillator and pacemaker.

Do Good, Look Great.

Two close friends, Ariana Rabbani and Whitney Skibell, were saddened about the events taking place in Israel, and were inspired to do their part to help those who defend Israel with their lives. They set a goal to raise $250,000 to help Soroka purchase all of the specialized equipment necessary to completely outfit a new state of the art operating room.

A collection of 14k gold and diamond jewelry was designed to raise funds for this special project. 100% of the net proceeds will go to Soroka Medical Center. A perfect holiday gift that looks great and does good!

To purchase and for more information: or call (212) 869-0973