Newsletter April 2017
Spring Greetings & Passover Appeal
Dear Friends,

Spring is officially here, and with it commences the joyful planning for Passover, a holiday rich in history, symbolism and family traditions. We wish all of our friends a wonderful holiday with the blessings of peace and good health. It is also the perfect time for the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center to say thank you to our loyal supporters across the country. We thank all of you who have supported Soroka, by attending an event, sending a contribution, or visiting our medical campus in Be’er Sheva. We appreciate your concern for Soroka and desire to help us strengthen our infrastructure to meet the challenging period of growth that lies ahead.

The patient volumes achieved at Soroka in the past 12 months are astounding: we provided services to over 6.5 million patients and helped bring 17,000 babies into the world, performed 33,000 surgeries, provided services to 750,000 patients at our outpatient clinics and institutes; and admitted 235,000 patients to our ER, including hundreds of wounded who landed on the airstrip at Soroka.

While our volumes increased dramatically, our patient outcomes continue to improve. Soroka was recognized by the Ministry of Health for our exceptional success in infection control, ranking the best in all of Israel in this critical metric.

In the past year, we also continued to invest resources in development, construction, and the provision of new services. We launched the Brain Center, with a new biplanar neuroangiography suite for catheterizations of the brain. We expanded services in the area of maxillofacial surgery and opened a second orthopedics department. A fifth maternity ward has also been added, in line with the increasing birthrates in the Negev region. In addition, we adopted innovative technologies for the performance of advanced medical procedures. We began to use our new, state-of-the-art linear accelerator for the most progressive treatment of cancer patients in Israel and performed groundbreaking transplants. The new Comprehensive Cancer Center building has been erected, and fundraising continues for this cornerstone project, that will revolutionize cancer care for the region. Soroka is committed to providing the best possible care to all of our patients.

Wishing you a lovely spring and a happy holiday!

Ken Abramowitz Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
President Executive Director
It would be our pleasure to welcome you to these important upcoming events

April 26 – New York City Gala benefit dinner at The Pierre Hotel
Guests of honor: Sonia Gardner, Abe Maslavi & Shouly Maslavi, with a special tribute to the legendary labor leader David Dubinsky. Info & tickets here

April 30 – An Afternoon Fête in Los Angeles
A special afternoon of fun and philanthropy at a private home in Beverly Hills. RSVP here

June 29 – July 6 – Be a part of Soroka’s first mission to Israel!
Join us for a 5-star trip of specially curated and unique experiences. Promises to be a world-class and memorable experience. Call 914-725-9070 or email for additional information.

Please read within for details.
As we gather with our loved ones to celebrate the holiday season, we give thanks for all the blessings in our lives, especially the gift of good health. Please consider a gift to Soroka, as a wonderful way to express our love for our own family, friends, the State of Israel, especially those being cared for by Soroka Medical Center.

Donations of any amount are appreciated and will be acknowledged.

NYC Gala
American Friends of Soroka Medical Center will host their fifth annual gala benefit dinner on Wednesday, April 26 at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The Gala will benefit Women’s Health Projects, including Soroka’s Breast Health Center, Negev Center for Eating Disorders, and the Saban Birth & Maternity Center. Angela Retelny is the Gala Chair. Co-Chairs are Nira & Ken Abramowitz, David & Hengameh Kimiabakhsh, Caroline &Shlomo Freidfertig and Ruth &Jeffrey Steinberg. Shouly Maslavi and Abraham Maslavi will receive the Fashion Industry Leadership Award. The Maslavi brothers lead Jovani Fashions, a global fashion company. Sonia Gardner will receive the inaugural Dubinsky Humanitarian Award. Ms. Gardner is President, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Avenue Capital Group, a global alternative investment manager. Dan Abrams, chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News, will be Master of Ceremonies. Abram’s states “Soroka provides world-class medical care to the entire lower half of Israel. The more I get to know Soroka the deeper my impression that it serves as a model of peaceful coexistence for the world, and as an outstanding ambassador for the State of Israel. I admire the unique pioneering spirit in Soroka, and in its incredibly talented and devoted team.”

The evening will be a celebration of the fashion industry in honor of Soroka’s American founding father David Dubinsky (1892 -1982), whose achievements included exceptional commitment and bold leadership in the fashion industry, great humanitarianism in championing women’s health in the workplace and extraordinary vision in helping establish Soroka Medical Center together with David Ben-Gurion. Dubinsky was proud to support the young state of Israel and raised $1 million dollars in 1959 to build the hospital and facilitate the great Zionistic dream of helping the desert bloom.

Mr. Dubinsky will be awarded the Statesman for Israel award, to be accepted by Ms. Ryna Appleton Segal, his granddaughter. Dubinsky was one of the world’s most important labor leaders. He was the longest serving president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU from) 1932–1966, vice president of the AFL-CIO, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Under his leadership the ILGWU was a pioneer in healthcare, education and social engagement for its members. Dubinsky’s life achievements laid the foundation for the garment industry to become a vibrant and important force in NYC’s and the nation’s economic and political life. Ms. Segal states “My grandfather knew from the time he was a teenage Bundist labor leader in Czarist Russia, that working women and men did not live by bread alone.”

He believed in caring for the whole person and made sure the ILGWU worked to do just that. The Union was the first in the United States to establish a union health center, a model for the country, staffed by leading physicians from major hospitals, who often donated their time because they believed in the center’s mission.

Dubinsky believed that good health was fundamental to building an engaged citizenship, a community of people ready to make a contribution to their society. To “nourish” the whole person was one of his basic concepts for the role of social unionism. It made the ILGWU strong, enabling it to work nationally and internationally for social justice, democracy and peace. For more info & tickets click here

Infection Control at Soroka sets a standard for all of Israel
The first report of its type, released recently by the Ministry of Health, presents data on sepsis, an infection that may be introduced through a central line through which patients hospitalized in intensive care units receive medication, fluids, blood, and nutrition. The report relates to 2015 and is based on the number of cases of sepsis caused by insertion central lines and treatment using the line in general ICUs in hospitals. Among the large hospitals in Israel, Soroka excelled with the lowest rate of infection – 0.9 per 1,000 line days. This rate is outstanding even at the global level.

Soroka is approved by Ministry of Health for Growth
91 new beds will be added this year, surely needed, as Soroka has been operating at greater than 100% capacity in many of its departments. Given the historic imbalance between government resources allocated for the south of the country, we have participated in two Lobby Days over the past two years at the Knesset where dignitaries from our region and hospital leaders have advocated for urgently needed additional resources. Results are now becoming evident.

The added beds will be placed in the obstetrics, intensive care, pediatrics, rehabilitation, oncology and orthopedics departments, as agreed upon by the Health Ministry and Clalit Health Services (Soroka’s parent company) in consultation with the Beersheba Municipality.

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman declared that the move is aimed at improving medical care in the periphery, adding that the Ministry is committed to giving priority to healthcare in the outlying areas of Israel and making medical treatment there more accessible, with shorter waits.

Clalit director-general Eli Depes said Soroka is a national asset for the south, which has to cope with increased demands for services as more people move into the region, with inadequate manpower and infrastructure. Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich said he was happy about the news, which will reduce gaps between the south and the center of the country, remarking “We want to significantly shorten queues for medical treatment here. “

Cutting Edge Research from Soroka reveals critical link between Gestational Diabetes and Neurological disease in Newborns
Gestational Diabetes in pregnant women directly and independently raises the risk that when their babies are born, they will suffer from neurological illnesses that can include autism, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, according to research led by Prof. Eyal Sheiner, Chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology department at Soroka and Vice Dean at BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences, and recently published in the prestigious American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The link was found especially strong among women whose glucose levels could not be balanced by diet or exercise alone. Gestational diabetes appears during pregnancy, causing high blood sugar that can affect the health of both the mother and child as the baby develops. The reported rates of gestational diabetes are constantly escalating, the authors said. Often, the fetus is large as a result of the excessive sugar in the bloodstream.

Article Photo
Prof. Eyal Sheiner
Expectant mothers can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy food, exercising and, if necessary, taking medication. Blood sugar levels usually return to normal soon after the baby is born, but it also puts mothers at risk of developing Type II diabetes, so their weight and blood sugar should be monitored on a regular basis.

Experts estimate that six to seven percent of all pregnant women suffer from diabetes and that 90% of the cases are gestational. Once they develop gestational diabetes, they are at significant risk of developing glucose intolerance in their lifetime; about half will become diabetic in the two to three decades after delivery.

Until now, it was not clear how much the excessive glucose affects fetus health. Sheiner explained that the results strengthened evidence that the environment in the uterus is very important not only because of the immediate effects on the baby, but also in the long term. “In addition,” he said, “one must remember that pregnancy is a window of opportunity to diagnose chronic diseases in the baby. The results also stress the importance of balancing glucose levels when gestational diabetes is diagnosed, as large amounts can cause neurological complications.”

Soroka Young Professionals, led by MJ Kronfeld, hosted a special event at the David Dubinsky Student Center at FIT
Article Photo
Henri Boll, Liat Zakay & Michael P. Ross
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - The evening, chaired by Daniela Retelny Blum and Jessica Retelny Shames, with the leadership of our young professionals head MJ Kronfeld, and Soroka friends Randy Gilman & Henri Boll, featured guest speaker, Liat Zakay.

Liat, a tech entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Donde Fashion, a unique artificial intelligence based search engine that provides a one-stop destination for shoppers. She studied computer science and economics at Ben Gurion University, and served in the Intelligence division of the IDF.
Article Photo
Liat Zakay, MJ Kronfeld, Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
Donde is the first app of its kind to streamline the online shopping experience, relying solely on visual prompts to help users purchase apparel and accessories specific to their needs. Guests enjoyed an evening of networking and learned about the Soroka neonatal department. The Soroka NICU is the largest in Israel, and the most diverse. It urgently needs to be replaced with a “protected” building built to withstand missile attack from Gaza.

Kol HaKavod
Article Photo
Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld & Judy Grant
We are so proud of volunteer Judy Grant for receiving the Westchester Jewish Council’s Julian Y. Bernstein Distinguished Service Award, bestowed in a community-wide ceremony at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY. Judy’s drive, endless creativity and passion has been instrumental. Soroka is so grateful to Judy for her commitment, and appreciates her community outreach from Los Angeles to Michigan to the Knesset, on behalf of Soroka.

Sign-up now for Soroka’s debut mission to Israel
Thursday, June 29 - July 6, 2017
Enjoy 7 days in Israel with American Friends of Soroka Medical Center!
Stay in luxury hotels, with an extraordinary itinerary that captures the spirit of Israel from the birth of the nation through start-up nation. This trip is suitable for all, whether this will be your first trip to Israel or you have been to Israel many times (not suitable for children under the age of 13).

Includes 3 nights in Jerusalem at the new Orient Hotel, 2 nights in Tel Aviv at the Royal Beach Hotel, and last night in Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev and home to Soroka. Highlights include a tour of the Kotel Tunnels, a private tour of the Knesset, visit to an IDF base, wine tasting at a top winery, and exclusively curated experiences in the high-tech sector and the arts and fashion industry. Participants will enjoy dinners at top restaurants and special entertainment and VIP guests throughout.

Meet Soroka’s leaders and superstar physicians and learn about our cutting-edge medicine, how Soroka meets the healthcare needs of the south of Israel, and understand how the State of Israel looks to Soroka to support the rapid growth of the country’s south. See first hand the diversity and compassion that make Soroka a living symbol of peaceful coexistence.

Land package only is available for $3,600 per person. Price of mission is $4,980 per person, including group airfare.
Fine Print:
Transportation in deluxe bus, with driver, exclusive experiences
Luxurious accommodations, most meals (5 dinners)
Airport transfers & transfers to all activities
6 nights hotel, breakfast daily
5 ½ days touring with experienced tour guide
All group meals are at kosher restaurants
Operational support in Israel from Kenes Travel
Not included:
Personal expenses, travel or medical insurance, tips to driver, guide
Group Airfare is available on Delta Airlines, departing JFK 10:30 PM on June 29.
Arrive: Friday, June 30 at 4 pm.
Return: Depart Israel midnight Thursday
July 6, arriving in JFK on Friday morning July 7.

It is possible to extend your stay without a penalty. Optional Trip Extension to Bereishit Hotel can be arranged as well as other possibilities.

Please contact our office at 914-725-9070 or email for additional information.

Los Angeles Fête, Sunday April 30
Join us at the Beverly Hills home of the Dardashti Family,
Open House beginning at 11 am till 5 pm
for an afternoon of fun and friendship and delicious lite bites to Benefit Soroka Medical Center.

Soroka is the sole major medical center for the entire South of Israel, and crucial for caring for wounded IDF.

Meet Soroka CEO Prof. Ehud Davidson MD

Admission is free but RSVP requested
Call or text Mikey with any questions: 310-210-7766 or call Rachel @ Soroka at office 914-725-9070, cell 914-582-6750
Sign up for this event here.
American Friends of Soroka Medical Center
PO Box 184-H | Scarsdale, NY 10583 | (914) 725-9070