March 2018
Spring Greetings & Passover Appeal
Dear Friends,

We had the honor of visiting Soroka Medical Center last month, and witness the progress made in the construction of the new Comprehensive Cancer Center. It is with great pride that we inform you that the center is scheduled to open this summer.

Soroka’s Comprehensive Cancer Center will provide state-of-the-art treatment to a diverse population. More than 18,000 cancer patients are treated every year at Soroka, including 750 children. Each year, over 1,000 are newly diagnosed with cancer and added to the ranks of our patients.

Since the Negev region is experiencing an increase in cancer diagnosis, dependency upon Soroka Medical Center is rising. Our collaborative vision is to create the most advanced cancer center in the Middle East, leveraging Soroka’s relationship with Ben Gurion University and our location in the burgeoning technology hub of Be’er Sheva.

On May 1, at our annual Gala benefit dinner, we will celebrate the profound generosity and dedication that allowed Soroka to reach this point. Please contact us as soon as possible if you desire to attend this event, or make a dedication at the center. Your gifts of any size to this project will have a lifesaving impact. Please join us in supporting this life-saving cause, and help us raise the additional funds necessary for the completion, and the equipment urgently needed to fulfill the centers mission.

During our visit we had the opportunity to visit with two IDF soldiers who had been wounded during the attack at the Gaza fence the previous week. In sharing words of comfort and prayers with the patients and their families, we were reminded of how critical Soroka’s role as Israel’s Medical Iron Dome is for Israel.

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Thank you for your generous support.

With our warmest regards for a Happy and Healthy Passover and Easter,

Ruth C. Steinberg Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
President Executive Director
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Please join us for an extraordinary evening to benefit our Comprehensive Cancer Center (Opening Summer 2018)
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 6pm - The Pierre Hotel NYC
Dr. Larry Norton Humanitarian Award

Literary Arts Award:
Nicole Krauss

Special Tribute:
Rosalind Franklin (1920 - 1958)

David Kimiabakhsh & Angela Retelny

For information or to join the Tribute Committee 914-725-9070 - dietary laws observed
Info & Tickets Here

July 5 - 12, 2018 - Enjoy 7 days in Israel with American Friends of Soroka Medical Center!
Please contact our office at 914-725-9070 for additional information.

New Director-General for Soroka Medical Center
American Friends of Soroka extends best wishes to Dr. Ehud Davidson, retiring after presiding over five years of extraordinary development, and extends a warm welcome to Dr. Shlomi Codish upon assuming the top role of Director General. A 51-year-old resident of Meitar, a town northeast of Beersheba, Codish is married to Iris, a pediatrician, and father of three. He is a graduate of Ben-Gurion University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, and a master’s degree in public health from BGU as well. He is an internal medicine specialist who completed studies in medical informatics at Yale University and previously held a number of senior positions at Clalit Health Services, including as head of the computerized medical records department in the hospital division and as deputy director of Soroka Medical Center.
  Dr. Shlomi Codish

“I grew up in the Negev, so I am deeply familiar with the area”. Codish said. “Soroka is a leading medical center in Israel with exceptional achievements. Our devoted staff are the backbone of the health system in the Negev. I am proud to have been chosen to join this leadership, and look forward to the growth and challenges ahead.”

Celebrating 2017’s Noteworthy Achievements: Thanks to your help, Soroka University Medical Center Continues to Lead
Approximately 6,900,000 people entered the hospital gates this year; close to 30,000 surgical procedures were performed; about 17,000 babies were born at the Saban Maternity Center; 600,000 visits to outpatient clinics and institutes; dozens of studies by researchers at Soroka were published in medical journals; approximately 240,000 visits to the Emergency Rooms and hundreds of helicopter landings at the hospital’s helipad.

In 2017
  • Soroka leads hospitals in Israel in the national medical quality indicator scores. In the measurement of total infections in the intensive care units performed by the Ministry of Health - Soroka excels.
  • Soroka’s Emergency Room leads Israeli medical centers in a national Ministry of Health satisfaction survey of patients, as well as in patient satisfaction.
  • Da Vinci surgical robot, biplane neuroangiography room for brain catheterizations, a new linear accelerator for radiotherapy for oncology patients and an advanced cardiac catheterization laboratory - are some of the worlds finest technologies and devices purchased by Soroka Medical Center this past year.
Soroka Medical Center - the standard-bearer of quality medicine in Israel and particularly in southern Israel - bridges the existing gaps in health care between the periphery and center of the country. Throughout 2017 Soroka continued to invest resources in development and construction, and new services. We introduced innovative technologies to perform advanced medical procedures. Quality medicine, with special attention to service, is the heart and soul of our work. We strive to continue to work on special projects that combine quality and service, in order to improve patient satisfaction. We will do so through our most important resource - our staff of over 4,000 employees.

Some of the many medical stories, events, achievements, new services and milestones at Soroka in 2017
  • For the first time in Israel, a special treatment for tinnitus through brain catheterization was performed at Soroka.
  • Rehabilitative dental treatment for complex patients - a new service at Soroka’s Oral and Maxillofacial Division.
  • Virtual design of orthodontic surgery performed by physicians in the Oral and Maxillofacial Unit made it possible to print a 3D brace for a patient who suffered from skeletal malocclusion.
  • An innovative project - digital signage and direction using cellular phones - won first place in the 19th annual conference of the National Council for Logistics in Health Care. Text messages to patients while they are being treated in ERA was introduced at Soroka for the first time in Israel.
  • Complex surgery was performed to remove a tumor from the pancreas along with a rare surgical procedure to remove the tumor, which had spread to the portal vein and the splenic vein.
  • A cross-kidney transplant was performed. A man from southern Israel and a woman from the center of the country wanted to donate a kidney to their mothers, but they did not match. In the end, each one donated a kidney to the other mother.
  • Clinical-research cooperation with the Negev Autism Research Center reveals a unique autism database.
  • Two young brothers underwent life-saving surgery at Soroka following aortic rupture. The national health champions gave flu shots to the national soccer champions - Soroka Medical Center staff gave flu shots to Hapoel Beer Sheva soccer players.
  • Getting pregnant and giving birth with a prosthetic valve and congenital heart defect - a young woman underwent the complex process at Soroka.
  • A unique, complex and life-saving procedure to close a vascular defect in the brain was performed at Soroka Medical Center.
A selection of the research conducted this year at Soroka
  • A correlation was established between preterm birth of a woman to history of preterm birth of her mother or aunt.
  • Direct correlation established between obesity during pregnancy and long-term endocrinological complications in the newborns.
  • A correlation was found between stress attributed to fighting in Gaza and blood sugar levels in residents of southern Israel.
  • It was found that obesity and diabetes in childhood is linked to date of birth. A gene significantly involved in male infertility was identified.
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of long-term neurological morbidity of the newborn.
  • In many cases, a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet is better than a low-fat diet, even if the change in weight is lower
Other Noteworthy Happenings
  • Knesset confers honor to Soroka Medical Center on the hospital’s impressive achievement of being the leading hospital in Israel.
  • Innovation in Occupational Therapy seminar was held at Soroka.
  • A seminar marking World Parkinson’s Awareness Day was held at the Movement Disorder Clinic.
  • The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic at Soroka is the leader in dentistry in southern Israel. At our conference Soroka experts, presented innovations in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
  • Unique Imam Forum - for cooperation between imams in the Negev and the hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Division.
  • A unique program of continuity of care in rehabilitation was presented for the first time at an international conference in Moscow by Soroka and Clalit experts.
  • Extraordinary cooperation between the staff of Soroka’s Ultrasound School and Ben-Gurion University, physicians from Harvard and Palestinian physicians - as part of a course for physicians on the use of advanced ultrasound systems.
  • Innovative and complex procedures were broadcast live from the Catheterization Room at Soroka to the ICI cardiology conference.
Looking ahead to an equally productive 2018!

Women’s Health Forum was held in NYC on January 28, touching upon issues relevant to women of all ages
  Professor Asher Bashiri
Professor Asher Bashiri, a prominent Soroka OB-GYN and founder and chair of the World Conference on Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) , brought great sensitivity to his presentation. According to Bashiri, 50% of miscarriages are explainable, ascribed to genetic abnormalities, maternal age, endocrine issues, maternal anatomy, etc. The others have causes not yet known. Prof. Bashiri stated:

Dr. Ethel S. Siris, the Director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis
  Dr. Ethel S. Siris
Center at Columbia University Medical Center is one of the most respected and accomplished physicians in the field of Endocrinology, devoting her career to the understanding, prevention, and treatment of Osteoporosis. Dr. Siris served as the Medical Director of NORA, the National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment, a public health initiative and longitudinal study of Osteoporosis that included over 200,000 postmenopausal women in the US. She has been a long-time collaborator with Dr. Merav Fraenkel, Soroka’s director of Endocrinology.

  Dr. Rebecca Amaru
Siris introduced Osteoporosis as a silent condition that leads to easily broken bones. She stressed that a bone density test is critical to diagnosing Osteoporosis, noting that “bones change throughout life,” and that “women suffer rapid loss of bone when the production of estrogen ceases post menopause. Not only is there less bone, but the quality is altered”.

Key factors to prevent fractures for those with Osteoporosis include carefully monitored medical treatment. “Deficiency leads to the body taking calcium from the bones.” Siris also emphasized the importance of exercise, to keep muscles toned and maintain good balance, to prevent falls.
  Attentive audience

Dr. Rebecca Amaru, OBGYN, Mount Sinai Medical Center, served as moderator, and facilitated the plethora of questions and added depth and insights to the stellar presentations.
Frieda Sasson, Rahel Shamailova, Pazit Levitan, Rachel Heisler, Asher Bashiri, Carlos Gutierrez Jr, Dr. Rebecca Amaru, Caroline Freidfertig
Mrs. Nina Weiner and Dr. Asher Bashiri
Yosefa Galchen, Caroline Freidfertig, Nili Gitig

Fashion & Philanthropy: Maskit Trunk Show in Miami
The Betsey Hotel in South Beach provided an elegant and welcoming setting for a gathering of local philanthropists and fashionista’s to view the new collection of Maskit, Israel’s couture fashion house. Soroka is thrilled to partner with this iconic fashion brand, given our historic ties to the fashion industry. In the late 1950’s, US Labor leader David Dubinsky mobilized the workers of the ILGWU to support a new medical center, the first for Israel’s Negev. Dubinsky succeeded in raising $1 million, facilitating the construction of Soroka Medical Center in 1959.
Pazit Levitan with the Maskit team
Engaging with the designer!
Faye Tzippy Holand
Angela Birdman and Ruth Zeltcer
Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld with Marcy Kane Alibrandi
Sharon Tal, Maskit Fashions

Enjoy 7 days in Israel with American Friends of Soroka Medical Center!
Thursday, July 5 - 12, 2018

Sign-up now for Soroka’s Summer 2018 mission to Israel

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.

Our mission includes 3 nights in Jerusalem at the luxurious Inbal Hotel, 2 nights at the beachside Hilton Hotel, with closing 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, arts and fashion industries. Participants will enjoy dining at top restaurants. The agenda is packed with special and entertainment and VIP guests throughout our journey.

Meet Soroka’s leaders and superstar physicians. 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 southern region. See, first hand, the diversity and compassion that make Soroka a living symbol of peaceful coexistence.

Land package: $3,800 per person.

Please contact our office to obtain the complete itinerary and to secure your spot. Space is limited!

Fine Print:
Price of mission includes:
  • VIP greeting and airport transfers.
  • Transportation in deluxe bus, with driver, exclusive experiences, luxurious accommodations, most meals and transfers to all activities.
  • 6 nights hotel, breakfast and most other meals daily.
  • 5 1⁄2 days touring with experienced tour guide.
  • All group meals are at kosher restaurants.
Price does not include:
  • Personal expenses, travel or medical insurance and tips.
Let us know if you would like assistance arranging airfare Optional Trip Extension to Beresheet Hotel is available.
Please contact our office at 914-725-9070 for additional information.

Flowers For Life
Announcing an exciting new program to Make the Desert Bloom! Soroka, together with Duetto Arts and the artist Simone Kestelman proudly join forces to support cancer research and treatment of people with cancer. These one-of-a-kind ceramic flowers are hand-made and installed by the artist at the Soroka Healing Gardens. Funds raised by this project directly benefit Soroka’s research and treatment to fight cancer. Your purchase of a flower literally helps make the desert bloom!

Simone Kestelman is a sculptor and multi-media artist, working primarily with glass and ceramics. Her artworks are exhibited in various museums, private collections and organizations worldwide.

We invite you to participate in celebrating Israel 70th Anniversary by purchasing the Flower for Life and becoming a part of the Soroka Community. The first installation of flowers will take place this June 2018. You can help to plant the garden by purchasing flowers. Each flower is tax-deductible contribution of $360.00. Your dedication will be inscribed in our on-line scroll of honor. Certificates are available and can be customized in honor of loved ones, to commemorate special milestones, or in memoriam. Clusters of 70 flowers can be dedicated with a plaque.

If you want to be part of this exciting project please follow the link You can also e-mail or call at 914-725-9070.
American Friends of Soroka Medical Center
PO Box 184-H | Scarsdale, NY 10583 | (914) 725-9070