December 2020
Happy Hanukah & Year End Appeal
Raffle + Zoom Experience Info Below
Dear Friends,

The incredible challenges of 2020 have highlighted the blessings in our lives and the great privileges we enjoy, including the opportunity to help others in need. As we strive to cope as best as we can, we are also building important reserves of resilience and encountering opportunities to reexamine priorities and focus on what matters the most to us.

One of the ways we nourish our Soroka Friends community during the COVID-19 Pandemic is with our Ask-the-Expert series, where world-class experts provide vital information to help navigate the global health crisis, building bridges of connectivity in a time of social isolation. In November we launched a Coping & Resilience series. We warmly invite you attend our upcoming sessions, and enjoy our library of past sessions available at www.soroka.org.

This year underscores how we need science, information and trusted Medical & Public Health Experts to help us learn, plan and confront our personal and collective crises and progress. We are grateful to have an institution like Soroka Medical Center in the world – and in our lives- and deeply honored to have special friends like Dr. Michael Hayden and Marc Bennett, who were our guests of honor at our October 18 Virtual Gala. Highlights of this very special and successful event are included below.

This holiday season, your gift to Soroka Medical Center will be immediately deployed to help Soroka Medical Center save lives in Israel’s Negev. Your partnership is so appreciated. With all of our best wishes to you for a Happy and Healthy and Safe holiday season - and may the lights of Hanukah shine on you and yours.
Jay E. Selman, MS, MD
Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
Executive Director

The Unique Impact of Gala 2020
Hundreds of people around the world tuned in to Soroka’s first virtual gala. The Desert-in-Bloom Gala honored two important visionaries. Dr. Michael Hayden, a champion of using the arts to educate and communicate with the public about complex scientific breakthroughs, received the David Dubinsky Humanitarian Award. Marc Bennett, who has spent his life creating powerful images and stories in print and on film, was awarded Soroka’s Healing Arts Award.
Dr. Michael Hayden
Artist Marc Bennett
Academy Award Winner Benj Pasek
THANK YOU to all of our supporters from around the world for tuning in to Soroka’s first virtual gala - The Desert-in-Bloom. A standing ovation to our esteemed honorees, wonderful hosts Michal Divon and Larry Gold, special participation of Benj Pasek with moving musical performances. We thank the inspiring Gala Chairs, Caroline Freidfertig, David Kimia and Carlos Gutierrez, our dedicated board members and of course - our generous guests. We could not have done it without YOU! We are so grateful for the steadfast support of Friends of Soroka. Your generosity over the years and profound spirit of caring in the face of the pandemic means so much and helps Soroka fulfill its lifesaving mission. .
Michal Divon served as MC
Ambassador Dani Dayan received special recognition for his service as Consul General in NY
Mindy Gale presented the award to Marc Bennett
Dr. Jeremy Levin presented the award to Dr. Michael xHayden
“It is a real honor to be given this award from Soroka in Israel. Soroka has been an organization and a hospital that has heard patients’ voices, tried to respond to that needs of that community, the need for hope, the need for optimism and most importantly the need for primary care and it has done so with amazing success” remarked Dr. Michael Hayden. With the help of its generous supporters, Clinical Research at Soroka is set to become one of the most advanced research center championing global and innovative health in the world.

Marc Bennett’s The History of the Star of David is a time capsule that invites us to discover the centuries-long evolution of the six-pointed star. “As an artist and filmmaker, I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than to receive an award for the Healing Arts from a prestigious medical institute in the Negev, makes it all that more meaningful and important to me” stated Marc Bennett. The History of the Star of David will soon become the focal point for Soroka’s new Comprehensive Cancer Center’s healing garden. It evokes a sense of survival and determination, as well as a celebration of Jewish culture, tradition and faith.
IDF Vocalist Shalev Menashe performed "Hatikvah"
NYC Vocalist Nina Zeitlin singing the American National Anthem
Brad Greer performing "Desert Moon"
Hannah Friedman and Bill Buescher Performing "A Million Dreams"
Dr. Michael Hayden
Dr. Shlomi Codish
The History of the Star of David
Artist Marc Bennett

COVID-19 Needs at Soroka
Soroka Medical Center is at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel. Caring for and testing thousands of patients in state-of-the-art facilities, important and lifesaving innovations have been developed at Soroka. As the only Major Medical Center in the area, we have a responsibility and a commitment to meet the healthcare needs of all the residents of the Negev. Your support is needed now more then ever. Visit www.soroka.org/ventilator to learn more and support.

Soroka Stories
Soroka Medical Center is Israel’s leading healthcare institution providing world-class healthcare for all. Located in Be’er Sheva, it is the sole medical center in the entire Negev, one of the country’s most diverse and fastest-growing areas. Join us as we introduce three patients, Rachel, Yasmine and Sigal on their journeys at Soroka Medical Center.

Rachel was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was transferred to Soroka Medical Center from Eilat. Rachel states “The doctors there fought for me and I felt they did everything they could to help me. They were angels who never gave up and continued to save us. Thank you to all the doctors and the staff here who saved my life.” Please join us in the effort to raise the crucial and necessary funds to acquire a new ventilator for our dedicated COVID-19 units. Please visit www.soroka.org/ventilator to see how you can help save lives.

Yasmine is a patient from Ksaifa, a nearby Bedouin village, whose premature baby was cared for at Soroka Medical Center. She gave birth in the twenty-ninth week of pregnancy and the premature baby weighed only 800 grams. “All the doctors took excellent care of me, all the nurses and the whole staff helped and supported me. Each day was a gift for me and my baby. I thank the whole staff, all the nurses and doctors from the bottom of my heart” remarks Yasmine. Soroka Medical Center provides top quality medical care for all. With over 17,000 births per year, it is the busiest labor and delivery unit in Israel, serving an extremely diverse population.
In-patient receiving intensive medical care
Rachel, nursed back to good health at Soroka!
Yasmine and baby thriving thanks to Soroka Medical Center
Sigal, IDF soldier
Sigal, a dedicated and kindhearted IDF soldier from Be’er Sheva, was diagnosed with cancer just as she started her army service. “When I got to Soroka, I was very frightened by the process I was facing. The professional staff was able to answer all my questions and really allayed my fears” says Sigal, “I felt like we were one big family, and what I love most about Soroka is the medical staff…There are amazing people who continuously fight and care for you no matter the situation The New Comprehensive Cancer Center at Soroka known as the Legacy Heritage Oncology Center for the Negev & The Dr. Larry Norton Institute serves more than 18,000 cancer patients every year at Soroka, including 750 children. By leveraging Soroka’s connection with Ben Gurion University and its location in the burgeoning technology hub of Be’er Sheva, the new center is poised to be the most advanced cancer treatment facility in the Middle East.

Meet Some of Soroka’s COVID-19 Heroes
Prof. Yonat Shemer-Avni Ph.D.
Head, Virology Laboratory; During pandemic: Head of Israel’s MOH Council for Regulation of Research in Biological Disease Agents. Faced with the urgent need to upgrade and ramp up the laboratories to meet the extreme testing needs, Dr. Shemer-Avni responded by identifying additional personnel, acquiring the needed equipment, and gradually increasing the capacity of the labs, all while ensuring a positive work environment, constantly seeking faster methodologies and maintaining high quality levels.

Dr. Lior Fuchs, MD
Senior Physician, Intensive Care Unit, Soroka Dr. Fuchs treats the sickest patients: Most of his COVID-19 patients suffer from lung collapse and multi-organ failure, requiring the most intensive care available, including artificial respiration, hemodialysis or lung-heart bypass (ECMO)

It is a daily struggle to keep patients alive, battling a new disease while the patients receive life-saving treatment without the comfort of their loved ones. The medical teams are under intense physical and mental pressure, made more difficult by the multi-layers of protective clothing and equipment. Staff escort families to the bedside, ensuring they are as well protected as possible, using state state-of-the-art technologies and the latest life support devices. Despite all the difficulties, Dr Fuchs and his team do all in their power to ease their ordeal.
From left to right Dr. Lior Nesher, Dr. Lior Fuchs. Dr. Nimrod Maimon, Dr. Yonat Shemer-Avni, Dr. Victor Novak, Dr. Dan Schwarzfuchs
Prof. Nimrod Maimon, MD
Director of Internal Medicine Department, specializing in internal medicine and lung disease. During the pandemic: Director of the Ministry of Health’s Magen Avot v’Imahot (Parent’s Shield) a national program providing solutions for the COVID-19 crisis at retirement homes; nursing homes, shelters and other institutions.

Coronavirus profoundly affects the elderly. Prof. Maimon says we must protect older people, who are more liable to be infected by COVID-19, by ensuring that the measures to maintain social distancing are respected and protecting them from coronavirus.

Elderly people who are isolated from society and normal daily activities are much more negatively affected by COVID-19 than young people. He strives to balance the need to protect the elderly population from infection with the need to maintain some kind of normal routine.

Maimon, responsible for more than 1,000 facilities with over 70,000 elderly residents, contributes significantly to national resilience in coping with the pandemic.

Dr. Lior Nesher, MD
Specialist in infectious disease and internal medicine, and Head of Antibiotic Stewardship Service. During pandemic: Infectious Disease Senior Advisor.

Dr. Lior Nesher balances providing high-quality health care to COVID-19 patients with optimal care to all other patients, whilst the entire way in which medicine is practiced at Soroka has been impacted. “As Soroka is the only medical center in the Negev, it must maintain its ability to provide the most advanced medical care no matter what”. Nesher keeps the staff and patients safe and prevents hospital-acquired infections from harming staff and patients, while providing guidance and expertise to operate all aspects of the hospital’s activities.

Prof. Victor Novack, MD, PhD
Head of the Research Authority and Clinical Research Center. Role during the pandemic: Director of the COVID-19 Department (Also a Senior Researcher in Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston). Prof. Novack says that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Soroka to rethink the very way it practices contemporary medicine, introducing new, exciting technologies and are reaffirming the human side of the patient–doctor relationship. In these challenging days, their role as providers of compassionate care and not mere “health technicians” is once again taking center stage.

Dr. Dan Schwarzfuchs, MD
Deputy Director General, Head of Internal Medicine Unit, Department of Emergency Medicine (ED). During pandemic: Coordinating the care of patients in the ED with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. With the onset of the pandemic, Soroka’s ED, the busiest in Israel, has pioneered innovative strategies and was the first in Israel to introduce separate, isolated complexes within the ED for each group of patients. Every patient and escort may be a potential source of infection, so Nesher strives to minimize contact among patients. Staff wear protective equipment at all times. As a result, neither medical staff, patients or visitors have been infected during the time he or she spent in the ED. After months of hard work, Soroka is proud to say that its ED team has upheld the hospital’s excellent standards while providing optimal care for COVID-19 patients.
Fundraising for a new Ventilator
Soroka has coordinated its preparations for COVID-19 with a rapid, vigorous rollout of infrastructure and staff, assuring the Negev that we are prepared, as always, for any eventuality. We are so thankful for all our supporters for their contributions, encouragement and passion for helping Soroka. We rejoice in the diversity of our friends, unified by the common goal to strengthen and support one of Israel’s most vital institutions. Dr. Shlomi Codish, Director General emphasizes: “Soroka's professional, dedicated employees work tirelessly on many levels. I believe in our workers and we thank Soroka’s team members for their dedicated work in fighting the virus." But we need your help to raise the funds necessary to acquire a new ventilator for our dedicated COVID-19 units. Please visit Soroka.org/Ventilator to help support this drive. Your generosity will help American Friends of Soroka achieve their impactful goal of saving lives in Israel. Contact our office at 914-725-9070 or Info@Soroka.org with any questions.
Hanukkah Gift Giving Opportunities:
Make a difference this Hanukkah. American Friends of Soroka has arranged a series of unique experiences perfect to gift to yourself or a special person. $50-$75 each, you will receives a “seat at the table” as our experts provide Fun, Tasty and Educational experiences. Check out www.soroka.org/experience to view our inclusive Zoom offerings. From cooking classes to parental coaching to medical advice - we have you covered! Head to www.soroka.org/experience, click “View Items”, choose the right Zoom experience for you and check out! Just like that you have saved your place in the Zoom while supporting Clinical Research at Soroka! Every zoom experience will take place in a small group of generous supporters like you. While you are shopping on Amazon, please dont forget to check out Smile.amazon/com smile.amazon.com/ch/13-5866593 to help support Soroka’s lifesaving mission.
American Friends of Soroka Medical Center
PO Box 184-H | Scarsdale, NY 10583 | (914) 725-9070