December 2, 2023
December 2, 2023

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The Future of Israel Is Born at Soroka

On October 25, American Friends of Soroka Medical Center (AFS) will host a Decade of Friendship Celebration, its 10th annual gala event, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The Decade of Friendship Gala is dedicated to the babies of the Negev, and supports Soroka’s flagship project to build a new Neonatal Care Center. The Neonatal Department at Soroka Medical Center is the busiest in the country with world-class outcomes for the most challenging cases. Over 17,000 newborns are welcomed at Soroka each year and its extraordinary Neonatal Care Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) serves with distinction. Neonatal Care at Soroka is one of its premier centers of excellence, by providing a supportive, family-centered environment from birth to discharge.

The event honors Hadassah Lieberman and Angela and Gary Retelny, three extraordinary leaders who have each dedicated themselves to building communities to advance the education, health, and quality of life of others–locally and in Israel.

Hadassah Lieberman will receive The Soroka Humanitarian Award. Hadassah is the daughter of Holocaust survivors who immigrated from the Czech Republic to the U.S., which influenced her development into a strong voice for women’s health and promoting international understanding. She is a graduate of Boston University with a bachelor’s in government and dramatics and Northeastern University with a master’s in international relations and American government. Her career in public health included positions at Lehman Brothers, Pfizer and the National Research Council. Her memoir, “Hadassah: An American Story” was recently published. Married to Senator Joseph Lieberman, they are parents to four children and 12 grandchildren. Mrs. Lieberman has deep bonds with Israel, and is extremely proud to be supporting medical advancement at Soroka.

Angela and Gary Retelny will receive the Soroka Inspirational Leadership Award. Angela is a respected board member of American Friends of Soroka Medical Center. An elite realtor with a stellar reputation among clients and industry experts, Angela is a Platinum Award real estate broker with Compass in Scarsdale. Gary is the president and CEO of Institutional Shareholder Services, the world’s leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment solutions. Angela and Gary are parents to Jessica (Jason Shames) and Daniella (Andrew Blum) and have two grandchildren. They are proud of their Latin heritage and deep connections to Israel. Angela and Gary are passionate about championing medical innovation in Israel.

The future of Israel is born at Soroka. Southern Israel is the largest, most complex and diverse region in the country, and depends on Soroka for its health. As the sole major medical center for the region, Soroka plays a key role in building a future of health, security and advancement for the State of Israel. AFS invites you to join Soroka friends at the gala in creating a brighter future for the people of Israel.

One of the most intense recent experiences at the Soroka NICU was the care of cranially-conjoined twins, who were born at Soroka in 2020. The babies survived and thrived under the care of Soroka’s neonatal care team, and at 12 months of age underwent separation surgery. The surgery was a feat of international collaboration, harnessing cutting-edge technology including 3-D modeling, virtual reality and AI in preparation for the marathon surgery. The surgery was successful—the girls are thriving and are expected to live full, independent lives. Expressing his gratitude for the support received, Dr. Mickey Gideon, head of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Soroka, stated, “Our American friends are the heart and spirit of Soroka. We cannot exist without your partnership and support.” As the future of Israel is born at Soroka, together let’s ensure they have the best conditions possible during their crucial early stages of life.

Soroka is embarking on a long-awaited plan to build a new Neonatal Care Center, to provide state of the art, life-saving neonatal care to our tiniest and most vulnerable patients. This urgent nature of this project was affirmed by the State of Israel, who will provide matching funds. The total cost of the project is $41M and it will have 88 beds, the largest in Israel. Previously, the building was unprotected and vulnerable to security threats. Red-alert situations forced an evacuation of the tiny neonates into protected quarters, truly a harrowing operation with a great risk. The new, protected, Neonatal Care Center will be completed within four years: Construction began this past summer. Significant donor recognition opportunities remain.

To inquire about donation opportunities, please contact [email protected] or call the AFS office at 914-725-9070. To purchase tickets for AFS 10th Annual Gala, visit Generous friends like yourselves serve as role models for future generations, together, saving lives in Israel and making a difference in the world.

By Rahel Shamailova, American Friends of Soroka Medical Center


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