web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


American Olim Create Spiritual Approach To Dealing With Illness

Israelis have a reputation for being frank and direct – dugri, in local parlance. But when it comes to death and dying or dealing with chronic illness, many Israelis have as much trouble dealing with it as do people in any other part of the world.

For the past decade Life’s Door-Tishkofet, a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Ben and Dvora Corn, American immigrants to Israel, has been helping Israelis understand that illness and loss are part of the continuum of life, and teaching professionals as well as patients how to transform anguish, confusion, and denial into hope and personal growth.

The Corns made aliyah in 1997 with their four daughters and realized they could make a meaningful contribution by bringing the concept of spiritual care to Israeli society. Tishkofet’s activities today encompass a broad array of programs in seven communities throughout Israel. The programs include training workshops for hundreds of medical professionals and volunteers in the art of emotional and spiritual support for people with chronic or terminal illness, as well as individual therapy for thousands of patients and their loved ones.

Support groups and retreats with an emphasis on taking control and finding the spiritual strength to confront illness are all part of how Tishkofet leaders hope to change society’s view of illness.

“The natural inclination of most people faced with serious illness is denial,” says Dvora Corn, an occupational and family therapist. Corn believes that once people confronted with illness are provided a structure to explore how to make choices of where to spend time and how to invest in their life, they can grow and cope.

“Illness is another life challenge,” she says, emphasizing that Life’s Door-Tishkofet is committed to helping people utilize their existing strengths, relationships, and community to deal with the challenge.

Corn explains that for patients and their loved ones, Tishkofet develops individual treatment plans with a strong emphasis on the emotional, social, and spiritual rather than the medical. “It’s not just so you’ll ‘get through’ illness, but how you’ll grow. We want to ensure that whatever happens medically, there will have been a more fulfilling life,” she says.

That message resonates for D., a 42 year old with a degenerative neurological disorder. “When I was diagnosed, I thought my life was over,” he says. “Even though doctors told me I had time until I would lose my ability to walk, I already felt like it was that day. All I could see was black and all I could feel was fear. I couldn’t talk to anyone.

“After taking part in the Partners for Life Couples Retreat, I began to be able to share my fears with my wife. I was afraid at first, but now we are going through this together, as a team. I know that I have my moments, but when I do, I have the people at Tishkofet who help me listen to my inner self and find my courage and meaning to live.”

Patients come to Tishkofet from all parts of Israeli society and are treated on a sliding-scale fee basis. At the Jerusalem headquarters there’s an intake of some 15-20 new people per week, and the single-story house that serves as the Tishkofet base is at full capacity, with counseling sessions, art therapy, body work, and administration going on all day.

Dr. Ben Corn, whose day job is chairman of Radiation Oncology at Tel Aviv Medical Center-Ichilov Hospital, also maintains academic appointments at Tel Aviv University School of Medicine and the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. In 2011, he accepted the National Award for Volunteerism from President Shimon Peres on behalf of Tishkofet for “changing the way people face serious illness.”

As a physician who travels in both Israeli and U.S. medical circles, Ben notes that “many senior physicians are not embodying a compassionate approach toward patients.” Things are changing, he says, attributing the positive change to Israelis feeling more secure in their scientific credentials in the world.

“Israeli scientists are in the vanguard of cancer research and clinical trials. Once Israeli doctors felt secure on that stage, they allowed themselves to be open to entertain discussion of the human side of medicine,” he says.

Both Ben and Dvora credit Israel’s pioneering spirit for the success of Tishkofet’s programs. “This wouldn’t have happened in the U.S.,” says Ben. “The inertia is too strong.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “American Olim Create Spiritual Approach To Dealing With Illness”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ilana Medar, 18, of Paris, made Aliyah last year.
Jewish Agency Planning for Massive Aliyah of 120,000 French Jews
Latest News Stories
Ilana Medar, 18, of Paris, made Aliyah last year.

If US Jews were to make Aliyah at the rate the Jewish Agency expects from France, Israel would have 1 million more Jews.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, with their sons Yair (R) and Avner (2L),  on December 01, 2014.

Iran allegedly is plotting to assassinate the sons of the current and former Israeli prime ministers.

Presidents Reuven Rivlin and Barack Obama.

The White House is passing up the opportunity for Obama’s first meeting with the new Israeli president.

Israeli soldiers block road near the Lebanese border.

Northern Israel is on a high tension wire. The IDF temporarily closed roads Sunday because of a reported “security incident.”

Jewish journalist Damian Pachter has arrived in Israel from Argentina via Uruguay, having fled for his life after reporting on the death of a prosecutor.

President Abbas has been genuinely committed against violence – John Kerry, March 3, 2014 at AIPAC conference.

Prior to Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Bibi talked about the dangers of Iran, ISIS and anti-Semitism and the importance of Aliyah.

It appears the bomb was thrown or placed there yesterday but didn’t explode.

The Histadrut national labor union has warned that Israelis may have to travel without Egged buses on Monday unless company management satisfies employees and drivers’ demands on salaries and work conditions. As things stand now, late Sunday afternoon, Egged workers will stage a one-day warning strike Monday following what they say is a failure of […]

United Hatzalah, Israel’s largest emergency medical response organization received a new ‘Ambucycle’ from Columbus donors.

ISIS terrorist murder of a Japanese citizen is terror against the world, says Israeli PM Netanyahu.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu says he’ll go anywhere he’s invited to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons.

Forensics show Argentina federal prosecutor, Alberto Nisman was murdered over the 1994 Jewish center bombing case.

In the Alberta province of Canada, a synagogue was defaced with huge block letters scrawled on its walls: ‘Leave Canada’

The small right-wing parties will hurt their ideological allies and voters, unless they get past their egos and ideological perfectionism and help their side for a change.

Japan is a very resilient nation, and they’ve chosen to respond to ISIS’s threats and blackmail demands with black humor. They’ve taken the photos that ISIS released and reworked them into various memes:

More Articles from Judy Lash Balint
A volunteer at last year's Meir Panim Purim celebration in Israel. 
(Credit: Meir Panim)

According to Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish scholar, “Gifts for the poor [matanot l’evyonim] deserve more attention than the seudah and mishloach manot because there is no greater, richer happiness than bringing joy to the hearts of needy people, orphans, widows and proselytes.”

Israelis have a reputation for being frank and direct – dugri, in local parlance. But when it comes to death and dying or dealing with chronic illness, many Israelis have as much trouble dealing with it as do people in any other part of the world.

July 21 – Five Israeli soldiers were buried today. Among them was Benjy Hillman, 27, the son of one of my oldest friends. Benjy, z”l, was a commander in the elite Egoz unit, who was killed fighting Hizbullah terrorists in southern Lebanon last night.

June 29: This afternoon, Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri – son, brother, grandson, yeshiva student, friend – was buried on the Mount of Olives, the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world.

The IDF noted: “It is important to keep in mind the danger posed by the illegal, irresponsible, and dangerous behavior of the ISM group that led to the tragic death and sad results.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/american-olim-create-spiritual-approach-to-dealing-with-illness/2013/11/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: