web analytics
August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 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.

Current Top Story
Tourist injured by Muslim mob on Temple Mount on August 4, 2015
Arabs Beat Up Tourist on Temple Mount [video]
Latest News Stories
Sgt. Jatemliansquy, originally from Argentina and now at home in Israel.

The Home Front Command for the first time has deployed female soldiers to guard the front lines in Shechem in Samaria.

Tourist injured by Muslim mob on Temple Mount on August 4, 2015

The tourist supposedly waved an Israeli flag, at which point the Muslim mob tried to kill him.

two phrases

The Obama administration also promises not sell F-35 to any other Middle East country – but for how long?

Meir Ettinger in a previous arrest.

Meir Ettinger, the Shin Bet’s most wanted Jew, is suspected of leading a national underground revolutionary movement.

Israelis enjoy kayaking in the Jordan river in Northern Israel on August 2, 2015, as temperature reached 47 degrees Celcius in some parts of Israel.

New York Democratic Congresswoman Kathleen Rice will vote against the Iran deal.

Arab terrorists threw firebombs at a Jerusalem car, severely burning the driver and two more people.

Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.

Americans oppose the Iran deal, and only a slight majority of Democrats support it.

Chuck Schumer’s office has received more than 10,000 phone calls over the past two weeks, all of them from groups and individuals opposed to the Iran nuclear deal.

Kerry reassures the Gulf States, who are gouging him for more arms and to force Israel out of Judea and Samaria.

Its so hot, the Arab threat to drive us into the sea don’t sound half bad…

No one was injured from the mortar fire that apparently strayed during clashes.

The gang attacked a Haredi man and then a religious couple with brass knuckles and a knife. The woman recited the Shema prayer.

The Muslims preacher is a permanent fixture on the Temple Mount to incite Muslims but finally has been arrested.

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: