web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.”

For Dvora, it’s the closeness and intimacy of Israeli society that makes it easy to get access to decision makers and has allowed their community-based program to make a large impact.

“Plus, Zionists are dreamers and want to be actively doing something to change society based on Jewish values,” she says. “Here the people in our midst matter.”

The organization recently launched an international twinning program that will link communities in Israel with those abroad by providing leadership and volunteer training through the Tishkofet community caring model.

Along with expanding Tishkofet services to other cities in Israel, the Corns believe that their philosophy and many of their programs are transferable to the U.S.

“The model is transportable; it will help tie Israel and American Jewry together,” Dvora says.

(JNS)

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
Miniature Torah at the women's section of the Western Wall Friday morning.
Women of the Wall Smuggle Tiny Torah Scroll to Western Wall
Latest News Stories
Miniature Torah at the women's section of the Western Wall Friday morning.

They had to use a magnifying glass to read the letters.

Dr. Craig Spencer and his girlfriend, Morgan Dixon.

Officials preach calm but are frantically trying tracing every step the doctor took in the city.

The car that crashed into a Jerusalem train station, killing an infant and injuring eight, in what is being probed as a terrorist attack.

“God is trying to wake us up,” said the grandfather.

Former Presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney and former Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman will address the inaugural Israeli American Council (IAC) National Conference in Washington next month. The IAC’s stated mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community throughout the United States in order to strengthen the State of Israel.” The number […]

Dozens of Arab rioters attacked Jewish owned buildings in Jerusalem’s Old City.

J Street U blames Jews buying homes in Jerusalem for triggering Hamas terrorist’s murderous rampage.

Boko Haram kidnapped an additional 20 Nigerian girls.

A healthcare worker has returned to the US from West Africa suffering with symptoms resulting in testing for the Ebola virus at NYC’s Bellevue Hospital.

Despite PM Netanyahu’s vow to “assert sovereignty” over all parts of Jerusalem, Arabs continue to carry out potentially lethal rock attacks.

Israel’s prime minister and the mayor of Jerusalem met today with security brass over the terror attack that wounded 8 and killed a 3-month-old baby.

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Boeing Aerospace and Defense has made a sale to Iran.

Syria’s once-lucrative oil wells dissolve under U.S.-led coalition air strikes targeting the ISIS terror organization.

In Lebanon, a man in his 20s suspected of being ill with the Ebola virus has been placed in quarantine at a Beirut hospital.

Israelis of all ages watched in fascination as the Hawaiian-born Japanese-Samoan former sumo star, Konishiki Yasokichi shared his moves during a special workshop for children in Jerusalem.

The Legal Forum for Israel calls on Transportation Minister Katz to amend the law and revoke drivers’ licenses of convicted terrorists.

Kerry still thinks Muslim terror in Israel is different from elsewhere.

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: