New York – The venue was fittingly the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. The event on May 3rd was the annual dinner of the American Friends of Laniado Hospital – Children of the Holocaust Memorial Hospital in Netanya. The theme of the evening was the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of survivors from death camps in Europe in 1945.
The Guest of Honor was appropriately Mr. Bruce C. Ratner, Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), who serves as the current Chairman of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, where the dinner took place. In accepting the award, Mr. Ratner, who lost over 100 members of his family in the Holocaust, spoke of his grandfather, Bernard (Dov-Ber) Spott, born near Sanz and a chasid of the Sanzer Rebbe zt”l. After moving to the US at the turn of the century, Reb Yissochor Dov joined Cleveland’s Shomrei Shabbos Shul in 1906, where he served as Secretary, Trustee and Baal Koreh for 25 years. In a special presentation, Rabbi Yitzchok Waldman, Executive Vice President of the American Friends of Laniado Hospital and Menachem Lubinsky, a personal friend of Mr. Ratner, presented the Guest of Honor with a silver “yad,” which guides the baal koreh in reading the Torah.
Mr. Ratner linked the purpose of the Museum as a “Living Memorial” to the remarkable story of the hospital’s indefatigable founder, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, Klauzenberger-Sanz Rebbe zt”l. Rabbi Halberstam lost his wife and 11 children in the Holocaust and while lying mortally wounded himself pledged to build a hospital if he survived.
“He responded,” said Mr. Ratner, “by giving life,” a reference to Laniado’s remarkable reputation for being a leading hospital for births including a world-class Neonatal ICU. It is now in the process in completing a new $8 million Birthing Center, the fifth building of the Laniado medical campus. The new center will include such specialties as neonatology, fertility and birthing facilities. Laniado is one of Israel’s leading hospitals in terms of the number of annual births which in 2014 numbered 7,723.
A video presentation showed the extraordinary dedication of the Laniado staff in the Neonatal ICU and even featured a mother who had two difficult births and then became a staff member of the hospital because she wanted to be a part “of such a remarkably dedicated staff” that she witnessed with her own children.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation, the dinner also honored the US Holocaust Museum, represented by Ms. Celeste Maier, its Director of Stewardship, who
spoke of the Museum’s mission to perpetuate the lessons of the Holocaust and lauded the remarkable achievements of Laniado Hospital.
In an emotional moment, Mr. Chaim Stern tearfully recounted his experiences in the Holocaust, and then received an award in the presence of his children and grandchildren. He recalled his encounter with the Klauzenberger Rebbe and how happy he was to dedicate the Chaim Stern Surgical Administration Wing at Laniado. Reb Leibel Lederman also spoke of “remembering through giving life” as he dedicated the ‘Shefa Chaim Fertility Center’ in memory of his distinguished parents and father-in-law. Attorney Neil Goldstein served as Chairman of the evening, Mrs. Phyllis Zyskind as Tribute Chairperson, and Michael Weissbrot and Avi and Mindy Nisanov as Journal Chairpersons.
Since opening its doors in 1976, Laniado Hospital – Sanz Medical Center has emerged as a modern and highly advanced medical center with expertise in almost all major medical disciplines. Its modern 430 bed comprehensive health care facility is the only hospital serving Netanya’s 350,000 residents as well as the rapidly growing city’s surrounding towns and villages.
Laniado’s Medical Research Laboratory, which in 2002 discovered a successful treatment for the West Nile Virus, has since expanded its innovative research projects. Since 2010, the Research Laboratory has tripled its facility size and installed new state-of-the-art equipment. In collaboration with BioGenCell, a very promising bio-medical start-up company in the field of regenerative medicine, Laniado Hospital is actively pursuing the development of groundbreaking stem cell therapy for various debilitating diseases. The research will be entering human clinical trials based on the remarkable efficacy and safety results in recent animal trials that have successfully proven its concept.