AIPAC-AIEF Rabbi Mission Visits Ziv

9/9/2014

On July 14th, 19 community Rabbis from the USA, from different streams of Judaism: Reform, Conservative and Orthodox, visited Ziv Medical Center to learn about the hospital's treatment of Syrian casualties, injured during the course of the Civil War raging in Syria. 

Rabbi Susan Leider, the Rabbi of Congregation Kol Shofar – Tiburon, CA  was one of the participants in this group. Rabbi Susan Leider earned her Master of Rabbinic Studies degree in 2002 and rabbinic ordination in 2006 at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. She became Rabbi of Congregation Kol Shofar in 2012. Encouraging personal growth and connection between people with diverse backgrounds and religious commitments is a hallmark of her rabbinate. At the heart of her rabbinate is the belief that each person has a narrative to share with the community and through the sharing of these stories stronger inter-personal connections are built.

In a very moving sermon on Parshat Devarim, at Congregation Kol Shofar on August 2nd,  Rabbi Leider spoke about heroes, past and present. Asking 'Who Is Your Hero?', Rabbi Leider, gave  Dr. Tal Solomon, head of the Vascular Surgery Unit at Ziv Medical Center, as an example of a modern day hero:

"Another story of inspiration from my recent trip to Israel: In the mystical town of Tzfat, the birthplace of Jewish mysticism, nestled high about the Sea of Galilee, only a 45 minute drive from the War zone of the Syrian border, Dr. Tal Solomon, a surgeon at Ziv Medical Center treats wounded Syrians, performing vascular bypass surgeries on children allowing them to avoid amputation.

We met a 3 year old Syrian boy who was there with his father. The boy had been shot in the foot and the foot had been set incorrectly in Syria - he could barely walk. At Ziv, the boys' foot was being reset properly. An Arab Israeli social worker translated for us so that we could talk with the father and the son. We had so many questions: How did you know to bring him to the border? Do you want to go home? Will it be safe to go home? Will you ever tell your son that Israelis treated him? Will it be clear that he was treated in Israel and will he be discriminated against?

Yes, he does want to go home. No, it will not be safe. He may tell his son the entire story someday if it is politically safe. And no, people will not really know where he got the treatment.

Dr. Solomon is one of my heroes. He does not give up in the face of war, in the face of a world ignorant of his inspiring work. He gives selflessly to his patients, regardless of their nationality, their religion, the politics. As he looks into the faces of those who come from a war zone, he does no cool calculations about the possible survival of his healed patients. He saves life after life. He does the right thing. If he does not give up, how can I? How can we?"

For Rabbi Susan Leider's full sermon, please view: http://kolshofar.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2014_08_02-Who-is-Your-Hero-Parshat-Devarim.pdf