Reuth in Action

Archive for April, 2017

The Enduring Truth of Reuth

Posted by :
Sabrina Potemkin
27 Apr 2017 3:32 pm

A personal essay on compassion, healthcare, and my family’s inspiring work at one of Israel’s top medical facilities

In some ways, my connection to the Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital began when I took an internship there as part of my graduate studies in psychology. But there’s a deeper story there for me, one linked to my past, my family, and my roots.
With the guidance and supervision of the staff at Reuth, I undertook a year-long journey into psychotherapeutic healthcare. During my time at the hospital, I met with a broad range of patients, and was able to help them and their families whenever possible. These interpersonal encounters have resonated with me in a deeply meaningful way. But much of the emotional weight of my internship comes from my family’s history with the Hospital.
When I was a child, I heard the name “Reuth” many times, spoken both by my beloved grandmother and by those who knew her. My “Oma,” as I called her, was Ulla Merkin to everyone else. My great – grandmother, Jenny Breuer, together with Paula Bard, founded the Reuth organization in order to provide healthcare to the elderly immigrant community in what was then known as Palestine. Her passion for the work made her a driving force for Reuth in the early days of the organization. Under her leadership, Reuth became the leading provider of nursing care and assisted living services in Israel.
Decades later, my grandmother, Ulla Merkin, followed in her mother’s footsteps and became involved in Reuth after seeing the quality of care that the center provided to her aging mother. As a leader in the American Friends of Reuth group, Ulla utilized her many talents to help lay the groundwork for Reuth’s rehabilitation facility during the late 1970s.
Under the leadership of Prof. Avi Ori, the center began providing professional rehabilitative services, including physical, occupational, and communication therapy. In addition, a psychological care unit was established and developed by Ms. Dalyah Neeman in 2001.
Today, the psychology unit is directed by Mr. Amir Zendekovich, originally an intern himself at Reuth who over the years became its leading psychologist. The unit includes experienced rehabilitation and psychotherapy specialists who use innovative techniques to help patients recover from an array of severe medical conditions.
The unit doesn’t just help patients; it also serves as a fruitful training ground for psychology graduate students like myself. As intern psychologists at Reuth, we were given the opportunity to work with people in a clinical setting, in a way that benefited both the patients and the caregivers.
At Reuth, we were taught that compassion is a necessary component of human experience. To recover from a hardship, all people benefit from a caring and compassionate approach to rehabilitative healthcare. I believe that this approach has become second-nature to the medical professionals at Reuth. In fact, it was likely what guided people like my grandmother as they worked to promote and develop Reuth into the outstanding medical institution that it is today.
I know that my grandmother was deeply proud of her affiliation with Reuth. In part, I guess it was her legacy that initially drew me to Reuth. However, after working there, I have gained a much deeper appreciation of how and why Reuth came to mean so much to her.
Yet I wonder if even she knew just how much of a difference her work would make in the lives of so many people. Perhaps she did. Perhaps she glimpsed ahead of herself and saw that she would one day teach her only “sabra” grandchild an enduring truth: that genuine concern for people — combined with persistence, dedication, and hard work — allows us to express our finest human capacities. What a blessing.

Comments Off on The Enduring Truth of Reuth

“Reuth Gave Me My Life Back”

Posted by :
Sabrina Potemkin
27 Apr 2017 2:55 pm

Suffering from rare complications to swine flu, Aviva Almog arrived at the Reuth medical center at death’s door. Seven months later, she walked out on her own two feet.

In April of last year, Ramat Gan native Aviva Almog came down with a severe case of swine flu. The disease affected all of her body’s critical biological functions, including her ability to speak and breath. Both her arms and legs were paralyzed, and she was connected to life support.

Unable to help her, doctors at Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medical Center transferred her to the Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital, hoping that Reuth’s unique approach to healthcare could do what they could not. Seven months later, Aviva walked out of the hospital, healthy and on her own two feet.

“It all started with a bad cough and a high fever,” said Aviva, who is in her fifties. “When my condition deteriorated, I was connected to life support and anesthetized for a month and a half. The doctors prepared my family for the worst. They were not certain that I would survive.”

“At Reuth, I regained consciousness, and only then did I grasp how ill I was The most difficult moment was when I realized I couldn’t move. I asked myself, ‘How can I live like this?’”

Aviva’s rehabilitation was a long process. A multidisciplinary team of medical professionals started to help her even during the four months that she was in critical condition in the Reuth respiratory rehabilitation unit. Thanks to their efforts, Aviva gained precious time.

“We began weaning from the respirator, but the first attempt was unsuccessful,” Aviva recalled. “I felt that I was suffocating. I remember thinking, ‘Am I going to die like this? Suffocate to death?’ It was dreadful, but I was able to overcome it and the second attempt at weaning [me off of the respirator] went well.”

This process was coupled with grueling daily rehabilitation routines and both physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions. This approach to patient rehabilitation is unique to Reuth.

In other Israeli medical facilities, patients do not begin rehabilitation treatments until they are weaned from the respirator. By simultaneously weaning the patient off of the respirator and helping them through therapy sessions, the doctors at Reuth can lower the chances that the patient’s health might deteriorate.

“I was released from Reuth almost as good as new,” Aviva said with a smile. “I was treated by the very best professionals, and I was very lucky. ???? saved my life but Reuth gave me my life back.”

Comments Off on “Reuth Gave Me My Life Back”

Alone in life, some Holocaust survivors pass with no one to bury them

Posted by :
Sabrina Potemkin
27 Apr 2017 1:58 am

Please read this amazing article that appears online today at the Times of Israel. It is in part a follow up article to the one done on Stefan Weiss 2 years ago, focusing on the loneliness that many survivors experience

Comments Off on Alone in life, some Holocaust survivors pass with no one to bury them

Moran Avruya, A Born Fighter

Posted by :
Sabrina Potemkin
26 Apr 2017 6:32 pm

Moran Avruya, 27 years old, is being treated at Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital’s for severe chronic pain syndrome resulting from a serious injury to her hand, that occurred during her service in the IDF. Since the injury Moran can use only one hand but, thanks to the outstanding treatment she receives at Reuth, this severe disability has not stopped her from opening a creative cake design company. She prepares all of the cakes herself using just one hand! This past week Moran was released from Reuth’s young Rehabilitation department. She celebrated by bringing unique hand baked desserts created exclusively by her, to the staff of the department where she received treatment. Moran continues to receive treatment in our day rehabilitation center.

Comments Off on Moran Avruya, A Born Fighter

American Friends of Reuth Board Members Visit Reuth in Israel

Posted by :
Sabrina Potemkin
26 Apr 2017 6:30 pm

Reuth in Israel welcomed several American Friends of Reuth board members to Israel over the Hanukkah holiday. While in Tel Aviv, board co-chair Laura Siegel Rabinowitz — along with her sons Alexander and Benjamin (who is in Israel studying at Yeshiva)— toured the Reuth Hospital and met with Dr. Uzi Landau and hospital director-general Dr. Dov Albukrek.

Similarly, long-time board member Renee Landau visited the center while in Israel for her great-nephew’s bar mitzvah.

Reuth is always happy to host friends of the organization who are visiting from overseas, and invite you to visit the hospital during your next trip to Israel.

To schedule a visit or simply to discover more about Reuth’s life-saving approach to patient rehabilitation and medical care, please contact Sabrina at the American Friends of Reuth office at 212-751-9255 or

Comments Off on American Friends of Reuth Board Members Visit Reuth in Israel

NYC Students and Reuth Patients Share ‘Stars of Hope’

Posted by :
Sabrina Potemkin
26 Apr 2017 6:19 pm

A group of 10th-grade students at the Ramaz High School in New York — led by Jacob Bengualid, son of American Friends of Reuth board member Beth Bengualid — has connected with Reuth patients in Israel in a truly inspirational way. The 15 students each sent a uniquely designed ‘Star of Hope’ to a patient at the Reuth Medical & Rehabilitation Hospital in Israel sending a message of hope and togetherness.

The Stars of Hope organization aims to “empower children of all ages to transform individuals and communities in need of hope through the power of art and messages of healing.” After purchasing wooden stars and paint from the organization, people like the Ramaz students can personally decorate and send their messages of well-wishing, positivity, and inspiration.

The Reuth patients were so moved by the Ramaz students’ caring gesture that they decided to return the favor by painting their own group of 15 Stars of Hope in honor of the New York teens. Taken together, the 30 stars represent a true act of chesed (“kindness”) and a deep desire to help those in need of healing.

Comments Off on NYC Students and Reuth Patients Share ‘Stars of Hope’

Advancements in Palliative care

Posted by :
Sabrina Potemkin
26 Apr 2017 6:18 pm

The Reuth Rehabilitation Hopital has made great advances in the assistance it provides to patients in life-threatening conditions. Known as palliative care, this segment of the healthcare system specializes in providing relief for the symptoms and stress related to serious illnesses. The primary goal of palliative care is improving the quality of life for both patients and their families, and it is one of the rehabilitation center’s specialties.

Reuth has taken several important steps toward advancing palliative care, including: establishing a multidisciplinary committee comprising representatives from all health professions; appointing a dedicated coordinator who responds to requests from all hospital wards; training dozens of caretakers in palliative care techniques; and creating a specialized multidisciplinary palliative team in every ward. These teams include doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, dieticians, occupational therapists, and speech therapists.

As part of their palliative care efforts, Reuth will provide patients with treatments for relieving pain and other secondary symptoms, and help them stay active during their treatment. The center’s palliative care teams will also offer support and counseling in regards to physical, emotional, and spiritual issues to both patients and their families, and teach them how to view death as part of a natural process.

Comments Off on Advancements in Palliative care

Silent Disco 2017 Tel Aviv

Posted by :
Sabrina Potemkin
20 Apr 2017 11:23 pm

The Reuth Silent Disco held on April 13, 2017 at the Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital Roof Top was a great success!!!

Everyone had a great time and we raised more than $2,500 towards a specialized wheelchair for a young patient in our children’s department suffering from a debilitating disease but we still need your help. If you would like to contribute please do so by clicking here.

For more pictures of the amazing evening, click here and make sure to check our Facebook page!

Comments Off on Silent Disco 2017 Tel Aviv