How Efrat Began

When Mr. Herschel Feigenbaum arrived in Israel in the 1950's after surviving the Holocaust, he understood that our children are our future. In memory of the over one and a half million Jewish children who perished, Mr. Feigenbaum founded EFRAT, to increase the Jewish birthrate in Israel.

Mr. Feigenbaum’s dream took form almost forty years ago, when a woman, who had brought her son to Dr. Schussheim for a routine checkup, said, “Thanks to you, my son is alive today.”

Dr. Schussheim had no idea what this woman was referring to.

She explained, “Before I realized that I was pregnant, I underwent a series of X-rays. Obviously I was concerned about the possible affects on my unborn child. I consulted several doctors and each of them advised me to have an abortion, explaining that I would give birth to a severely disabled child.

“Dr. Schussheim, you were the only one to disagree. You explained that according to the most recent medical research, X-rays do not affect the fetus. You urged me not to abort my unborn child. I listened to you, and gave birth to a healthy boy – my son.”

“Her story changed my life,” explains Dr. Schussheim, formerly a senior surgeon in Shaarei Zedek and Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospitals. “I studied medicine to save lives. Here, with this simple piece of advice, I had saved this boy’s life and the life of his children and grandchildren.”

Since 1977,  Dr. Eli J. Schussheim has made Mr. Feigenbaum’s dream a reality. Together with a group of dedicated volunteers and professionals, EFRAT provides thousands of women with accurate information enabling them to make an educated choice. As a result, over 64,000 children are alive today.


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