Hostages Returning Through Sheba

December 3, 2023

As you have undoubtedly seen on the news, many of the returning hostages went to Sheba Medical Center upon arrival back in Israel.

Sheba went to immense lengths to make the process the best it could be. Below is a room prepped at Safra Children’s Hospital to feel warm and cozy and not like a hospital room. In the photo under that you can see some of the screens and window blockers that Sheba put up to ensure the privacy of the returnees from the prying eyes and lenses of the press.

One of Sheba’s hostage patients, Emily Hand, captured hearts across Israel and the world.

An 8-year-old girl who just went to a sleepover at a friend’s house in Kibbutz Be’eri, and wound up losing her step-mother and going into a 50 day ordeal, during which she turned 9 years old.

Incredible and wonderful development for Emily and all those who love her that she is now home.

Now another journey begins for her and her family. A journey of treatment for the trauma she endured, to help her live her life as fully and richly as possible. Whether she continues to be treated at Sheba or not, the Medical Center is well prepared to help those traumatized by the war.

Sheba has Israel’s largest rehabilitation hospital with 424 beds before the war – 510 today – and the largest combat PTSD clinic in the country, annually treating over 1,900 IDF veterans with state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatments. Sheba’s therapeutic toolkit is wide and deep from traditional talk therapy to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT), dynamic or supportive psychotherapy, group therapy and family/couples therapy. When appropriate, alternative forms including therapeutic horseback riding and canine therapy, therapeutic yoga, and mindfulness are used.

Part of how Sheba responded to the war was to seek companies with innovations in the rehab space, and one of them, Cognishine, was chosen for implementation. The company has a digital platform that allows therapists to extend their reach and impact on cognitive, emotional, speech and language disorders. Cognishine facilitates the digitization and improvement of therapeutic processes through diverse and ready-to-use materials that help the therapist to incorporate real-life images and videos, tailored to individual clients’ needs, desires, and fields of interest.

Sheba never stops innovating, and Sheba never stops healing.

None of us alone can complete the tasks ahead. But we will not desist from trying.

And when we link arms and hearts and intentions, no obstacles will stop us.

Am Yisrael Chai,


PS: if you missed this week’s Friends of Healing Mission to Israel to volunteer at Sheba Medical Center, meet with recovering soldiers and more, we are sending another mission January 14-18. More information here.  

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