JERUSALEM (VINnews) — The director and founder of the Efrat organization, Dr. Eli Shussheim, passed away Wednesday at the age of 80. Shussheim suffered a stroke last Shabbos and his condition deteriorated until his passing Wednesday.
Shas leader Aryeh Deri expressed his sorrow at the passing of Shussheim and said that “with great sorrow I received the sad news of the tragic passing of my dear friend the director of the Efrat organization, Dr. Eli Shussheim. Dr. Shussheim was the ‘savior of children’ who devoted his entire life to other peoples lives. Tens of thousands of Jewish children owe their lives to him. He merited serving as the doctor of the great sages of Israel and sanctified G-d’s name in the world. I send my condolences to his honored family who can be comforted in the heritage which he left behing him. May his memory be blessed.”
Dr. Shussheim was born in 1941 to parents who had fled Poland to Argentina before the Second World War. He immigrated to Israel in 1963 and served as a surgeon at a number of hospitals including Shaarei Tzedek and Hadassah-Ein Kerem hospitals. He also served as the Knesset physician between 1967 and 1971. In 1975 he established the Neve Simcha nursing home in Jerusalem and continued to work as a surgeon and as the head of the committee supervising and authorizing Mohelim (circumcisers) in the Israeli Rabbinate.
However Dr. Shussheim is most identified with his work at the Efrat organization which is dedicated to preventing abortions. During the course of 44 years, from 1997 until the present, Dr. Shussheim directed the organization founded by Hershel Feigenbaum, a Holocaust survivor who had lost his entire family in the Holocaust, in order to encourage more births in Israel. During the course of this period more than 75,000 children were born due to the organization, which provides both emotional and financial assistance to women contemplating abortion and continues to help them during the early years of their child’s life. The donors receive a certificate honoring their donation together with the first name of the child born from their donation. For as little as $1200 in support, Dr. Shussheim’s volunteers were able to persuade women to keep their child and he often commented that he had never heard women regret their decision to keep their child.
Dr. Shussheim’s funeral will take place at the Sanhedria funeral parlor in Jerusalem at 9 PM.