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  • Writer's pictureKayla Rosen

Every Heart Matters with Save a Child's Heart

Tikkun olam.

Repairing the world: a founding principle of the State of Israel.


We are not only committed to protecting and supporting our own people, but dedicated to all of humanity. Be it sending international aid and disaster relief to countries like Haiti after a devastating earthquake, and Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the aftermath of a tsunami, or opening its borders to refugees seeking safety from all over the world, Israel is always one of the first countries to step up.

In 1958, only 10 years after the founding of the state, Israel officially enacted a humanitarian aid agenda, ensuring this value be one at the foundation of the country. Since then, Israel has provided aid to over 140 countries, and it only continues to grow each day.

In 1995, Dr. Ami Cohen founded Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) at the Wolfson Medical Center (WMC). Originally from the United States, Dr. Cohen eventually came to Israel and served as the Deputy Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery and Head of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Department at WMC. And when a doctor in Ethiopia reached out seeking help for two children in need of heart surgery, Dr. Cohen knew that he, and his country, could help.

This began the successful and life-saving journey of helping more than 5,900 children suffering from heart disease, all from countries in which pediatric heart care is either non-existent or extremely limited. Children from countries like Ghana, Morocco, Uzbekistan, and Nepal, and even more living under the Palestinian Authority and living in Gaza, are given another chance at life, to live with a strong and beating heart.

Since its establishment SACH has brought more than 140 local healthcare professionals to Israel for training so they can treat their own children independently and create centers of excellence in their home countries.

Weekly clinics are set up to screen and treat children from the Palestinian Authority, while all other international children and their caretakers are housed in the Legacy Heritage Children’s Home in Holon, which houses up to 60 people at a time! SACH has recently completed the building of the Middle East’s largest international pediatric cardiac center here in Israel at the Wolfson Medical Center, and the Sylvan Adams Children’s Hospital, to be a safe haven of hope and health for children all over the world and to also serve Israeli children from Holon, Bat Yam, South Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

Today, not only do thousands of children make their way to Israel to be treated under the loving and expert care of SACH, but thousands more are able to receive care and support through their worldwide missions, as they travel far and wide to save even just one child’s life.

The value of a life is priceless, and as volunteer Sarah Edery explains, SACH truly embodies this.

“SACH will always hold a special place in my heart because it taught me there are no limits, borders or boundaries when it comes to helping a child in need. To me, Save A Child’s Heart epitomizes the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world - one heart at a time”

Sarah began her journey with Save a Child’s Heart years ago, on a summer program to Israel during her university years. It was hearing about founder Dr. Cohen’s vision that hooked Edery, who knew she could put this inspiration to good use.

“After spending the afternoon playing with the children at the SACH home in Holon, I knew I needed to bring this experience back home with me. I wanted to do more, but I wasn’t sure what yet.
Back in the states, I connected with Marissa Rosenfeld, the U.S. SACH Young Leadership Director, who helped me come up with different ways to spread awareness and fundraise for the organization.”

Save a Child’s Heart dreams of creating a community of diversity, one in which kindness and compassion for others knows no bounds, despite our many differences. The support SACH receives from its volunteers help make this happen, both within Israel, and outside. Edery began the New York SACH Collegiate Committee, with representatives from over 20 American universities! Together, they organize events and fundraisers for SACH, their largest benefit bringing in over $30,000 on Valentine’s Day, where 600 young adults came out to support the beautiful children of SACH.

As Dr. Ami Cohen put it, “there are no dollars and cents in it, but it is worth a fortune.”

“Playing with the children who come from all over the world, who speak all different languages, reminded me that you don’t always need language to connect with other humans, especially young children. They just want to have fun and play and it doesn’t matter that we are of totally different backgrounds”.

SACH reminds us that the strongest language comes in love, kindness and laughter. It is not always through our words that we connect, rather with our hearts.

Regardless of race, religion, financial status, gender or politics, Save a Child’s Heart represents the Israeli nation’s commitment to life.

And where there is life, there is potential to change the world.


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