Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: June 23, 1997

Release #373-97

Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani proclaimed today "Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem Day" in New York City during an evening reception at Gracie Mansion. The gathering celebrated the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the State of Israel in 1998 and the Medical Center's importance in the development of Israel's medical and scientific advancements. Mayor Giuliani is an honorary chairman of the 50th Anniversary Mission to Israel.

Joining Mayor Giuliani tonight was Menno Ratzker, Chairman of the Medical Center's International Board of Governors, Dr. Leonard Makowka, a member of the International Board of Governors, and Professor Arthur Eidelman of the Department of Neonatology at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

"In 1892, Dr. Moshe Wallach opened a clinic and pharmacy in the old sector of Jerusalem and organized a program of preventive medicine and vaccination campaigns," said Mayor Giuliani. "At the time, Jerusalem was a city of 30,000 people. Sanitary conditions were poor and disease was unchecked. Dr. Wallach's clinic developed into the Shaare Zedek Medical Center which opened its doors in 1902 with 20 beds and an outpatient clinic. The Center grew addressing the needs of the sick and meeting every emergency with skill and effectiveness."

Today the Center has 500 beds in 10 linked buildings. The state-of-the-art facilities include the Jesselson Hearat Center, an underground emergency hospital, obstetrics and neonatology departments, and 100 ongoing research projects in areas including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, and cystic fibrosis. Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem has proven invaluable in dealing effectively with a diphtheria epidemic in 1912, treatment of World War I soldiers, a typhoid epidemic, a polio epidemic, refugee treatment, and treatment of soldiers injured in wars over the past fifty years.

"I am proud to be an honorary chairman of the Shaare Zedek 50th Anniversary Mission to Israel," continued the Mayor. "I commend Shaare Zedek for the excellent state-of-the-art medical equipment, the superbly trained staff and the compassionate care provided to all patients, which has earned the center an international reputation for excellence.

"New York City is home to the largest Jewish community in the world and has the strongest ties of any city to the State of Israel," concluded the Mayor. "I applaud the values of democracy and the rule of law which Israel and the United States share, and of the enduring emotional connection between Israel and New York City."

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