Dr Sheinfeld ... a top valve surgeon
There was a large crowd at Yad LeBanim in Raanana to view the most recent offering of the ESRA Cinema Club; Open Heart. It was a fascinating documentary by Gad Aisen, director, scriptwriter and cinematographer, following the daily life of one of Israel’s top cardiac valve surgeons who decided to dedicate one afternoon and evening a week to being a general practitioner in a clinic in Sderot during the rocketing and thereafter.
The gripping experience for the audience was to see this amazing man forgo a private practice in those few hours available to him outside of the medical insurance system, and driving himself (often after hours of morning surgery) all the way to Sderot, eating in the car, and returning sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Not only did he do this at the expense of providing time and additional income for his family, but also leaving him little time for himself as he juggled the highly specialized needs of his cardiology practice with the simple needs, both psychological and medical, of the ordinary patients in Sderot.
The experience of trying to practice dignified medicine for those people while running into humiliating bomb shelters with the staff and patients was well portrayed in the film. Little by little, this remarkable doctor and healer was inspired both by the founding ideology of this nation as fulfilled by its medical system and by the dictates of Judaism about the proper role of a doctor and a Jew vis a vis community and caring for one another. Only later do we learn that he had been raised in an ultra-orthodox family in Bnei Brak, and this beautifully reflects the refinement of character he carried from his learning and role models there.
Dr. Shinfeld came to the screening in order to respond to the audience’s questions and comments after a long day at the hospital and he answered the queries with respect, generosity of spirit and love. The movie maker said that he’d made the film after meeting the doctor on medical business and learning about his extraordinary beauty of soul.
The Cinema Club is a wonderful opportunity to learn from the documentaries, and also to learn about the remarkable quality of recent Israeli documentary productions as a new and world- recognized achievement of excellence. Please do join in this wonderful effort to explore Israeli film where EVERY TIME we meet the filmmaker - and often the subject of the film too.