Building a state-of-the art cardiac rehab institute

The memory of Boris Kiderman, a legend of the Israeli and Russian Jewish communities, is honored by new facility.

By ZACHARY SILVER
April 12, 2019 04:38
Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center

Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center. (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/RAMBAM MEDICAL CENTER)

 
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It is beautifully poetic, uniquely fitting, and particularly deserving that Haifa Medical Center has merited the dedication of its Cardiac Rehabilitation Institute in the name of Boris Kiderman, of blessed memory, a beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Boris’s huge heart, until it’s final beat, pulsated with love and care, not just for his own family, but for the people of Israel, the State of Israel, and his fellow Jews in need around the world. His vibrant yet tender heart of gold, was existentially connected to the broken hearts of so many who needed help. His loving wife, Ludmila – who misses him more each and every day – is determined to continue their tremendous collective work of love, and donated the funds for the institute in the memory of her husband, a man who throughout his life, and for decades through the United Jewish Appeal and the B’nai Zion Foundation, tirelessly worked to rescue Jews in Israel and beyond, from perilous and life-threatening situations.

Boris’s sudden, tragic passing nearly seven years ago, devastated his family, and sent shock waves around the world, creating an unfillable void. Clearly, there was still work to be done, as Israel and Boris’s Jews still need more of his help. Ludmila, broken by his passing but unbowed in continuing her husband’s mission, contacted Boris’s dear friend, Haifa Medical Center CEO Dr. Amnon Rofe. In death, Boris lives on, assuring that others who need access to the cutting-edge, life-saving technology at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Institute will live healthy, meaningful and productive lives.

Ludmila, together with her children Nadia, Jan and Alex, keep the flame of Boris’ memory burning brightly. To encourage and inspire others, Boris gave not just of his money, but of his time. He was personally involved in causes on behalf of Israel and World Jewry that took him away from his many business and personal demands. Boris volunteered countless hours on “Super Sundays” for UJA, raising millions of dollars for vital humanitarian causes for our Israeli brothers and sisters.

One of the missions closest to his heart was the Wounded Soldiers Program, under the auspices of the UJA. From 1980 through 2012, UJA raised more than $30 million for a project known as “Brothers for Life.” Boris was fully involved in this tremendously successful campaign, where inured soldiers worked together with other injured soldiers. Often through heavy tears, and always with a resolute mind and sensitive heart, Boris made a positive difference on behalf of Israel and Jewish causes, especially those that would help those in need of medical care. 

Boris understood that if one of his fellow Jews was in pain, physically, emotionally or psychologically, he had to act. If even one Jew was suffering, Boris suffered as well. No cause was too small, and no need wasn’t immediate for Boris. He often put his own needs last and used his lifelong connections and important friendships to help his fellow Jews. From finding employment to paying medical bills, to assuring there was always food on the able for the holidays, Boris was always there, upfront and leading the cavalry of kindness, understanding and generosity. The recognition and awards, enough to fill shelf after shelf, meant little to Boris, only that such publicity would stir others into action and openness.

BORIS LEFT behind a life of luxury in the Soviet Union to emigrate to the United States to ensure that he could raise his children as strong, confident, proud and practicing Jews. He always remembered where he came from and where he wanted to go. For more than 30 years, Boris volunteered and often led B’nai Zion, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for projects in Israel that support Judaism, Israeli culture and social causes, and the very organization responsible for the creation of the Haifa Medical Center. 

The thousands of hours he dedicated to B’nai Zion were a labor of love for him. Without looking for payment or promotion, Boris tirelessly worked to raise funds for the organization’s many worthwhile causes. He founded B’nai Zion’s Russian division, which engaged with Russian Jews, helping them form bonds with their Jewish brothers and sisters. He wanted to show by example what others could accomplish.

While he supported all of B’nai Zion’s initiatives, there were some that were especially close to his heart, such as the Ahava Village for Children and Youth. Ahava Village is a residential facility for at-risk children who either have nowhere else to go, or come from abusive homes. The village provides not only room and board for these children, but therapeutic services as well. Currently, B’nai Zion is raising funds to build a new therapy center.


Boris also took a special interest in Ma’aleh Adumim, a West Bank community that is thriving despite international pressures. Boris’s work with B’nai Zion was fundamental in helping to build a library for this devoted population. He worked with former mayor Benny Kasriel to help build this ever-growing community of proud Zionists.

But his true passion was always the Haifa Medical Center. He was proud to support the medical professionals there who would attend to wounded Israeli soldiers; he was proud to help ensure that the Medical Center had adequate resources to treat these heroes. This pride of course also extended to his son Alexander, an IDF reservist and doctor. Alexander lives in Israel, and emulated his father. He has dedicated himself to preserving Israel and her people.

How did Boris accomplish so much and do so much good? He never paused – even in the middle of dreadful snowstorms, or in the midst of his own personal trials and tribulations.

He instilled in his own three children a deep and unyielding love for Israel. Just as his oldest son, Dr. Alex Kiderman, served in IDF reserve unit and teaches at Hadassah Medical Center in addition to his private practice in Ma’aleh Adumim, Jan Kiderman, his younger son, is now serving actively on the board of Bnai Zion.

His daughter, Nadia Kiderman is a successful medical professional. She volunteers her time at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, specifically in the oncology pediatric ward. There, she helps Jewish children and their families, many of whom are from Israel, often using her medical expertise to help these scared and anxious parents navigate the complicated rigmarole of the necessary treatments. 

Ss one would expect, Nadia, together with her mother, Ludmila, helps financially when additional funds are needed to cover the costs of treatment. The Kiderman family has learned well from Boris, their patriarch and leader. His passion and love for Israel and the Jewish people were contagious, and his family proudly continues his legacy.

It is fitting that the Kiderman family chose to honor Boris’s acts of loving kindness by donating the Cardiac Rehabilitation Institute to the Haifa Medical Center. Thanks to Boris’s super-human efforts and his own loving heart, countless Israeli lives will now be saved in an institute dedicated in his memory, as if within his warm and loving embrace.

The writer is a pro-Israel activist who writes frequently about Israel and Jewish culture.

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