43-year-old dies of heart attack 10 days after recovering from COVID-19

"She was simply an angel," one person said of Yiscah Shuah.

YISCAH SHUAH with husband Dror and their eight children, ranging in age from seven to 19 (photo credit: ITZIK NISSIM)
YISCAH SHUAH with husband Dror and their eight children, ranging in age from seven to 19
(photo credit: ITZIK NISSIM)
Chinese medicine practitioner and mother of eight, 43-year-old Yiscah Shuah died suddenly on January 1. She suffered a massive heart attack from which she never recovered, just 10 days after recovering from COVID-19.
Friends and colleagues described Shuah as a skillful, selfless giver.
Noach Bittelman, LAc, is a doctor of Chinese medicine and the director of the Ground Floor Clinic in Beit Hakerem, Jerusalem. Shuah was both a student of his and an apprentice in his clinic.
“She made me a much better teacher because, at a certain point, she became the top assistant in the clinic. Other people would train under her. When she stepped into that role, she energetically became a bit larger. That spilled over into the relationship she and I had.
“Not only was she a very astute Chinese medicine practitioner and student, when we would go over cases at the end of the day, she picked up the concepts very quickly. [Her thinking was] in line with the Chinese medicine thinking. She was very skillful. She had a depth of understanding that you don’t always see in other practitioners, particularly in the emotional realm,” he reported.
Bittelman described Shuah’s transition from student to colleague as seamless.
“She held both stances. She knew when to be in the seat of a student and when to step forward and suggest something as a colleague. She had this flexibility of smoothly transitioning into different roles. She had a built-in capacity to flow seamlessly into different roles as the situation called for it,” he noted.
He emphasized that Shuah was a skillful giver by nature. “She honed the skill of giving, whether it was giving to her family, to her patients or to her teachers. She had a finely honed skill of giving in many different realms.
“I relied on her when I would go out of the country and needed someone to take my patients on. I didn’t do that lightly. Yiscah was someone I could count on to handle the patients, some with very advanced conditions.”
Bittelman explained that even when a treatment plan is established, sometimes things happen between patient visits, necessitating adjustments to the original plan. “I could rely on her to adjust as necessary, based on what happened between patient visits.”
He spoke with admiration about Shuah’s general approach to her work. “For her, it was not about the money. It’s about helping people. It’s not a business. It’s a calling. From my perspective, [Chinese medicine] was a kli [an instrument] to express her calling as a person.”
Further, he shared, “She was an example for me of how to skillfully move between different situations and different worlds. She was able to relate to all the patients. Jewish and non-Jewish, National-Religious, haredim, Yemenites, Ashkenazim, foreigners. She was comfortable with all kinds of people, and the patients picked that up,” he elaborated.
In addition to working in Bittelman’s clinic, Shuah worked at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, assisting women in labor. Prior to that, she practiced alternative medicine with wounded veterans and oncology patients, also at Shaare Zedek, and she had a small private practice.

SHUAH (FAR left) with colleagues Michal Vas, Yehudis Schamroth, Michel Waknin, David Moshe, Daniel Feld, Tamar Zakon and Noach Bittelman (seated). (Nicole Levine Bittelman)SHUAH (FAR left) with colleagues Michal Vas, Yehudis Schamroth, Michel Waknin, David Moshe, Daniel Feld, Tamar Zakon and Noach Bittelman (seated). (Nicole Levine Bittelman)

ONE OF Shuah’s most significant roles was mother to eight children ranging in age from seven to 19.
Close friend and neighbor Rachel Sharaby described how seemingly effortlessly Shuah handled frequent interruptions from her children without losing the flow of conversation. With a well-placed word or a quick bit of advice, Shuah would quickly and skillfully satisfy whatever need one of her children presented at the moment.
Bittelman made a similar observation, “She was constantly getting calls from her kids while she was working in the clinic. She knew, with a phone call, whether her kids had an emergency. She dealt with phone calls very quickly and [whichever child had called] would be satisfied.”
Sharaby was not only a friend but also an occasional patient. Once, the pair was out to dinner when Sharaby felt a migraine coming on. In the midst of the meal, Shuah ran to her car to get acupuncture needles to relieve her friend’s pain.
“She was very passionate about her work. She was very spiritually involved with it as well. It was centrally important to her, in addition to her eight children and her elderly father. She was a very caring person, always worrying about other people’s problems,” Sharaby reported.
Born and raised in Israel, Shuah “spoke English like an American. Her English was above average,” a skill that allowed her to treat English-speaking patients in their mother tongue.
When treating patients, “she really did it in a spiritual way. She took all of their pain. After a session, she was drained,” Sharaby said.
“She was never a judgmental person. She was always happy, positive and smiling, no matter what. There were no limits in our conversations. Nothing stressed her. She was very easygoing. She was very clean and pure; she never spoke ill about anybody. She tried to please everybody. She wouldn’t get angry at her kids. She was very go-with-the-flow. She wouldn’t burden people. She was just great.
“She was full of life. That’s what shocked everybody,” Sharaby shared. “Her husband is struggling and emotionally destroyed. He said, ‘I have no idea about anything. My wife took care of everything.’”
Shuah became religious independent of the family in which she was raised. “She always respected her nonreligious family. She did her religious life for herself.”
She was connected with many rabbis, who came to console the family during the shiva mourning period. Sharaby recalls one particular comment. “God takes the perfect flowers,” one rabbi said.
Another Chinese medicine colleague, Daniel Feld, LAc, whose clinic is also in Jerusalem, said, “Yiscah was a light to anyone that was with her. She was a highly capable person and practitioner, and yet she did everything without calling attention to herself. Her ability to run a private clinic, work with hundreds of patients and birthing mothers in Shaare Zedek hospital, while at the same time running a household of eight children was mind-blowing.
“But beyond her abilities, she was truly a beautiful person who just spread positivity to whomever she was with. It just felt good to be with her. The setting didn’t matter. She didn’t judge people, and was completely devoted to giving to others and making wherever she was a better place.
“She was a very loved practitioner in the Chinese medicine community in Israel, and it has been amazing to see all parts and organizations in the community come together to support her family and take part in a crowdsourcing campaign which the community set up for her family.
“She had the ability to touch people deeply without saying very much. As one of her patients told me, ‘She was simply an angel.’
“Her light remains with us,” Feld concluded.
A JGive campaign, Giving for Yiscah’s Children, devoted to the needs of the family, is under way.