The Beginning & Early Years
Conducted by an international committee of experts between 1986-1988, the survey concluded that there was a critical necessity for a modern tertiary care hospital, dedicated to treating children in Israel and the Middle East. The results also emphasized that children’s departments in general hospitals were insufficient to respond to the special needs of children throughout the country. The committee also recommended the hospital be built in the center of the country, where the majority of the country’s population resides, and that it be owned and operated by Clalit Medical Services, the largest HMO in Israel.
The building was designed by Marvin Bostin, a specialist in planning children’s hospitals and Jerry Switzer, a renowned architect. Mr. Irving Schneider was involved in every detail from the start, and would visit the site once or twice a month to follow progress, together with Helen Schneider, and their daughters. Towards the final stages of construction, Helen Schneider became the guiding spirit behind issues of aesthetics and it is her elegant style and impeccable taste that led to the choices of materials and coloring that have become the hospital’s hallmark.
Around the same time, Irving and Helen Schneider founded MDI – Medical Development for Israel, in NY. The organization, headed by the Schneider’s and fellow donors, raised awareness and significant funds to support Schneider Children’s.
Declaration Ceremony, at the President’s House on October 23, 1987, marked one of many ceremonies that celebrated the launch of the pioneering initiative.
Groundbreaking Ceremony took place in 1988, at the site of the future hospital building. On this momentous occasion, the Schneider Family laid the Cornerstone Scroll beneath the building’s foundations at the groundbreaking ceremony on April 11, 1988: This hospital, dedicated to the inherent right of every child to live a healthy life in a peaceful world, will stand as a “bridge to peace” linking this nation to its many neighbors
1989 First floors take shape: two floors were planned beneath ground level to fulfill security needs. The huge hole excavated in Kaplan Street, where previously there had been agricultural fields owned by veterans of the Haganah, was transformed within two years into the attractive and familiar edifice of Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel.
Inauguration Ceremony took place on October 29, 1991. Attended by Aura Herzog, wife of the President of the State of Israel and then also President of the Public Council for Schneider’s Children’s (later to be called the Friends of Schneider Children’s).
1992: During the first year of operation, only outpatient services were offered. In 1992, internal medicine departments A and B were opened. On the eve of the “second opening”, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra dedicated a festive concert to Schneider Children’s.
The First Years
1993 was a busy year at Schneider Children’s: In January, The Institute of Cardiology was dedicated; In February, The Cardiac Catheterization Lab opened and in March, the first operation at the hospital took place.
In the summer, The Hematology-Oncology Department moved from Beilinson Hospital to Schneider, and a month later, its laboratories were transferred as well. Prof. Rina Zaizov, z”l, head of the Hemato-Oncology Department gave the opening address at the dedication on August 12, 1993.
That September, Michael Jackson, King of Pop, visited Schneider Children’s, creating great excitement among the children and his many fans who were waiting outside the hospital.
In 1995, the hospital changed its official name and began carrying the name of its visionary founder. The hospital was initially called the Children’s Medical Center for Israel, however during its first two years it became apparent that this caused difficulty in differentiating it from its neighbor ‘adult’ hospital (Beilinson). Irving Schneider was convinced to give the hospital his family name, something he was not initially inclined to do, and in July 1995, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and the Schneider family, together with distinguished guests and hospital teams, convened to officially name the hospital the Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel.
In November 1997, a kidney was transplanted into a one-year-old, the youngest such patient in the hospital’s history.