On the eve of the first candle of the Hanukkah holiday, a unique photo exhibition opened at a most unusual venue - the Sheba Hospital Heart Center, Tel Aviv, Israel.

The exhibition is at the initiative of Howard Rosenstein and family, out of gratitude to the Heart Institutes outstanding medical staff. The family desired to share their appreciation in the form of a gift, an underwater photo exhibit. They presented their unusual idea to the Sheba Heart Institute management who immediately loved the idea


Working with a team from the Heart Institute It was a collaborative effort from the very beginning there was an immediate, positive synergy

Hanging a picture on a wall is simple. To put together a collection of dozens of large, framed photographs in a professional way, the right size, the right image flow, creating image groupings in just in the right spaces and to do so the very best way possible, that requires a professional. 

Enter Roni Sofer, Photographer, Ethnographer and Art Director, to oversee the project. 

A name for the exhibit was chosen, “The Heart and the Sea”. 
The theme: "The Ocean enables life on Earth… Just as our Heart gives us life. 
They both sustain us and we must nurture and protect them”

To visualize this connection and to show the beauty, power and vulnerability of the Sea theme, a talented group of Israel’s leading Underwater Photographers were asked to present their visual interpretations of the theme. 

The project team filtered through over 250 photos received from 9 underwater photographers, selecting from their very best works, they willingly donated from their most relevant and beautiful images.   

A final 55 images were selected,  photographs by the Howard Rosenstein, Amos Nachoum, David Pilosof, Sharon Rainis Shoval, Dany Weinberg, Michel Braunstein, Ran Mor, Noam Kortler and Boaz Samorai.

It was not easy to achieve such a program during a global pandemic! And it would be a nearly and 2 year odyssey until the exhibit would open. 

On the opening day of the exhibition, at the Sheba Hospital Heart Center, the medical staff gathered together, including some of the leading Professors in the country, Cardiac Surgeons, Department heads, and Nursing staff to celebrate the launching of the exhibit. 

Professor Ehud Raanani, director of the Cardiovascular Center, welcomed the attendees and said that he believes that art has its place in the wards as it encourages and strengthens the patients and staff in the ward. 

Professor Yael Peled, a diver herself, talked about her work as director of the Heart Transplant Rehab clinic and spoke of the proven clinical importance of these kind of exhibits toward the welfare of the patients.   
Professor Leonoid Sternak, head of Cardiac Surgery welcomed our exhibition and explained how it was already how it changed the whole feeling and look of the Surgery section. 
Howard shared his thoughts "For everyone working at the Sheba Hospital Heart Institute, the importance of caring for our hearts is a part of their reality, but how can we connect this fact to the connection to the worlds, Oceans and Seas. 
It was around 4 billion years ago, that the first forms of life emerged from the sea.  Since then, all life has some level of dependency on the sea that provides us with oxygen, food, fresh water, transportation, energy, protection, recreation, livelihoods and more. For mankind to survive and thrive we must protect and nurture our Seas and Oceans just as we must do the same for our hearts and bodies”

Boaz Samorai as a representative of the photographers, shared his personal experiences as the son whose father underwent open heart surgery, and fully recovered. “I spent quite a lot of time in the cardiology department of several hospitals, the medical staffs, led by the surgeons, were our angels! The long and difficult days my family went through in the ward around my father's bed ended one morning when the release date came, and I'm grateful to the medical staff who find the strength to go back every day and report for work and continue to rescue thousands and thousands of patients. 

I'm so happy to give them something from myself back to them and add some color to their daily routine. In addition to giving patients and their families the opportunity to look at the photographs collected from around the world and give them perhaps a little moment of calm and relief as they dive into the images and imagine the moments taken in them”.

In closing, an entertaining anecdote that happened when the exhibition was setting up proved to us that we had chosen the right pictures. Before hanging the pictures, they were placed around the floor under the exact spot where they were to be hanged, when this process was almost over it turned out that one of the pictures was missing! A beautiful seascape image taken at sunset, Immediate panic for the team. After a half hour search it was finally located hanging on the wall opposite one of the patient’s beds, when asked how it got there, the patient said he decided to take it to his room to give him some tranquility and beauty before his operation. That is when we all knew that our exhibit would be a success, but we would really need to secure the pictures to the walls or more might meet the same fate! 

We salute Medical personnel throughout Israel and the world for the amazing job they are doing during the pandemic and We all hope that the pictures will give a lot of peace and quiet both to the patients and to the medical staff who treat them.