Gisha L'Chaim > About > About Us

About Us

Life’s Door promotes and incorporates quality of life as a crucial tool in the medical treatment and care of people coping with serious illness and the elderly.  We assist patients & their families and health care professionals – focus on hope and enhance their quality of life, at a time when quality of life is pushed side.

Through scientific research as well as programs and services for medical teams and institutions, the organization raises awareness of the importance of professional self-care, end-of-life conversations and mind-body tools to bring about hope, meaning and resilience for patients, families and healthcare professionals.

This unique organization was established, in 2004, by internationally recognized Oncologist, Benjamin W. Corn, MD Professor & Interim Director, Shaare Zedek Cancer Center, and his wife Dvora, a family therapist – to confront an acute void in the global medical establishment.

Life’s Door provides a model for platforms of care to address the needs of patients facing the impending end-of life, and their loved ones, people suffering from life-threatening or chronic illness, the elderly, and the medical and nursing professionals and therapists who are treating them.

Life’s Door programs are implemented on five levels: Public, Professional, Regulatory, Research and Networking.

Public – We are promoting new venues of professional help within the health and welfare systems in cases of ‘end-of-life’ and life-threatening illness.  To enhance quality of life of the critically ill or elderly person, we incorporate innovative techniques such as the Dignity – Support and Hope for the elderly (spiritual counseling, mindfulness, and more), the Conversation Project to help people discuss wishes regarding their end-of-life-care and From Me to You, volunteer training.

Professional – We are training professionals to integrate a mind/body approach in the care of the patients and for the professionals themselves through our Conversation Circles and additional enrichment programs for professionals.

Regulatory – Life’s Door team members have an active role in professional conferences and in planning committees in the health care space, and in particular in the areas of oncology, end of life and aging.  The organizations leadership had a key contributing role in the development of Israel’s newly set National Plan for Palliative Care.

We have outlined a tangible plan to enhance the emotional, mental and social wellbeing of patients with serious illness and the elderly.  Our proposed policy will ensure that healthcare professionals address a patient’s wellbeing in addition to medical goals. It will bring about healthcare professional change. We are working with policy makers to ensure adaptation of our policy, on a national level.

Research – Life’s Door programs are developed based upon significant scientific findings in cutting edge research conducted with leading international partners including: Duke University, John Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, National Cancer Institute (USA) & Prof. Dan Ariely. Our most recent initiatives are focused in the area of Hope. Moving beyond existing theoretical models that are cited in the realm of social science, we are engaged in developing practical applications of “Hope Theory” for people facing illness. This includes assessing implementation models, parameters for behavioral and cognitive change, validating models for training patients and professionals and exploring the neuro-science of “hope”.

At Life’s Door we understand that the conventional equation of “hope=cure” falls short of meeting the needs of those we serve.  Even when cure is not achievable, hope is possible!  We are inspired by the journeys of people as they navigate — the often dark — road of illness.  Hope, is the essence of life with meaning at all stages of the journey.

Networking – Life’s Door work is based upon collaborative efforts with many important partners in Israel and abroad.  Our joint efforts in Israel have been a crucial force towards impacting patients countrywide.  Our collaborative efforts with overseas partners are building new bridges between Israel and the Diaspora through our Caring Communities initiative – a collaborative initiative that provides supportive services, on-going education, & resources for healthcare professionals & others to learn, share best practices & establish an intra-denominational community.

As our efforts move towards expansion of our impact, we are proud to have been awarded the Midot seal of effectiveness.


Founder & Executive Chairman
Prof. Benjamin W. Corn, M.D.

Benjamin W. Corn, M.D.

Dr. Corn earned his BA and MD degrees from Boston University and completed his post-graduate training at the University of Pennsylvania. As a Professor of Oncology, for close to 25 years, Ben is known as one of the leading lecturers in the scientific community. The author of over 200 publications in the medical and lay literature, he has earned an international reputation for translating potentially dry data into engaging presentations that incorporate the humanistic and narrative side of medical practice. Ben’s blog “52”, in which he explored issues of mortality and meaning in 2011-2012, was the Jerusalem Post leading blog for over 45 weeks. Ben served as the Vice-Chairman Radiation Oncology at Jefferson University Medical Center in Philadelphia. Upon his Aliyah in 1998, Ben spent 5 years in the bio-tech world as Chief Executive Officer of SignalSite Inc., and subsequently negotiated the merger of SignalSite to form Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., where he co-led the initial public offering which culminated in a dual listing on NASDAQ and the London AIM Exchange.

Upon returning to clinical medicine, Professor Corn served as Chairman of Radiation Oncology at Tel Aviv Medical Center-Ichilov Hospital for 15 years and maintains academic appointments at Tel Aviv Medical School and the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He is also a board member and consultant to several biotechnology companies. Benis currently the Deputy Director of the Cancer Center and the Chairman of the newly developing Department of Radiation Oncology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem,/

Ben’s commitment to fostering hope, meaning and dignity for his patients goes beyond mere words. Through Life’s Door and in collaboration with international academic partners, Ben is leading research efforts to unravel the mysteries and mechanisms of hope on the behavioral and neuro-scientific levels, including the training of medical professionals and patients in the Hope-Enhancement model.
Ben is the recipient of numerous teaching awards and in 2011 received the President’s Award for Volunteerism from Shimon Peres and the Sylvan Adams Prize for Outstanding Contribution by an Oleh to Israeli Society in the Field of Science and Medicine in the Knesset this past June.

Ben is the co-Founder of Life’s Door – Gisha L’chaim with his wife, Dvora. He lives in Caesarea and Jerusalem where, aside from his active role in the organization and his community, he makes time in his busy life for his other strong interests which include singing, guitar, writing and swimming, often with his wife and their 4 daughters and their growing families.

Prof. Jonathan Sarna, PhD
Board of Directors

Dr. Jonathan Sarna is one of America's foremost commentators on American Jewish History, Religion and Life. Born in Philadelphia and raised in New York and Boston, he attended Brandeis University, the Boston Hebrew College, Merkaz HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, and Yale University, where he earned his doctorate in 1979. From 1979-1990, Dr. Sarna taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he rose to become professor of American Jewish
History and director of the Center for the Study of the American Jewish Experience. He has also taught at Yale University, the University of Cincinnati, and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Dr. Sarna came back to Brandeis in 1990 to assume the new Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professorship in American Jewish History in the Department of Near Eastern & Judaic Studies. He served two terms as chair of that department, and now chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. In addition, he serves as chief historian both of the National Museum of American Jewish History and of Celebrate 350: the 350th commemoration of Jewish life in America. The Forward newspaper has dubbed him one of America's fifty most influential American Jews. Dr. Sarna has written, edited, or co-edited more than twenty books. His most recent work is the acclaimed American Judaism: A History. Winner of the Jewish Book Council's Jewish Book of the Year Award in 2004, it has been praised as being" the single best description of American Judaism during its 350 years on American soil." He is married to Professor Ruth Langer and they have two children, Aaron and Leah. They live in Boston, and spend sabbaticals and many vacations in Jerusalem