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October 17, 1980 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-10-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, October 11, 1980


Communal Congratulations Are
Offered to Joseph Shapiro on 90th

Joseph Shapiro is a re-
markable man. He will be
90 on Oct. 25 and he is as
vigorous now as he was 20
years ago when The Detroit
Jewish News first pub-
lished his poetry. He retains
a remarkable memory as
indicated in these personal
descriptions of his life's ex-
"I do" not want to have a
long list of what I did during
my life time, but here are
just a few remarks:
"Spent four years at sea
sailing to many foreign
countries where
encountered many danger-
ous events which could have
cost me my life.
"In Tampico, Mexico,
lined up against the wall,
as an American spy with
60 other Steamship Es-
perenza crew, but got
away free . . .
"Also during the Mexican
Revolution we were
searched and surrounded by
the revolutionary infantry
company with their guns
pointing at us, but here
again we got away free.
"Served as a sergeant in
World War I in France and
spent many weeks at the
military hospital after
being gassed twice and dis-
charged with a disability
"Worked at the Ford

Motor Co. in the Rouge
plant for almost 37 years as
a tool maker.
"Started to write while
I was even a school boy
back home in England,
and kept it up, never sold
a copy on any of my writ-
ings except I had to write
a full report in booklet
form to the United States
Army upon their request
as to my action, observa-
tion, and what as an
Englishman I thought of
the American soldier."
Shapiro's 90th birthday
falls on Shabat, and in
honor of the occasion, Cong.
Beth Shalom will invite Mr.
Shapiro to the bima to read
his poetry. Rabbi David
Nelson of Beth Shalom
called Shapiro the poet
laureate of the congrega-
Born in London, England,
Mr. Shapiro was educated
in his homeland and came to
Detroit in 1916. His son
Abe, a manufacturer's
representatiVe, is married
and has a son and daughter.
His daughter, Lillian, is
married to auctioneer Nor-
man Levy and they have to
sons. Another daughter
Ethel died in August. Mr.
Shapiro's second wife,
Clara, died in 1976.
Asked to give some de-
tails about his life, Shapiro
said "The main thing I do is

Gene Splicing in Israel
Approved, Used as Cure

The Health Ministry- said
that an experiment in gene-
tic engineering performed
at the Hadassah Medical
Center here last July was
fully in keeping with medi-
cal ethics.
It involved the splicing of
genes in an attempt to cure
a patient of a hereditary
blood ailment that often
proves fatal and is believed
to have been the first opera-
tion of its kind on a human
The procedure was per-
formed by Dr. Martin Cline
who developed the tech-
nique in animal experi-
ments at the University of
California at Los Angeles
and Prof. Eliezer
Rachmilowitz, head of the
hematological department
at the Hadassah Medical
The Health Ministry
was unaware of the case
ntil the story appeared
the Los Angeles Times
ast week. That paper re-
ported that the U.S. gov-
ernment was investigat-
ing the case on suspicion
that it was a dangerous
experiment performed
on humans.
But Dr. Yehoshua
Weissbrot, acting director
general of the Health
Ministry, said the operation
was not an experiment to
alter the genetic traits of a
human being but an at-
tempt to cure a patient of a
dangerous illness.
The patient was a 21-
year-old Israeli woman suf-

fering from Beta Thalas-
semia Major, a condition
caused by the inability to
produce a component of
normal hemoglobin, the
molecule in red blood cells
that carries oxygen from the
lungs to the body tissues.
The doctors removed a
small amount of blood mar-
row from the patient and
spliced the cells to genes
capable of producing the
vital hemoglobin compo-
nent. The spliced cells were
then introduced to the
patient in the hope that
they would begin producing
normal hemoglobin.
Cline and his team per-
formed the same proce-
dure on a 16-year-old girl
in Naples. The conditions
of both patients re-
mained stable indicating
that the procedure may
be successful.
Although the results will
not be known for several
months, the doctors believe
that without the operation
the patients' conditions
would have deteriorated,
possibly resulting in death.
Most patients with severe
forms of the ailment die in
their late teens or early 20s.
Rachmilowitz, a world
expert on Beta Thalassemia
Major, said that the opera-
tion was performed in ac-
cordance with regulations
and with the approval of a
special committee dealing
with medical experiments
on human beings.


observe." His observations
have filled four books, in-
cluding an autobiography, a
book of Jewish stories based
on real experiences and a
book on seafaring.
Shapiro is a charter
member of Jewish War
Veterans and the Ameri-
can Legion.
Shapiro says he likes to
look ahead. He talked about
plans for a forthcoming trip
to Miami, Fla., where he va-
cations every year. He
learned to speak Spanish
Asked to remark about
his experiences, Shapro said
"I have a lot to be grateful to
the Lord for."



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