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March 04, 1994 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-03-04

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

Health eat

CASKET page 7?

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ing entire bodies to science.
Though Reform tradition per-
mits it, whole-body donation is
considered emotionally un-
healthy for survivors.
"I think it's an issue not only
involving the (dead) person, but
also his or her loved ones," Rab-
bi Steinger said. "It's really im-
portant to give family members
a sense of closure by enabling
them to bury loved ones, to lay
to rest the earthly remains."
An empty casket doesn't pre-
dude Jews from observing their
mourning rites and rituals, Rab-
bi Steinger said. A funeral can
take place, even without the
body.
David Techner, funeral di-
rector at Ira Kaufman Chapel,
says 99 percent of Jews opt for
in-ground burial, but he wish-
es more would donate their bod-
ies to science.
Mr. Techner has affixed an
organ donor's sticker to his dri-
ver's license. He, too, has a per-
sonal story to tell. In 1989,
doctors diagnosed him with a
rare type of cancer.
"I was basically told that,
were it not for the advance-
ments in science, I would be
dead. Even though it sounds
gross, thank God we have peo-
ple generous enough to donate
their bodies because that's the
way we study disease," he said.
"I'm personally comfortable giv-
ing whatever I can back to my
community when I'm no longer
here. It beats any Allied Jewish
Campaign." ❑

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holy purpose: life," said Rabbi
Shmuel Irons, dean of the Kol-
lel Institute in Oak Park.
"There's a school of thought that
says our bodies are on loan. Ul-
timately, they are God's bodies
and not ours to give."
But Rabbi Irons suggests
that the issue is not so dear-cut.
He referred to Ezekiel Landau,
a famous rabbi from Prague
who, 200 years ago, distin-
guished between donating bod-
ies for research and donating
vital organs to save a life that is
in imminent danger.
"Rabbi Landau maintained
that research does not warrant
(mutilation). However, if the sit-
uation were an imminent case
of life and death, it would be a
totally different story," he said.
Would Jewish law be differ-
ent if surgical transplants were
common in rabbinic times? Rab-
bi Irons thinks not.
"Times change, but the law
is based on principle," he said.
Reform Judaism offers a dif-
ferent perspective. A Reform
Jew actually is encouraged to
donate body parts upon death,
so long as the parts help save or
enhance the life of another hu-
man being. Reform Judaism
also sanctions autopsies if they:
1. help someone afflicted with
disease; 2. elucidate legal ques-
tions about the death.
At Temple Emanu-El in Oak
Park, Rabbi Lane Steinger en-
courages the donation of
corneas, hearts, livers and so on.
But he cautions against donat-

AMERICAN
SO

JUDITH SUDILOVSKY SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

erhaps it takes somebody
like Dr. Edward Abinad-
er to break the mold.
Having studied medi-
cine in Ireland for almost a
decade, Dr. Abinader, 53, head
of the cardiology department at
Haifa's B'nai Zion Medical Cen-
ter, saw no obstacle to his aca-
demic career in Israel. His
appointment as the first Arab
hospital department head,
therefore, came as no surprise.
"When I returned to Israel in
1972, to Rambam Hospital, I
was told it would be very diffi-
cult for me to advance. But I
was sure of myself. I knew it
was possible," he said.
Druse Dr. Hassoun Gamal,
40, a senior physician and
chairman of the intermediate
unit of emergency medicine at
Rambam, said, "Twenty years
ago, not more than one or two
Arab students could be found
in any one medical class. The
number has now grown to be-

p

tween two and 10 per class."
But Deputy Minister of
Health Nawaf Massalha, who
is gathering data on the status
of Arab doctors in Israel, is still
not happy with the situation.
"I know it will improve,
though," he said. "There are
quite a few Arab deputy de-
partment heads who'll eventu-
ally advance."
Dr. Gamal, who received his
medical degree from Tel Aviv
University, agrees. "There are
enough qualified Arab doctors.
I just think it will take time for
them to start working their way
up the system. Their scientific
achievements and qualifica-
tions are the only things that
should be considered."
Dr. Michael Friedlander, a
senior nephrologist (kidney spe-
cialist) at Jerusalem's Hadas-
sah Medical Center, believes
Arab doctors are given the
same chances as Israeli doctors.
"They go through the same

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