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U.S. Vs. Tradition:
Grief And Loss
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RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRI TER
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Gayle Samuels, David Techner and Lori Garon at the Federation brunch.
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Find It All In
The Jewish News
avid Techner, funeral di-
rector at Ira Kaufman
Chapel, spoke on "Grief
and Loss: Modern Ameri-
ca Meets Ancient Tradition" at a
brunch of Federation Business
and Professional Women on Jan.
11 at Beth Abraham Hillel
The Food For Thought pro-
gram was chaired by Lori Garon
with associate chair Gayle
Mr. Techner described ways
Jewish tradition helps mourners
come to terms with loss.
"Our Judaism is nothing short
of brilliant," he said.
Customs like sitting shiva and
saying Kaddish expose the be-
reaved to a support network
which nurtures them through
the healing process.
"Can you tell me what greater
source of group therapy there is?"
he asked. "What we have here is
a support system that is brilliant
if you take advantage of it."
Mr. Techner also said changes
in the medical field have affect-
ed people's experiences with
"Twenty years ago, there was
no possibility of dying at home,"
he said. "People would be rushed
to the hospital so some doctor
could pronounce them dead."
Today, said Mr. Techner, more
than 50 percent of people die at
home in the company of their
families. An advocate of hospice
care, Mr. Techner said Judaism
considers it a great mitzvah to be
with a person as he or she "pass-
es from one world to the next."
As a funeral director, Mr.
Techner affirmed that he has ex-
perienced lots of sadness. He
stressed, however, that his job is
to help people remember and
take joy in the life of their de-
ceased loved one.
"Most people say to me that I
must have the most depressing
job in the universe," he said. "I
find that to be a sad commentary,
because if you truly understand
Judaism, then you would under-
stand that what I do 365 days a
year is a celebration of life." LI
Study Identifies Key
To Parasites' Survival
art of the genetic mecha-
nism that allows Leish-
mania — one-celled
parasites that infect mil-
lions of people worldwide — to
survive in man has been identi-
fied in a recently published Weiz-
mann Institute study. This
development may eventually en-
able scientists to interfere with
this mechanism so as to impair
the parasites' ability to reside in
the human body.
Leishmania parasites are car-
ried by sandflie,s and transferred
to man and other mammals,
causing severe skin lesions and
mucosal infections as well as at-
tacking internal organs in an of-
ten fatal form of the disease.
Upon moving from insects to
mammals, Leishmania must
adapt to an environment with a
radically different temperature
and chemical composition. In the
course of this adaptation their
lashlike appendages used for mo-
tion — called flagella — disap-