Halachic Organ donor Society, P.O. box 693, New York, NY 10108-0693, Phone: 212-213-5087, Email: admin@hods.org

High School Program for Educators

Dear Educator,

There are numerous ways to integrate organ donation into your curriculum. The following are some suggestions:

I. Curriculum Integration

II. Prepare your own Presentation

III. Invite a Guest Lecturer

IV. Other Resources

I. Curriculum Integration

A. Biology/Science:

  1. Study the live-saving transplantable organs
    1. Heart: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/eheart/
    2. Lungs
    3. Liver
    4. Pancreas
    5. Kidneys
    6. Corneas
  2. Matching donors with recipients

    Exercise in matching kidney donors and recipients using blood-typing.


  3. Brain Death – Study the history of Brain death, starting with the Harvard Criteria of 1968, the Presidents Commission on Brain Death as well studying the medical aspects of brain death
    1. Brain Death: Anatomy and Physiology
    2. An Educator’s Guide to the Brain
    3. Understanding Brain Death
  • B. Mathematics

    1. Analyze the shortage of organs using data analysis and algebra.  Exercise is located at: http://organdonor.gov/student/docs/OrganDonor-Math.pdf

    C. Social Studies/English

    1. Allocation of scarce resources.  Use the case studies located on the “Students Page” to facilitate an ethical debate or to deliver an oral or written persuasive argument.

    D. Jewish Studies

    1. Pikuach Nefesh– Saving a life – What are the parameters?
    2.  Brain Death – How does halacha interpret brain-death?
    3. Does halacha approve of taking money to do a mitzvah (i.e. donating a kidney)? “Monetary Compensation for Donating Kidneys.”

     HOD Self Test

    II. Prepare your own Presentation

    A Comprehensive study of organ donation should include the following topics:

    1. What is organ donation?
      1. Why is it necessary? (US, Israel))
      2. What organs can be transplanted
      3. Cadavaric vs. living donation
      4. Who can be an organ donor?
      5. How successful are organ transplants
    2. The transplant process
    3. What does Judaism say about organ donation
      1. Study the laws of Pikuach Nefesh
      2. Time of death in halacha
      3. How does modern technology and modern medicine alter halachic outcomes
    4. The ethics of organ donation
      1. Allocation of organs
      2. Selling of organs
  • III. Invite a Guest Lecturer

    Please avail yourself of these resources to teach about organ donation and halacha.  If you are interested in having Robert Berman, the founder and director of the HOD Society, lecture at your school please contact admin@hods.org or call 212-213-5087. Mr. Berman has lectured in many high schools including HAFTER, Yeshiva University High School for Girls, Ramaz, SAR Academy, and Beren Academy.

    IV. Other Resources

    A school program on organ donation is available from the Department of Health and Human Services.  Free copies are available from http://www.organdonor.gov/student/materials.asp or by calling 1-888-275-4772.

    Please note that this does not address the halachic questions relating to organ donation.


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