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A push for organ donation in the Jewish community

Seven's On Call

WABC By Dr. Jay Adlersberg

- There are thousands of desperate people in New York right now waiting for the phone to ring -- a phone call that will tell them a donation of an organ has been made and life can be saved.

Now, the rabbinical community is stepping up to get more lives saved.

Seven's On Call.

A very unique gathering took place this week as experts in the field of organ donation put through a plan to make sure that the religious leaders to whom people turn during very difficult times can help them make decisions that may save someone's life.

It often begins with a sudden tragedy -- a death, and then, the possibility of great generosity, the donation of one of more viable body organs that can help someone else live.

This picture of J.J. Greenberg was taken 3 weeks before he died. He was on a bicycle and struck by a car. His family made the very generous decision to donate his organs.

Blu Greenberg, donated son's organs: "His organs, six of his organs went directly to other people, three of them would not have lived out the week without a lung, liver .."

The Greenberg's are a Jewish family and honor Jewish law and its respect for the dead, which does allow organ donation when it can save a life, an issue often missundestood -- which is why this historical gathering of rabbis, rabbinical students and medical professionals was taking place this week at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Robert Berman, founder of Halachic Organ Donor Society: "A lot of Jews think that Jewish law requires you to be buried whole at all costs and it's clearly not true ..."

The organizers of the conference have presented information on brain stem deaths and other issues surrounding organ donations. There are rabbis from four different countries.

Robert Berman says his organization wants to foster decisions based on information and not on superstition or misinformation. The goal: to save lives through donation.

"Today, 17 families will be mourning for their loved ones who died because of organ failure and they didn't have to die ... we can prevent it," Berman said.

Mrs. Greenberg says the family made their decision because of a conversation they had with their son. They knew that's what he would want. The lesson is to talk about organ donation with your family and make your wishes known.


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For More Information:

  • Halachic Organ Donor Society

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