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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘presumption’

Say No to Default Organ Donations: Opt Out Now

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Israel has an organ supply problem.

Organ donation card holder numbers are among the lowest in the western world, with only 13% of the population having signed an organ donation card. In part this has to do with a religious aversion to desecrating the body after death, in a larger part, it’s because organ donation has not been properly promoted.

Many poskim (religious deciders) have come out for organ donation, and have publicly signed organ donation cards.

But I can tell you this, most people in Israel have no idea where to get an organ donation card (I know they have them in hospitals, but I have no idea where else).

In 2008, Israel changed the law and gave preference in receiving organ transplants to people with organ donor cards. This resulted in a jump in donors.

This week, a new government bill proposes to radically change the organ donation market in Israel. It is sponsored, among others, by the token secular MK from Jewish Home, Ayelet Shaked.

This new bill makes my skin crawl.

They are not launching a campaign to promote the concept of organ donation, or to make it easy to find and sign a checkbox authorizing your organ donation.

Instead, the State wants the default intent of a departed person to have been, by law, to donate his or her body parts–unless they had specifically filled out a form that says they didn’t.

I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky they’re even letting us opt out at all.

This bill, as it is proposed, is yet another example of the Bolshevik state treating its citizens like chattel.

And yes, I’m aware that many countries have the opt-out system, but the United States, which has a completely opt-in system, has one of the highest signatory rates in the world. Because they make it so easy to sign up or give consent (whenever you renew your driver’s license there’s a check mark on the form), and because they’ve spent a lot of time and money on educating the population on the obvious advantages of keeping other people alive even after we die.

In Israel, where the State reaches into your bank account whenever it wants, it almost makes sense that the next stop would be your body parts. After all, it’s all for the “greater good”.

So I ask you, which “greater good” is next on their list?

My body belongs to me, not to the State.

It is beyond presumptuous on the part of the government to think they have the tacit right to do what they want with my body and my organs.

If they want it, let them convince me, let them promote it, let them make it quick, easy and available to sign up.

But don’t ever presume that the State has the right to grab it away from me without my expressed permission.

I hope this bill does not pass. And if it does, I hope everyone chooses, in protest, to immediately opt-out.

Afterwards, I recommend everyone opts back in, for the benefits, for the huge mitzvah, and because i’ts the right thing to do, for each individual. For the State this is literally a mortal sin.

It’s Official: You Can Be a Non-Jewish Rabbi

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Over the past few years, Reform and Conservative Judaism have been struggling so much with the notion of ordaining women rabbis and gay rabbis, that we, the spectators (innocent bystanders?) of those struggles have completely lost sight of an even more challenging notion: can they ordain gentile rabbis?

To cut a long story short: they can and they have. The Reform movement has done, and as a result, I believe, has placed itself outside the Rabbinical Jewish tradition regarding the fundamental notion of who qualifies as a Jew.

I became aware of this complete and, presumably, final split between Jews and the largely American Reform movement after receiving a link to Seth Berkman’s piece in the Forward: Angela Buchdahl, First Asian-American Rabbi, Vies for Role at Central Synagogue. The article praises Angela as an example of diversity, who “walks among the pews, greeting congregants before Friday night services at Manhattan’s venerable Central Synagogue,” where she faces “a mélange of Jewish faces, including blacks, Asians and Hispanics,” in a “diversity that reflects the emergence of an American Jewry of unprecedented ethnic breadth.”

Had I known nothing more about the above paragraph, I would have been beaming with pride over it. In the shuls I attended on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, spotting an African or a Hispanic face was always such a source of pleasure. As a tiny nation and an even tinier religious group, we prize every gentile who embraces our faith and goes through the sometimes grueling process of becoming one of us.

Except that Berkman cuts to the chase right at the opener, making clear that no such grueling effort was involved in Angela Buchdahl’s joining the Chosen People: it turns out that the diversity she so praises at that Reform gathering is “embodied” by Buchdahl, who was “born to an Ashkenazi, Reform Jewish father and a Korean Buddhist mother.”

Exactly 30 years ago, in 1983, the Reform movement in America adopted the bilineal policy: “The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent. This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. The performance of these mitzvot serves to commit those who participate in them, both parent and child, to Jewish life.”

It should be noted that outside the U.S. the Reform moevement is yet to adopt the sweeping “presumption of Jewish descent” doctrine, but they do, by and large, offer “accelerated conversions” to children of a Jewish father.

Hadassah Magazine, which Berkman quotes in her story, featured a profile of the Korean born Angela Buchdahl, the first Asian American to be ordained as a cantor or rabbi and the first woman to attain both positions.

For Buchdahl, according to Hadassah magazine, key Jewish values include “a spirit of genuine inquiry and multiple opinions; our whole method of study and nondogmatic spirit; the dignity of every person and the fact that we are all created in the image of God; the ability to know what it is to be a stranger and to have been a slave—and to force ourselves to embody that understanding in every generation.”

Far be it from me to criticize such fine and noble notions, but it is difficult to recognize in that amalgam anything uniquely Jewish. Absent is the idea of fulfilling the mitzvot as a divine agenda. It’s all about getting along with others and respecting them, not so much about applying Torah laws to one’s daily life.

Indeed, the more the Reform movement is reinventing itself, the closer it gets to Christianity. She’s been active, among other things, at Auburn Theological Seminary, “an interfaith platform to address global issues and build bridges across religious traditions.”

“Angela is an extraordinary religious leader,” Rev. Katherine Henderson, Auburn’s president, told Hadassah. At a gathering for a Presbyterian group last year, Buchdahl “led worship that was completely authentic for her as a Jew and yet completely accessible for this group of Christians,” says Henderson. “We were all able to praise God together!”

This reporter is known to be flippant, so I very much want to avoid being flippant about this story. I don’t think we should denounce people like Angela Buchdahl, or condemn the Reform movement for its straying so far out of the Rabbinical Jewish tent. But we should remain steadfast in not calling any of these people and the nice things they do “Jewish” in any way at all. We’re already not permitted to set foot inside their houses of worship. We should probably stop calling their religious teachers “Rabbi” – perhaps “Reform Rabbi” will do. And we should look forward to the time when calling someone “Reform” would simply mean a really nice non-Jew.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/its-official-you-can-be-a-goy-rabbi/2013/08/14/

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