“You shall therefore keep my laws and my rules; if a person does them, he shall LIVE by them: I am the Eternal God.” (Leviticus 18:5) The Rabbis interpret this verse to mean that “one shall LIVE by the mitzvot, and not die by them.” (Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 85b) The preservation of human life takes precedence over all the other commandments in Judaism.
Related to this, is the urgent commandment: “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbour.” (Leviticus 19:16) According to Jewish law, every effort must be made to save a life. Other laws can or must be broken in order to save a life, so long as one does not have to commit murder, idolatry, or sexual immorality. (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 74a-b) Maimonides teaches that if one has the ability to save someone from drowning and does not, he has transgressed this fundamental mitzvah.
Eight years ago, Holy Blossom invited One Match to come and take quick and painless cheek swabs from as many congregants as possible, so that we could be registered in the bank of potential matches for those in need of stem cell transplants.
Now a member of our congregation, Lucy Waverman (yes, the food writer), has come to us for help. Her brother, David Geneen, is in need of a stem cell transplant and a match has not yet been found. Our most recent Temple bulletin announced that a public registry to find a stem cell match for David and others like him would be held on Sunday, April 29th. Unfortunately, the situation has become urgent and so we have moved the date up to Sunday, March 25th.
David is widely known as the charismatic owner of Grand Touring Automobiles on Dupont and as a long-time member of the Island Yacht Club. He has been diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Myedlodysplasic syndrome (MDS), which is a chronic and eventually fatal illness. Let us respond to the desperate call from David, his wife Linda, sons Daniel and Julian, and sister Lucy. Let us each do our part and strive to fulfill the greatest mitzvah of them all – to save a life.
Holy Blossom Temple is hosting a public stem cell registry drive by One Match to find a match for David and others like him.
Date: Sunday, March 25, 2012
Time: 12 to 4 pm
Where: Philip Smith Hall, Holy Blossom Temple, 1950 Bathurst Street.
An ideal match would be a male, age 17- 35, and of Jewish descent, but both men and women up to age 55 are encouraged to participate.
Who knows? Maybe the gift of life is in you, right now.