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Jewish Community Organ & Tissue Donation Forum

Jewish Community Organ & Tissue Donation Forum

21 October 2013

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) held the Jewish Community Organ and Tissue Donation Forum on Wednesday evening at Beth Weizmann Community Centre with 62 members of the community including medical practitioners, rabbis, teachers, students and members of various congregations.

A key message from the forum was that organ donation was possible in Judaism, as long as it is performed Halachically, and saving lives is of the utmost importance. The key speakers at the event were:

  • Yael Cass, CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority and Dr Helen Opdam, Victorian Medical Director of Organ & Tissue Donation, DonateLife who spoke about the serious need for organ donation with 1600 people waiting for transplants in Australia;
  • Associate Professor Dr Shlomo Cohney, Chair, Victorian & Tasmania Renal Transplant Advisory Committee explained the process around organ donation and transplants;
  • Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, President of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, General Manager Cultural & Spiritual Services at Jewish Care and member of the board of the Melbourne Beth Din discussed the Halachic issues; and
  • Adina Bankier-Karp and Yael Codron, both fairly recent organ recipients, spoke inspirationally about their life changing personal experiences.

The speakers highlighted that someone was far more likely to need an organ transplant than to be in a position to donate an organ, and that for each organ donor, up to ten lives could be saved.

Nina Bassat AM, President of the JCCV said, “It is important to discuss your decision regarding organ and tissue donation with your family, because even if you register your wishes on the Australian Organ Donor Register, your family will have to confirm your decision before any donation can proceed.

If you have queries about what is Halachically correct, please discuss this with your Rabbi.”

At the forum, there was a DonateLife information booth with information also available from the Progressive and Conservative perspectives, as well as the Halachic Organ Donation Society (HODS).

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