IDEAS FOR OTHER CAUSES OR
ORGANIZATIONS WE CAN
WORK WITH OR HELP SUPPORT?
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you are passionate about?
Are you involved with a worthwhile organization that we could help support by doing some Tikkun Olam, Together?
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At the end 2013, Beth Quinn and Marilyn Shebshaievitz came back from the national assembly for Women of Reform Judaism in San Diego with the inspiring story of Jay Feinberg, recipient of a Maurice N. Eisendrath “Bearer of Light” Award. When Jay was 23, he was gravely ill with leukemia. After his doctors told him that a life-saving bone marrow donor could not - and would not - be found, Jay's mother, Arlene, refused to accept the situation as it then existed and began a massive campaign organizing bone marrow donor drives across the country. Four years later with time running out for Jay, the last donor tested at the last drive turned out to be his match, saving Jay's life and allowing him to go on to save many, many other lives through the Gift of Life Foundation.
When Jay was ill in the early 1990's, patients of Jewish ancestry had less than a 5% chance of locating a matching donor. Today, because of the targeted registration efforts of the Gift of Life Registry, North America's only Jewish bone marrow donor registry, there is a 70% chance that a Jewish patient will find a match. To date, the Gift of Life Registry has registered well over 200,000 potential donors (individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 in general good health), leading to almost 11,000 matches. They have been on the forefront of innovations so that, today, all that is needed to register is a simple cheek swab (and filling out a form, of course).
A few years ago, the URJ and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism began working with the Gift of Life Registry Foundation on an initiative to further raise the likelihood that individuals of Jewish ancestry suffering from diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma will be able to find a needed bone marrow donor. Through this initiative, over 30 Congregations have held registry drives at Synagogues on Yom Kippur, acting together in the hope of saving lives during that special time when we are each most deeply contemplating the kind of lives we want to lead, when we are each hoping to be inscribed in the Book of Life ourselves, when we are hoping our loved ones will likewise be inscribed, and when, not insignificantly, more of us come to our Synagogues than on any other day of the year.
After this inspiring idea made its way to Scarsdale Synagogue through Beth, other congregants embraced the idea as well as the clergy, lay leadership and Communal Worship Committee.