Rabbis learn about organ donations

May 29, 2014 by Rachel Mihalovich
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The Canberra based Organ and Tissue Authority provided this week a training session for 15 Victorian rabbis on the medico-legal process in Australia for determining ‘brain-stem and whole of brain death’. 

Learning about transplants

Learning about transplants

This session provided invaluable information that informed rabbinical debate and discussion at the ORA conference and at the next Special General Meeting of the RCV in relation to the halachic issues surrounding the process for organ donation in Australia.

Dr Jonathan Gillis, who is the National Medical Director of the Organ and Tissue Authority, was the Key Note presenter at the session that was held in the Lamm Board room at the Mizrachi Synagogue in Caulfield. “The Organ and Tissue Authority is pleased to be working with the Rabbinical Council of Victoria to provide training to several Rabbis on the brain death determination process in Australia. This will allow these Rabbis to support Jewish families who are asked to make a decision about a loved one becoming an organ and tissue donor, so that the family can be comfortable that organ and tissue donation is being conducted in accordance with their religious requirements,” said Dr Jonathan Gillis.

RCV President, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant said that this session provided the rabbis with the basis to make informed decisions in relation to the halachic aspects surrounding organ and tissue donation.

“It was an extremely informative session, and there was considerable discussion and engagement between the presenter and the rabbis who attended” said Rabbi Kluwgant. “Clearly this subject is important and of considerable interest to the rabbinate, and indeed to the community”, he said.

Further sessions are being planned by the RCV to address the halachic issues around end of life decision making, such as when/if to turn of a respirator, or to perform CPR, and the like.


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