This card can save ONE HUNDRED LIVES each year!
Considering the outstandingly generous and charitable nature of the Jewish People, and the espoused centrality of saving human lives ("pikuach nefesh") it is curious that when it comes to donating life-saving organs to dying patients, we Jews are apparently one of the stingiest nations on earth.
, the percentage of people who hold an organ donation card is only 10 percent; in Western countries the rate is 30-40 percent. The rate of agreement to organ donation is only 45 percent, which is 50 percent lower than the rate in most Western countries. Israel
As a result, there are about 1,000 Israelis currently on the "waiting list" for organs, and it is estimated that roughly 10% [100 people!!] of them die annually due to a lack of donations. (Wikipedia).
Two landmark Organ Donation laws were passed in Israel in 2008, one defining the moment of death and the mechanism for determining this, and the other permitting limited compensation/incentive to donors while outlawing the "business" of out-of-country organ transplants.
As the Hebrew readers will see from my
ADI organ donor card (which I carry on me with my ID card), I have ticked the boxes for:
"any organ which can aid in saving a life"
"this is conditional upon the permission of a cleric of the choice of my family after my death."
"My donation is for the purposes of transplant only".
There are halachik opinions against organ transplants, particularly regarding those performed after "death" (defining that is the main point of debate); indeed it is this religion-based objection which is reportedly the dominant factor in the low donor rate in Israel. However, increasingly rabbonim are promoting organ donations, due to the ever clearer and urgent life-saving potential.
In the case of my
ADI Organ Donors card, that halachik decision can wait until "lemaisah", after my demise.
Rav Soloveichik – you will have a long, long while, I hope, to further research and contemplate this topic!!
To sign up now for your Israeli organ donor card (a simple form in English), click here: http://www.health.gov.il/transplant/card_eng.htm
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