Judaism and Medicine
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“American is ‘Zero Population Growth; ‘ Jewish is ‘Be Fruitful and Multiply'”

Dr. Mendelsohn frequently referred to his Jewish education and background. In the early years of his career, he urged rabbis and Jewish doctors to become more familiar with their own traditional medical teachings. He established the annual Maimonides Award to honor a Jewish physician who had made “outstanding contributions to medicine and religion.” This prize was awarded to a prominent Jewish physician from 1965-1969.

Later on, Dr. Mendelsohn used Jewish teachings as a contrast to much of what he thought was wrong with American culture, especially the misguided and dangerous religion of modern medicine. “According to modern medicine you have to tell a patient who has cancer that he’s going to die. Judaism prohibits that. When you go to see a dying patient, Judaism would advocate discussing the next day’s breakfast with him. If you withdraw hope, he may die sooner.”  His belief in the eternal truths of Judaism was a source of strength and optimism for him in a larger world that he strongly criticized.

I’ve been a member of a minority all of my life. If I ever find myself in the majority, I’ll know one of two things. Either I’m wrong, or the Messiah has come.

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