Is there a doctor in the house?
At Jewish Newport
July 14, 2018
Today I had a special role. I was designated to ask Mike to get some water for Rabbi Marc Mandel, which I delivered. It was a double parsha, and his voice was reaching its limit.
I remember being sick one day when I was growing up in Newport. My parents, Maurice and Dorothy Ginsburg, went to work at the family grocery store, the Broadway Market. My sisters went to school. I was put on the wonderful couch in the living room, opposite the picture window, by far the nicest room in the house. Not long afterwards Dr. Lewis Abramson came by to make a house call. I loved the attention. It was around the time we had to line up in front of Dr. Abramson’s office on Broadway for immunizations.
In kindergarten and first grade I was friendly with Buddy Ritchie. His mother owned Broadway Florist. They lived nearby on Wilbur Rd. Buddy and I clambered up their low garage roof. I slipped and fell on to my back. I was a little winded. Buddy said, “I forgot to tell you about the slippery shingle.” We went into the house. Mrs. Ritchie put me in a laundry basket on top of the just folded clothes, right next to the basket of young puppies. She called my mother, who called Dr Abramson. He instructed her to take me to the Newport hospital for an x-ray. I received a back brace, which I wore obsessively for the next few months.
Today at Touro we were joined by several doctors who were attending the 18TH ANNUAL THOMAS JEFFERSON UNIVERSITY SPINE FELLOWS ALUMNI SYMPOSIUM. This has been in Newport for many years, and some of its physicians have formed a strong attachment to Touro Synagogue. With their families Drs Lewin, Hillebrand, Reich, Baron, and Kay sponsored the Kiddish Luncheon.
Rabbi Marc Mandel greeted everyone and continued,
“Where would our world be without doctors or without medicine? Our lives would not be what they are today without these excellent doctors and without the advances in medicine that they create daily. Look at those boys that were in the cave. Without the medicine and the food they would have died. And as soon as they were rescued – they were sent to the hospital for urgent medical attention. Much of the technology used in the cave rescue was from Israel.
“Today we finished reading the book of Bamidbar and we said, ‘Hazak, hazak, Vnithazek’ be strong, be strong and be strengthened.
“The talmud says there are several things that need to be strengthened. One of them is Dereh Eretz. Dereh Eretz refers to anything that improves this world. To make anything that leads to a better society. Medicine is improving so rapidly – and it is making our lives so much better. Without these advances in medicine we’d be in deep trouble.
“The Jewish people have always understood this and that’s why many of the great doctors throughout history were Jews. Think about the Rambam, Maimonides, who was the king’s physician in Egypt 1000 years ago. And think to our own day with the Salk vaccine from Jonah Salk which eradicated polio. Hazak hazak. Doctors need our unconditional support – in their work to improve this world.
“Recently there was a guest here in Newport who I hadn’t seen in a while. He said, 'I came to Newport to recover from an ordeal.' He had a new kidney donated by his son. What an amazing medical breakthrough, kidney transplants. He’s fine now and so is his son. Doctors need chizuk, they need our support.
“Each year Jeanie and Jay sponsor the Schottenstein prize in cardiovascular sciences and medicine: it’s a prize that goes to a physician who has was excelled in medicine – and it’s a very generous prize that’s chizuk that strengthens medicine. The most recent recipient was Dr. Helen Hobbs from Texas, who has done outstanding heart research in Dallas.
“This week I received an email from the Puah Institute, which is an organization that deals with medical fertility issues. They asked, 'Why does the Torah have to list each place the Jews traveled? Why is that so important?'
“The journey is not always easy. There can be delays, challenging weather, and personal issues to deal with – but if a parent has a child that’s not well, they will make any journey that is necessary for their children, just as Hashem is with us in our life‘s journey.
“So we thank all of the spine surgeons who made the journey to Newport this week – and we think all the physicians in this room for their outstanding work – we thank Jeanie and Jay for giving chizuk(strength) to the medical world – and may each of us have the strength to improve this world, each in our way. There are many great professions in the world- we each have a role to play.
At the kiddish, Dr. Jonathan Lewin, of The Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders in Englewood, New Jersey, spoke briefly. He complemented Rabbi Mandel for reading the double parsha, and said it would have taken him two months to prepare it. He also thanked CJI for its hospitality.
Shabbat Sholom from Jewish Newport.