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Saving a Life: Judaism’s View of Organ Donation
In Kidney to Share, Martha Gershun tells the story of her decision to donate a kidney to a stranger. Throughout the book, she and co-author Dr. John D. Lantos explore the complex donations process, as well as the steps involved in recovering and allocating organs, asking us to consider just how far society should go in using one person’s healthy body parts in order to save another person.
Join her in conversation with AJU’s Rabbi Elliot Dorff and Dr. Ron Wolfson, to discuss her decision, and explore Judaism’s perspective on organ donations.
To purchase the book, please click here.
Martha Gershun (www.marthagershun.com) has over 40 years of leadership experience in Fortune 500 corporations, start-up ventures, and non-profit organizations, retiring as Executive Director of Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in 2017. As Principal of MG Consulting, she currently provides marketing, board development, leadership transition, and strategy consulting services to non-profit clients around the country.
In September 2018 Gershun donated a kidney at the Mayo Clinic to Deb Porter Gill, a woman she read about in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. She co-authored Kidney to Share (Cornell University Press, May 2021), with John Lantos, M.D. to help readers understand both the scientific discoveries that made transplantation relatively safe and effective and the barriers that make it difficult and expensive to donate a kidney.
Gershun graduated with a B.A. cum laude from Harvard University and holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. She earned a graduate diploma in Economics from the University of Stirling, Scotland, where she was a Rotary International Fellow. She lives in Kansas City with her husband, Don Goldman, Executive Director and CEO of Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Greater Kansas City.
Rabbi Dr. Elliot Dorff is a past President of the Academy for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies (2015 – 2017) and a prominent interfaith leader in the Jewish community. Dr. Dorff is the Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at American Jewish University where he has been directing the rabbinical and Masters programs since 1971. He was ordained to the Rabbinate by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University. He also serves as the Chair of the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. In addition, Dr. Dorff has served on many boards and commissions related to medical ethics, including the Ethics committee at UCLA Medical Center, the Ethics Advisory Committee for the State of California on stem cell research, and the broader Social Impacts Committee for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural Science. Dr. Dorff has published over 200 articles on Jewish thought, law, and ethics, as well as 14 books another 14 that he edited or co-edited.
Ron Wolfson is the Fingerhut Professor of Education at American Jewish University. He is the author of numerous books including: Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community and co-author of The Relational Judaism Handbook: How to Create a Relational Engagement Campaign to Build and Deepen Relationships in Your Community.