“Baha’u’llah, the guardian of the Baha’i faith, exhorted his followers to ‘be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge…be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.’”
—Carelle Kariminaesh, member, Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of San Mateo, CA
All four branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist) support and encourage donation. Says Orthodox Rabbi Moses Tendier, “If one is in the position to donate an organ to save another’s life, it’s obligatory to do so, even if the donor never knows who the beneficiary will be. The basic principle of Jewish ethics — ‘the infinite worth of the human being’ — also includes donation of corneas, since eyesight restoration is considered a life-saving operation.” In 1991, the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) approved organ donations as permissible, and even required, from brain-dead patients. The reform movement looks upon the transplant program favorably. Rabbi Richard Address, Director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations Bio-Ethics Committee, stated that, “Judaic Responsa materials provide a positive approach and by and large the North American Reform Jewish community approves of transplantation.”
Rabbi Melanie Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash says, “It is a mitzvah, or commandment of Jewish law, to do what you can do save the life of another.” She’s speaking out in support of donation in her Los Gatos community and her congregation of more than 600 members.
“It is not merely permissible for a Jew to bequeath his organs for transplantation following his death, it is a mitzvah for him to do so, in order to save one life, or several lives.”
—Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin, Former Chair, Law Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel; President and Professor of Jewish Law, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem