A Perfect Match: HUC-JIR Rabbinical Alumnus saves life through bone marrow donation

Monday, January 1, 2007

Boca Raton News
Published Monday, December 25, 2006
By Dale M. King
 

It was a moment when joy was inevitable. 

It was a moment for flowers and hugs and swells of emotion. 

The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation of Boca Raton - an organization that locates marrow donors - brought Rabbi Daniel Treiser, of Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation - together with Katherine Sullivan of Cherry Valley, N.Y. 

His donation of blood stem cells two years ago - facilitated by the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation - saved the life of the 63-year-old woman who was suffering from leukemia. 

"The transplant was her only hope of survival," said Jody Greenspon, marketing and communications manager for Gift of Life. 

"When I heard I was a match, I was shocked, ecstatic and excited -- all at the same time," the rabbi said. "How many people have the chance to be a part of something so important and so special?" 

"One of the greatest mitzvot we learn in Judaism, the one that supercedes all others, is that of pikuach nefesh, saving a life," the rabbi said. "I am just so thrilled to know that, two years later, this stranger who I was able to help is doing so well. I couldn't wait to finally meet her." 

Rabbi Treiser joined Gift of Life's Registry of donors in the spring of 2002, when a family member brought testing kits to his Passover Seder. A simple cheek swab was all it took to add him to the Registry that is available worldwide to transplant centers searching for matches on behalf of their patients. 

Less than two years later, Rabbi Treiser learned he was a match for someone in desperate need of a transplant. Without hesitation, he donated his blood stem cells, which were delivered to the patient out of state, Greenspon said. 

Rabbi Treiser was ordained by the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in June 2000. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., he came to Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El just after ordination. He is the immediate past president of the Broward County Board of Rabbis. 

He met Sullivan at Benvenuto's Restaurant in Boynton Beach. 

Headquartered in Boca Raton, Gift of Life facilitates bone marrow, blood stem cell and umbilical cord blood transplants for children and adults suffering from life-threatening illnesses around the world. Its services include transplant coordination, donor recruitment, patient advocacy and public education. 

Through targeted recruitment in Jewish communities throughout North America, Gift of Life strives to overcome the loss of bloodlines following the Holocaust, a consequence that has made the search for genetically matched donors particularly difficult for Jewish patients. 


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu