Blood libel

Blood libel

Lev Malka claims, with good reason, to be the third largest blood donor in Israel – since 1992, it has donated more than 21,000 pints of blood to Magen David Adom alone. The essentially charedi-linked organization “run[s] blood drives on a regular basis, [and] maintain[s] a database of potential donors for thrombocytes and bone marrow,” according to its literature, which accurately describes its role. Lev Malka distributes the blood it collects “to those who need it for surgery etc. free of charge,” regardless of who they are, or what they believe.

Recently, Lev Malka hosted an event to mark the publication of a new book providing halachic guidelines for the rigidly religious blood donor. The compendium was edited by Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Goldmintz in the style of so many works of Jewish law – as a series of questions and answers.

The book is now an Internet sensation, thanks to the Hebrew language daily newspaper Yediot Achronot. According to an article by one Moshe Heller, the “answers” Goldmintz provides include these: Unless their lives are definitely at risk, religious Jews may not accept blood donated by non-religious Jews who eat non-kosher foods, or blood donated by non-Jews; religious men may not accept blood donated by women, and certainly not single women; and synagogues are forbidden to conduct blood drives on their premises.

Stuff and nonsense!

We do not know whether Heller ever read the book, and we have not seen a copy. We do, however, believe Lev Malka when it calls Heller’s article and its subsequent Internet iterations a “total fabrication.”

“Do you think the recipient of blood, or a heart, kidney, or other transplant, has to check where it came from?” Lev Malka asked in a statement. “This is basic pikuach nefesh” – saving a life, which trumps 99.9 percent of Jewish law – “and there are no discussions about this by any reputable rabbi.”