Alan Abrams

I was Dr Mahajana’s patient. He, we all, deserve better.

Israel HaYom is not my favorite news source, but I was so glad as Dr. Ahmed Mahajana’s former patient to see in this report today that the doctor appears to have been cleared of the noxious charges that were made against him.

Others have commented about how this injustice at Hadassah Hospital is reflective of deeply troubling political developments in Israel, including in this HaAretz opinion piece “Ahmed Mahajana, ‘Everyone’s Doctor’” by a senior physician at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital). I’ll leave it to the doctors and the human rights activists to do that. I just wanted to add a patient’s perspective. And to say what a tragedy it would be for Israel if this fine doctor was blocked from practicing his profession to the best of his ability.

Dr. Mahajana’s specialty is in heart care. Thanks to the Blessed Holy One I do not need that kind of high level of care at this time, and he was treating me for something more minor. But, still, like many ill people, I experienced great fear in the course of my illness, a series of troubling leg infections. I asked him as he was about to leave, “is there any hope for this leg?”

He turned to me with this look and manner of great warmth and said, “תמיד יש תקווה” — there is always hope. In the course of my own years of work as a hospital chaplain, I’ve witnessed many such scenes where a patient asks such a tough question. Sometimes doctors become emotionally distant in these intense moments. Sometimes they offer false promises, that everything will be ok. This wasn’t either of those things. Rather, I understood it in the moment as a kind of spiritual response, a doctor offering me a moment of his genuine compassion, trying to help me maintain the spirit I needed to keep seeking a solution to my ills no matter how scary it was.

If I ever was a heart patient, facing something as profoundly frightening and risky as heart surgery, I would be very privileged if the doctor treating me was one with the self-assurance and compassion Dr. Mahajana demonstrated with me. I pray that this country will be blessed in the future for him to have the opportunity to treat many people facing such a situation. May it be the will of the Blessed Holy One that the leaders of this nation and of Hadassah Hospital should act with wisdom and with justice, in a way that will benefit not just Dr. Mahajana, but all of us.

About the Author
Alan Abrams is a spiritual care educator who made Aliyah in 2014. He and his wife live in Jerusalem with their two "sabra" children. Alan is the founder of HavLi and the HaKen Institute, spiritual care education and research centers based in Jerusalem. A rabbi, Alan received a PhD in May 2019 from NYU for his dissertation on the theology of pastoral care. He was a business journalist in his first career.
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