When is a doctor not a doctor? (This is not a one liner…)


entine book

By Jennifer Noparstak
Director of Campaign Affinities at The Associated

I came across a blog post on MyJewishLearning.com, in which a rabbi asks, “Is a rabbi a rabbi when on vacation?” It piqued my interest because the author compares himself to a doctor, in that, a doctor and a rabbi have “a job-related title that also connotes societal esteem, trust, and the product of extensive preparatory education.” Although this is not at all the point of the article, he goes on to say that a rabbi and doctor differ, as a rabbi’s job is inherently relational (the teacher/student relationship must exist), whereas a doctor’s job does not necessarily include relationships with others (i.e. doctors can work in labs without patients).

While it may be true that a doctor can do his or her job in a lab and offer expertise and medical advances without interacting with the consumer on the other end, I offer the notion that medicine is not practiced in a vacuum, without human interest at top of mind, and thus is, at its core, relational.

Relationships are also essential to community membership. And they are certainly at the center of the Baltimore Jewish community. Why should a group of Jewish doctors and other health care professionals get together on a Sunday morning (Sunday, March 23 at 10 a.m. at Beth El Congregation to be exact) for brunch? Maybe because of the lox and bagels? Maybe because of the exciting speaker and topic (Jon Entine, author of Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People and expert on Jewish genetics)? And maybe, most importantly, because someone they know asked them to be there – to be part of a community?

The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore exists to strengthen and nurture Jewish life in Baltimore, Israel and around the world, and does so by building relationships, creating a network – a community – of Jews (and non-Jews) who want to make the world a better place. The Associated brings together very busy people (read: health care professionals) who care about making a difference – professionally and personally.

So, if someone has not yet asked you to attend the upcoming brunch, I’m inviting you to be there. I’m asking you, a Jewish health care professional, to join me at a special event specifically for you – a person who makes a difference every day. I’d like to meet you, get to know you, and learn about how you view your role in our Jewish community. It’s up to you to decide if you’re a doctor while you’re “on vacation” – I promise I won’t ask you for your professional opinion or for a referral over a cup of coffee. Whatever you decide, I hope to meet you there.

The Associated’s Doctors’ Brunch will be held on Sunday, March 23 at 10:00 a.m. at Beth El Congregation. The cost to attend is $25 in advance/$30 at the door. Register online today at associated.org/docsbrunch. For more information, contact Jennifer at jnoparstak@associated.org.


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