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Board of Directors
Michael Bloom
Jeff Goldstein
Robert Grant
Janice Halpern
Stephen Halpern
Leon Kadish
Fred Parker
Kusiel Perlman
Steve Samuel
Frank Sommers
Charles Weingarten
Larry Weiss

Honorary Board
Irwin Cotler
Leslie Dan
Bernard Goldman
Barbara Kay
Robert Lantos
Mary Seeman
Imam Mohamad Tawhidi
The proverbial dog days of summer are upon us, but what in some years amounts to a slow news season DARA has instead brought a slew of important items to pass along.

Included in this edition of the DARA newsletter are a disciplinary update on an anti-Semitic doctor, new research on the long-term health of Holocaust survivors and a reminder that health care in Israel presents encouraging opportunities for Jewish-Arab coexistence.

You may notice a list of the DARA board of directors and honorary board on the left. Please do check out the full list of DARA leaders.

Israeli health care: A model of integration

Like all countries, Israel faces its share of internal divisions: turf battles between religious and secular Jews, integration challenges among Ethiopian Jews and the place of Israel's Arab population in Israeli society.

It is this last piece that often receives top billing by critics of Israel. Eager to paint Israeli society with the same wide brush used to lambaste Israel's policies in the West Bank, these critics cherry-pick the items where Israel's Arab residents sometimes struggle.

One area they conveniently ignore: Israel's health care system.

Two recent stories showcase the professional success - and integration - of Israel's Arab population in the country's health care ranks. 

In one, which we posted on our Facebook page last week, Dr. Shaden Salameh  became the first female Arab head of an Israeli emergency room. Salameh, who works at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, recently described her long road to trailblazer status.

"They told me you have no chance because you come from a small village; you know it’s very difficult, [the] Hebrew… Even before I was accepted to the medical school here, they told me I had no chance to be accepted. You know there are a lot of challenges over there – a lot of other students who want to be accepted and your chances are very low. But ... the greater the challenge, the greater I’m motivated. I love challenges… I look at the threats, or at the challenges or the barriers or the obstacles, as an opportunity."

Salameh's story is a universal one, the kind of experience that resonates with young minority doctors around the world. It also offers insight and inspiration on the opportunities for Israeli Arabs.

A second item comes courtesy of a Muslim paramedic named Muawiya Kabha. In 2009, he saved the life of a young Jewish girl, Shachar Kugelmas. She was trapped in a car after it had crashed.

Fast-forward to July 2019. The little girl is now a young woman and preparing for her wedding day. Leading up to the wedding, her father reached out to Kabha, who attended the wedding and shared how he saved the bride's life 10 years ago. (See the video here.)

“People ask me all the time, ‘How do you keep going after all the death you see in your work?’, he said. "The answer is here. Shachar, I am able to continue my work because of you. Because I saved your body, but you saved my soul.”

Anti-Semitic doctor to be disciplined

You may remember Lara Kollab. The 27-year-old Ohio doctor published anti-Semitic social posts from 2011 to 2017, as first reported by the Canary Mission website in November. One floated the idea of giving her Jewish patients "the wrong meds."

Now Kollab will face discipline from the State Medical Board of Ohio - potentially extending to a permanent suspension.

"“Although you asserted in your June 2019 deposition that you now feel ashamed of your discriminatory comments, when asked if your tweets reflect good moral character, you admitted that they do not,” wrote Dr. Kim G. Rosenthal, secretary of the medical board, to Kollab. “Further, for any violations that occurred on or after September 29, 2015, the board may impose a civil penalty in an amount that shall not exceed $20,000.”

We will keep you updated on further developments in this case.

New research shows next-generation health impact of Holocaust

Holocaust survivors can experience long-term damage to their brain structures that is also passed on to their children and grandchildren, says new research.

“After more than 70 years, the impact of surviving the Holocaust on brain function is significant,” said Professor Ivan Rektor, a neurologist from Brno, Czech Republic involved with the study.

“We revealed substantial differences in the brain structures involved in the processing of emotion, memory and social cognition, in higher level of stress but also of post-traumatic growth between Holocaust survivors and controls. Early results show this is also the case in children of survivors too.”

The research, carried out by the European Academy of Neurology, advances the field of epigenetics — which studies whether trauma-induced DNA methylation modifications can be passed from traumatized individuals to subsequent generations.

Rektor hopes that “our findings and our ongoing research will allow us to understand more about the effect of these experiences in order to focus therapy to support survivors’ and their descendants’ resilience and growth.”

In addition, he said: “We may also reveal strategies that Holocaust survivors used to cope with trauma during their later lives and to pass on their experience to further generations.”

Announcing: DARA AGM 2019

We are excited to present our 2019 Annual General Meeting!

Wednesday, Oct. 23
6:30 - 9:00 PM


Adath Israel Synagogue
37 Southbourne Ave.
Toronto, Ontario

Topic: Order Out of Chaos – Emergency Care in Canada, the US and Israel

Guest speakers
: three experts in trauma medicine 



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