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Lifting of Blood Donation Ban: A Celebration of Giving

Posted by Janice Kaye on 3rd Feb 2023

""Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire."

It's been almost 25 years since I last gave blood. I moved to Israel in the early 1990’s and in 1999 people who had lived in Britain during the 1980’s were banned from giving blood in Israel and in many other places in the world. This was due to concerns about the risk of transmitting diseases such as Mad Cow Disease (BSE). In total 177 people in Britain had contracted this terrible disease, and it was thought that it could be contracted through infected blood in a transfusion. It is a particularly nasty disease that affects the nervous system, and it was feared that it could be transmitted through blood transfusions.

Recent research has shown that the risk is now considered to be negligible, and Israel, like many other places in the world, lifted the ban. In the last couple of weeks people who have spent time in the UK in the 1980’s were again allowed to give blood.

This evening I attended a reception at Recently, the ban was lifted, and a reception was jointly hosted by the British embassy and Magen David Adom, to celebrate this momentous occasion and where those of us who met the strict criteria for donating, donated blood. It was explained to us that each donation is divided into 3 parts, and can help save 3 lives. I am delighted that after so many years, being unable to donate I was finally able to do so again, and that my donation will be able to make a difference in the lives of others.

Donating blood is considered to be a mitzvah, a commandment in Jewish tradition, and is considered to be a form of charity. The Rambam, a famous Jewish philosopher and physician, taught that the highest level of charity is to help sustain someone's life by providing them with food, clothing, and medical care. Blood donation, is considered to fall under this category.

In conclusion, the lifting of the blood ban is a reason to celebrate, not just because it allows people to give blood and make a difference, but also because it is a fulfillment of a mitzvah and embodies the spirit of charity. Let us all take this opportunity to give blood and make a positive impact in our communities.