Organ Donor Awareness

At Tani’s death in 2002, the Goodman Family together made the critical decision to donate his organs for transplant. This decision gave the gift of life to 4 individuals and the gift of sight to 2 others. The family also became active in organ donor awareness. 

The President’s House Reception for Donor Families
A reception was held honoring the participant families of those who gave and received the gift of life at the President’s house in July, 2002. Jerry Goodman was chosen to represent the donor families.
Jerry’s Speech

“The Tani Way” Campaign
This 5 year campaign was made possible by Keren Keshet (Rainbow Fund) which provided $375,000 to the Israel Transplant Authority in memory of Tani. Its goal is to raise awareness in Israel and abroad of the importance of organ donation. Tani’s name means “gift”; he gave the gift of life to four others and the gift of sight to two.

Evenings dedicated to Organ Donor Awareness in Halifax, NovaScotia and Jerusalem, for Tani’s birthday, Nov. 20th, 2003.
Yael Goodman held an evening to honor her youngest brother Tani by holding an evening of awareness of the importance of organ donation. This event was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and included discussion about the need for more awareness of this difficult problem.
Yael and the Conter family honored both Tani and Yoni Jessner, another remarkable young man whose family also donated his organs to save lives.
Yael’s remarks

An evening on organ donor awareness was held at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem on Nov. 20, 2002, Tani’s 18th birthday. Robby Berman, Chairman of HODS, Halachic Organ Donor Society of the United States spoke about the issues involved in organ donation. Dvorah Goodman, Tani Goodman’s oldest sister and Dvorah Lilian, niece of Yael Lilian, one of Tani’s recipients, spoke about the meaning of organ donation and its impact on the lives of both families.

“Giving life to others: Tani’s gift”

“Accident Victim’s Organs Saves Four”, Jerusalem Post, February 12, 2002

“The Last Mitzvah of Your Life” by Robby Berman, Jerusalem Post, March 24, 2002

“The Answer My Friend” by Miriam Lock, Life In Israel, February, 2002

“Marathon Man Runs for His Life–Its Never Too Late to Turn Things Around” Jerusalem Post August 3, 2005

The Goodman Family Story (Video)

Orthodox Jews Donating Organs (Video)

Speech given by Jerry Goodman

translated from Hebrew,
The President’s House, Jerusalem, Israel,
July 2002

The Gift of Giving –Continuing the Tani Way”

In the name of the donors, I thank you Mr. President, for making this day possible. Speaking on behalf of my wife, Maggie and my children Dvorah, Micah, Yael and Avichai, we praise your awareness and in allowing us to sanctify the name of our late son Tani, z’l as well as the names of all the others whose families, in pain but in understanding, donated the organs of their loved ones.

Mr. President, the great pain of giving is also the great joy of giving. How strange, how ironic, that the last Mitzvah of your life is the greatest of them all. Each one of us here knows that in our sorrow, happiness was born: that our darkest moment was also our brightest moment. For my family it was clear. Tani was brain dead and no one has ever come back to life after being brain dead. Thus the doctors told us: and with this devastating news we were helped to know that in Tani’s death others could live and could see. We all understood, all six of us, we had no qualms, no hesitation. We knew that in Tani’s death that others would live and see and we also knew that if we were to wait for the impossible dream– there would be nothing to give and nothing to receive. Today, 6 months, later. We as a family share the same feeling. Thank G-d we gave, thank G-d that we received both the guidance and follow up from HaEmek Hospital in Afula. How could we ever have forgiven ourselves if we allowed his body to go the way of his brain without having shared? How would we have felt to know that rather than save lives we selfishly allowed him to go to dust?

Now all of have also learned how important it is to educate our nation with an awareness about Organ Transplantation. Too many people have died, too many people are waiting. Mr. President, we must use this occasion of your kind welcome to beseech you in the name of the givers. Help educate others to know and understand so that if that such an unfortunate and painful event shall occur to them, that they like those who sit here today can let their beloved one do the Ultimate Mitzvah and save the lives and Souls of our Nation no matter what their religion, their color, or their creed. Under G-d we all share the same blood, and it
was therefore very meaningful to me and my family that the recipients of my Tani’s organs were Arabs and Jews, Religious and Non-religious men and women–all equal in the eyes of G-d, all given the gift of life from the pain of death.

Therefore, Mr. President and fellow donor families, let me end by saying again that in all of our pain, we are grateful for your recognition and honor and bless you, the doctors, the nurses, and the great hospitals of our country for having led us in the true way of the brave and bestowed upon us the gift of the giving.

Thank you.

Remarks by Yael Goodman

Halifax, November 26, 2005

The Gift of LifeYoni Jesner family relative of Howard and Karen Conter
and Netanel Goodman, brother of Yael Goodman. Both donated their organs for transplantation, a brave act that saved numerous lives.
This evening will be dedicated to the topic of
from the medical & halachic point of view.Keynote speaker:
Dr. Phil Belitsky, Director of Transplantation services.Tuesday, November 26th 8:00pm at the Shaar Shalom Synagogue, Halifax.

Yael’s remarks:
On Feb 7th 2002, my youngest brother Tani died from his injuries. We decided as a family to donate his organs to save the lives of others. We enterd a new family, the family of donors. This subject never crossed our minds until we had to deal with it ourselves. We only realized the importance of the subject due to our personal tragedy.When Tani’s Birthday was coming up, I was agonized by the fact that I wouldn’t be with my family on this painful day. I was thinking of a gift to give Tani and the idea for this program came up. The ultimate gift I could give Tani, is the gift of life, by educating about the importance of Organ Donation to others. Knowing that his organs are living in others keeps him more alive, by dedicating this evening to him keeps his spirit alive– his spirit of giving makes it possible to keep his name and spirit alive.

As I was thinking about how to proceed with the planning of this program, I was in Shul, and heard the terrible news about Yoni Jessner, family member of Karen & Howard Conter. He was killed in a bombing attack in Tel- Aviv. His family also decided to donate his organs. It struck me that Both Yoni and Tani were young, charismatic, shared the love and passion for Israel, and to their Jewish lives. When I told my Mom that Yoni was a family member of someone in the community, she told me that Yoni is buried next to my brother. I called Karen Conter and told her about this evening. She was interested and helped plan this evening in memory of her loved one. This evening is dedicated to both of these younger men, who in the darkest moments, created light for others.Jonathan, Yoni Jesner
Yoni had headed the religious Zionist youth movement Bnei Akiva in Scotland, organized youth services at his synagogue and helped out in the Glasgow Kollel and Hevra Kadisha, said Ari.”Yoni was a big doer. Just being a schoolboy was never enough for him, he always took on way too much more than any normal person could handle. None of us could ever understand how he ever had time for his school work, but he was a straight-A student.”During his high school years in Glasgow, Yoni became a leader of Jewish youth activities and visited Israel regularly. After graduating, he lived and studied for a year at a religious school in a West Bank settlement, Alon Shvut. Passionately absorbed in his studies, he had planned to extend his stay at the school for another year before going to London to study medicine, relatives said. During a break in his studies for the Jewish festival of Sukkot, Yoni Jesner went to Tel Aviv to visit an uncle. The suicide bomber struck the bus he was on, critically injuring him, and he died the next day. His family, which is religiously observant, decided to donate his organs after agonizing deliberations with doctors and a rabbi, and without prior knowledge of the recipients, relatives said. Two Jewish patients, both adults, also received organs. “We began thinking that Yoni is going into the ground and his soul is up there in heaven, and we realized that at this very moment we could save other people’s lives,” said his father, Joseph Jesner, who lives in Jerusalem. “We felt that Yoni would have wanted to help. I suppose we were extending our hands.” The family had chosen to bury Yoni in Israel because of his love for the country. Yoni had viewed terrorism in “the way that normal Israelis do. He saw it as something you can’t run away from – you can’t run away from home.”Yoni had been the one to push his siblings to visit their late grandfather every Shabbat. “Even though he was younger than us, he was always showing us the right thing to do. He did more good in his 20 years than I will probably do in my whole life,” said Jared his older brother.Tani Tani was born in Jerusalem and loved the city with all of his heart. Watching him mature and become the man he was, was fascinating. I always got tired when I would ask my mom “where’s Tani today?” She would give out the list of all the things Tani was doing. Like Yoni, Tani was active in the youth movement called the religious “ztofim” the scouts. He was a Madreech, and was the head of a new movement of the scouts in a small area near Jerusalem helping them build and grow. He was a Bronfman Fellow, a program for young leadership including Jewish High school students from all around Israel and North America. Last Hanukah he was in New York together with all the Bronfman Fellows from all around North America. Tani studied in Hartman High school in Jerusalem, he was an A student and was known by his friends as the greatest study mate. He would help his friends learn for an exam, and by doing that he would go over the material himself. He always said that was the best way to study. If Tani knew someone was upset or depressed he would go out of his way to make them feel better, he had time for everything and everyone. When Tani decided to do something it was done. His gift of giving to others, his passion for Israel, his Judaism struck me as something that usually comes at a later age. When you’re 17, all you want to do is look for girls and play basketball. Tani did that too, but his deep realizations of life, his profound dedication to charity, Torah studies, the Bronfman Fellowship and his youth movement was something I admired about him. It taught me that if you put your mind to something it could be done, and that there is always a time and a place to give.Tani, I put my mind to this, and I would like to give everyone the opportunity to give. Happy Birthday.

Accident Victim’s Organs Save Four
By Judy Siegel

JERUSALEM (February 12) – A Jerusalem family has turned its personal tragedy – the death of Netanel Goodman, 17, in an accident – into life for four people who have received his organs and sight for two more who will get his corneas.
Goodman, a “student of the year” at the Shalom Hartman Institute high school, a scout leader, and a Bronfman Fellow, died last week in Ha’emek Hospital in Afula. He suffered brain death after an
accident at Ma’aleh Gilboa, whose army preparatory school he was considering after graduation.
“He and friends finished the admissions test early. While waiting for a ride home, he and other boys ran toward the electric gates; Netanel got caught between them…He made a little mistake of
judgment,” said his father Jerry, who with his wife Maggie moved here “by chance” in 1970 – he from Massachusetts and she from Oklahoma – despite a non-religious and non-Zionist background.
Jerry runs a metal business in Mishor Adumim, while Maggie teaches English at the Hebrew University High School in Jerusalem and as a volunteer with Hillel, a parents’ organization for youngsters with mild learning disabilities. The two, who live in the capital’s German Colony, have four other children, Netanel was the youngest. “We all realized at the hospital he was going to die,” Jerry told The Jerusalem Post. “Every one in our family independently came to the conclusion that Netanel would have wanted to donate his organs,
and we approached the doctors and transplant coordinator even before they asked us.”
Netanel’s heart has saved the life of a Tel Aviv man, 56; the liver went to a Jerusalem woman, 63;
and the kidneys to two teenagers. All recipients are doing well.
“I would have liked for more of his organs to be taken, but it was not possible,” Jerry said, adding he would like to meet the recipients if they agree.
More than 1,000 people made shiva calls at the Goodman home during a single day, including Prof. Jonathan Halevy, a neighbor who is director of Israel Transplant and director-general of Shaare Zedek Hospital.
“My three brothers came from the US,” Jerry said. “Two of them hadn’t been to Israel for 32 years,
not because they couldn’t afford it but because Israel wasn’t in their lives. It’s the first time all of us
are together in Israel in three decades.”
Tamar Ashkenazi, coordinator of Israel Transplant, said that 24 organs were donated in the past month, with a record number in just the past week. In all of last year, a relatively bad year for organ donation, 301 organs were donated; just 45% of families asked to donate their loved one’s organs.
She said families of seven people consented to give organs in the past few weeks after a consciousness-raising campaign and the establishment of donor registration stands in all hospitals. These stands, said Ashkenazi, will continue and also be instituted in Superpharm branches.

‘Marathon man’ runs for his life. It’s never too late to turn things around

Jerusalem Post


‘Marathon man’ runs for his life. It’s never too late to turn things around

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 — Jerry Goodman is a firm believer that it’s never too late to turn things around. Seven years ago, at the age of 51, he was smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and was some 20 kilograms overweight.

You wouldn’t expect a man like that to be running marathons.

But Goodman, a Jerusalem resident who made aliya from the US 35 years ago, started on a quest to improve his physical fitness, dropped the cigarettes and the weight, worked himself into shape and even raced in the half- marathon around Ashdod in last month’s Maccabiah. Although he didn’t win, Goodman may well have been the runner most satisfied with his results, given the long road he traveled to ultimately get to the finish line.

Two days after Yom Kippur, in 1997, that Goodman felt chest pains and thought he was having a heart attack. Not wanting anyone to know, he took a taxi to the emergency room. Goodman recalls the doctor who treated him showed him the x-rays of his smoke-filled lungs “and said to me: ‘You’re going to die of a heart attack long before you’ll get lung cancer.'” Although the doctor warned Goodman about his heart condition, Goodman decided smoking was causing too much damage and hasn’t had another cigarette since.

Once Goodman had taken on the grueling task of quitting his smoking addiction, he still had to tackle his weight issue. On a family trip to the Grand Canyon in July of 1998 Goodman said he walked down a mountain trail, but could barely walk back up.

“I tried playing tennis that summer,” he said, “and realized I was in terrible shape. I was 51, overweight, and getting old.”

With his typical zeal Goodman made the decision to start exercising. He called it “a life decision.”

The next morning at 4 a.m. he started to exercise by walking. At first, he said, his family was unaware of his new lifestyle, only realizing he was working out when he brought home a treadmill and started running on it.

“I was on it for an hour and my wife kept coming to look at me because she was so amazed,” said Goodman.

Eventually he was able to run down hills. Now, at the age of 58, Goodman runs for 90 minutes, four to five times a week, and tops it off with 160 push-ups and 600 crunches everyday.

In January 1999 – having lost 20 kg. – Goodman ran his first race, the Tiberias Marathon, completing all 12 kilometers and relishing the accomplishment. Four months later he ran the Jerusalem Marathon and running had become a major part of his persona.

And now, Goodman recalls last month’s Maccabiah half- marathon with excitement and in detail. He said he was in last place for the first 10 kilometers of the race but kept pushing.

“After 10 kilometers I passed someone, then after 12 kilometers I passed a nice young lady who was doing her utmost to stay in the race.”

He said it was a great feeling running alone through the streets of Ashdod with the crowd cheering him on. Goodman finished in 420th place – out of 423 – in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 50 minutes and 41 seconds. While the performance is unlikely to land him in the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, all he cared about was actually being able to finish the 21.1-kilometer run. He was overjoyed with the result saying the race “was a culmination of seven years of work.”

Exercise has also helped Goodman through some very strenuous times. In February 2002, his son Tani died in a tragic accident.

“When I lost my son I found that sweat [from working out] and tears was a good combination.” He said the morning runs in the period after Tani’s death were “a time of reflecting, mourning, and it was an outlet for the pain.”

Goodman sings the praises of running and exercise.

“I love it. Running is a great time for thinking, praying, singing and clearing your mind. I have hardly ever been sick since [I started]. It drives me to keep running.

“I found that running takes away the stress. I was never tired anymore. I started to take on new work projects.”

Goodman has even became a motivator for family and friends.

“I was a bad example because I smoked and how I ate. Now I spend my time encouraging people to improve their quality of life,” said Goodman.

When asked what message he would give middle-aged people who want to get fit he said, “It’s never too late to start. Every exercise you do benefits you and adds to quality of life. Never say you’re too old. Before I ran, I felt like I was 65, now I feel like I’m 40,” he said.

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