Jay Feinberg Receives Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award at 72nd URJ North American Biennial

Last night, Gift of Life advisor Evie Goldfine – a recipient of a stem cell donation herself – accepted the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award on behalf of founder and CEO of Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, Jay Feinberg. The award is in memory of Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, the executive director and President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations from 1943 – 1973; this award is the highest honor bestowed by the Reform Movement. Jay shares this award with other luminaries such as Michael J. Fox, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Rabbi Richard Hirsch, and Abba Eban.

Few people embody more than Jay Feinberg the words of the Talmud: “Whoever saves a life has saved an entire world.” Gift of Life, which Jay continues to lead, has made more than 10,000 matches between donors and recipients in the past two decades. And no one knows better than Jay what it means to find those matches: in 1995, after searching for more than 4 years for a match to help treat his own leukemia, it was the very last person at the last donor drive who was his match and his lifesaver. Along the way, he inspired more than 55,000 people to get tested and enter the marrow registry.

In her speech, Evie read Jay’s words, thanking his mother, who is the real founder of Gift of Life. When Jay was sick and had no match, she would not take “no” for an answer. She worked tirelessly to begin the grassroots movement to add more Jews – and more diversity –  into the bone marrow registry to save her son. His mother is in the last days of her life now, and it was her illness that prevented Jay from accepting this honor in person.

Thanks to Jay and Gift of Life, we are helping save the world, one cheek swab at a time.

To get involved, visit our partnership page to learn more about our Yom Kippur, Martin Luther King, and B’nai Mitzvah initiatives or get in touch with me at the RAC!

Finally, if you missed the award last night, you can catch it online!

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Veronica Grant

About Veronica Grant

Veronica Grant is the Program Coordinator for the URJ partner, the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, and formally Nothing But Nets. She is from Asheville, NC and graduated from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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