Barbara Sofer

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Barbara Sofer

Award-winning writer and lecturer Barbara Sofer grew up in a small town in Connecticut, and moved to Israel in 1971. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her articles -taking on a wide range of subjects from ethnic cooking to terrorism--have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Parents, Readers' Digest, Woman's Day, Hadassah Magazine and Inside Magazine among many others. She writes a bi-weekly column for the Friday Jerusalem Post.

Barbara has written five books and contributed to several others


Jerusalem Post

The Human Spirit: When the doctor won’t treat Jews  

By Barbara Sofer

We’re all frustrated that certain stories never make it to world media. But in this case I understand. I’ve also been in the position of not exposing patients from Gaza to eager reporters, lest they face retribution when they go home. Perhaps it’s because I spend a lot of time serving as a liaison to the foreign press at Hadassah University Medical Center that I was so upset about the account of the doctor in Belgium who refused to care for a Jewish patient.

The story, reported in this paper, goes like this: One night last week, at around 11 p.m., a man named Hershy Taffel phoned the emergency hotline in Flanders, the Flemish region of Belgium, for help. His grandmother, Bertha Klein, 90, was in terrible pain. “I’m not coming,” answered the doctor, and hung up on him. When the shocked Taffel called back, the doctor answered thus: “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she’ll get rid of the pain.”

The story broke in Joods Actueel, the local Dutch Jewish monthly. And it turns out that this wasn’t the only anti- Jewish incident of the week in Belgium.

In Antwerp, home of the country’s largest Jewish community, a store owner refused to sell clothing to a Jewish customer, “or any other Jews.” In a cafe near Liege, a sign in Turkish and French said dogs were allowed, but not Jews and Zionists.

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