Just What The Doctor Ordered

Being Jewish and a medical professional is an ancient tradition. This year we welcome the reactivation of the Doctors Division of the Jewish Federation of Howard County, the Maimonides Society.

With just under 18,000 Jewish residents in 7,500 households, Howard County is consistently recognized as a wonderful place to live, boasting excellent schools, religious and cultural tolerance and diversity. With many medical professionals living and practicing in Howard County, we hope to nurture the culture of involvement and giving through our Maimonides Society.

The Maimonides Society is a national society linking medical professionals to the spirit of Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, perhaps the most famous Jewish doctor, who lived in the 12th century. His life combined Torah learning with the demands of a career as a physician, as well as with the demands of daily life as a Jew. He was world renowned for his knowledge and his practice of medicine.

Maimonides’ major contribution to Jewish life remains the Mishnah Torah, his code of Jewish law. This provides a guide for Jewish behavior in all situations, including tzedakah. It is with this perspective that the Jewish Federation has formed the Maimonides Society, illustrating that healing is not just a career, but also a core Jewish value.

As Jewish health-care professionals, the members of this group are dedicated to educational, social and philanthropic activities that focus on the betterment of Jews in Howard County, Israel and around the world.

The Maimonides Division provides a unique opportunity for collegial socializing and networking, and it integrates medical and Jewish concerns to demonstrate the unique contributions that health professions can make in support of the Jewish community. Programs will feature an array of diverse speakers in specialties, such as medicine, bioterrorism, ethics and the changing health-care environment.

All medical professionals will be invited to join the Maimonides Society with an inaugural meeting early in 2014. Our local hospital, Howard County General Hospital, will be sponsoring the division this year, and we are thrilled to have it as our partner in this endeavor. Membership to Maimonides will be included for a donation of $150 a month ($1,800 a year) to the Jewish Federation of Howard County’s annual campaign. This year’s annual campaign encourages “stepping up” and increasing existing donations as well as increasing the number of first-time donations. We have a goal of 1,018 donors by June 30, 2014. Contributions will support the federation”s existing programs, social services, scholarships and overseas needs and offer opportunity for greater community growth and innovation.

In the spirit of Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, who combined Torah learning with the demands of his profession as a physician and his devotion to community, we look forward to a year of rededication of the Maimonides Society of Howard County.

Dr. Jerry I. Levine is vice president and medical director of Maryland Primary Care Physicians and chair of  Maimonides Society in Howard County. For more information about Maimonides, contact Michelle Ostroff at mostroff@JewishHowardCounty.org.

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