Faith Communities Focus on Life-Affirming Gifts During National Donor Sabbath Weekend, November 14-16

NJ Sharing Network Providing Support for Faith Leaders Learning More about Organ and Tissue Donation

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – November 12, 2014  — Faith leaders from synagogues, temples, churches, mosques and other houses of worship will focus on the life-affirming gifts of organ and tissue donation on National Donor Sabbath, celebrated each year to support spiritual leaders learning more about organ and tissue donation and spreading the life-saving message.

During Donor Sabbath, November 14-16, many faith-based leaders will organize programs to educate members of their faith communities and share the stories of recipients and donor families — as well as those of people waiting for life-saving organs.

“During Donor Sabbath, we all share in the conversation and spread the life-saving message,” said Joaquin Arisso, Manager of Family Services for NJ Sharing Network. “Nearly every religion supports organ donation, and sees donation as a selfless act of compassion and generosity. During Door Sabbath we are able to break down religious walls and talk about donation.”

Arisso, who in addition to his work at NJ Sharing Network is the lead pastor of a non-denominational Christian church in Elizabeth, has organized Donor Sabbath events that have brought together Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Buddhists and others to talk about organ donation.

National Donor Sabbath provides an opportunity for faith leaders to learn more about organ donation, especially since many people turn to their faith leaders with questions about life and death issues. 

At a recent event that NJ Sharing Network organized with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital — Hamilton, some faith-based leaders learned that organ and tissue donation does not interfere with burial plans, or with plans for a viewing. They also learned the criteria for brain death, and shared stories of how donor families suffering from loss often find solace in their decision to help others.

“So often in our world we focus on what makes our faith communities different from one other. A wonderful element of National Donor Sabbath is that people from all major faiths come together to focus on what we all share: a deep regard for human life,” said Joe Roth, President  & CEO, NJ Sharing Network.

“We encourage faith leaders to start a conversation about organ and tissue donation during National Donor Sabbath — and we remind them that NJ Sharing Network always is here to support that conversation,” he said.

National Donor Sabbath is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Resources and Services Administration, together with national, state, and local donation organizations, faith communities and health care providers.