Rabbi With Brain Cancer Has A Healthcare Message For Washington

By Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

The video begins simply enough.  A name – Rachel Cowan. An age – 76.  A location – New York City.  An occupation – Rabbi and teacher.   A family – parent and grandparent.  And then she says it: “In February I was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, the worst form of brain cancer.”

Rabbi Rachel Cowan is one of America’s beloved rabbis.  She, along with a small group of other women, created the Jewish Healing movement that brought Jewish values and spirituality to those who had suffered loss, were sick or dying.  As the first program officer of the Jewish Life and Values Program of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, she helped transform Jewish communities and build a new commitment to social justice, contemplative practices and peace. Rabbi Cowan is the author of Wise Aging and a former director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.

Now, as she is faced with her own struggle with cancer,  Rabbi Cowan wants to help leaders in Washington understand the human implications of the healthcare policy fights.  

In the video Rabbi Cowan shares that she has received excellent care and been made comfortable through her Medicare benefits.  However, when she was in the hospital recently, receiving another series of treatments, she woke in the night and thought:

“Oh my goodness. There are people who want to take this away. I, along with 300,000 other people who suffer with this disease, will die without it.”  

Rabbi Cowan wrote:

“I hope the viewer will identify with all of us in this situation and will find an action to make our healthcare system even more, rather than less, humane and caring.”   

She ends the video with a plea to officials in Washington who have the power to shape healthcare policy:

“Our lives are in your hands.”  

Please watch the video above and share widely.   Health care is about humans.  And it is a right.

Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush is Senior Vice President at Auburn and Editor of Voices.

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