DNA Info reports: The head of a Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish group that cares for people with special needs has gone to court to prevent one of his clients from being taken off life support, claiming the act goes against the woman’s religious faith.
Eileen Beth Kramer, 60, is currently on life support at Maimonides Medical Center but her legal guardian, her brother, is considering removing her from a ventilator, court papers say.
Samuel Kahn, the head of the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, claims in a legal petition challenging the brother’s decision that Kramer is an Orthodox Jewish woman – and removing her from life support is a slight against her beliefs.
“If such action were to be taken, it would constitute a violation of the very same Orthodox Jewish tradition that Ms. Kramer has lived for so long,” the petition says.
“It is particularly shocking that such a decision would be made on the eve of the Jewish High Holiday Season. Just mere days prior to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest days on the Jewish Calendar.”
HASC has cared for Kramer in one of its group homes for the past 40 years until she recently became sick, according to the petition.
During that time, she “has been living as an Orthodox Jewish woman for many years,” the petition says. She keeps a kosher diet, observes the Shabbat and celebrates and partakes in Jewish holidays and rituals, the petition says.
However, Kramer’s brother, Howard Kramer, told DNAinfo New York that HASC shouldn’t have a say in the decision. He also said that his sister, who has a developmental disability, wasn’t religious – and neither is he or their parents.
“She doesn’t have the intellectual capability [to understand religion],” Howard Kramer said. “She lived [at HASC], she followed their rules, but she couldn’t have held deeply religious beliefs because of her disability. She doesn’t have any concept of what religion is.”
An emergency hearing was held in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Tuesday before Judge Larry Martin. The judge has issued a temporary restraining order on removing the ventilator, but he has withheld decision, according to both HASC and Howard Kramer.
Howard Kramer, who lives in Denver but has been in New York for the hearing, said that he expects a decision in a few days.
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