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2008-12-19
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Religion Precludes Aid

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As I write, a fairly massive snowstorm is descending upon the East Coast and has already turned New Jersey roads into a slippery mix of ice and snow. Listening to my BCT-396 radio scanner, there has been call after call after call over the fire, police and EMS channels dispatching fire trucks and emergency vehicles for crashes, wrecks and various weather related injuries. As it is only noon now, the volume is expected to increase dramatically as the evening approaches and workers begin returning from New York City. In preparation for the forthcoming emergency demands, the local ambulance corps has been calling through its phone directory finding members available to assist tonight. A large number of orthodox Jewish members, however, are completely unavailable to assist others as candlelight time is 4:13pm. Is there a sense of irony that honoring the Sabbath precludes a Jewish EMT from coming to the aid of others in a time of need? Although this particular example identified a situation where following the Jewish faith prevents helping others, but many religions have precepts that would interfere with different sorts of help.


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