Rabbi Cherlow: Removing Alta Fixsler from life support was wrong

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, director of the Tzohar Center for Jewish Ethics comments in an interview by Arutz Sheva reporter regarding the Alta Fixsler tragedy.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The Fixsler Family
The Fixsler Family
Courtesy

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, director of the Tzohar Center for Jewish Ethics, reacted to the death of two-year-old Alta Fixsler in Britain yesterday, calling the decision to remove the toddler from her life-support "wrong."

"Taking Alta Fixsler off life support was wrong - she had not crossed the line" where nothing more could be done for her, Rabbi Cherlow told Arutz Sheva.

"There is a fine line - all measures must be taken to preserve a life, but when that line is crossed the Halacha (Jewish law) demands we let the person die quietly and with dignity." the Rabbi said.

"It is personal to each situation. That is why Organizations like Tzohar exist so that people can ask about their specific situation, but with Alta Fixsler what was done was wrong. She was not yet over that line."

According to the rabbi, Israel should get involved in such cases for two reasons. "Israel is an ethical state, and therefore should be interested in every ethical issue. We also have a responsibility toward Jews in the State and in the world. I think that the final decision was wrong, but I want to be careful here as I am not familiar with all the laws and customs between Israel and the UK."

Tzohar recently launched its “Tzohar Through 120” program which provides support for individuals and families confronting ethical and halachic questions surrounding end of life or similar medical challenges.

Alta was born with severe brain damage and had been on life support since birth. For months her parents have been fighting the courts, trying to bring her to Israel or the States for treatment, or even let her die at home.

Alta died after being taken off life support on Monday after her parents lost the battle they battled for months with the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust to allow her to live.

Earlier this month, Justice Alistair MacDonald of the Family Division of the High Court ruled that it was in the girl’s “best interest” to be at a children’s hospice when her life support was turned off, despite her parents' wish that it be done at home.

“I am satisfied that this option best accommodates Alta’s welfare need for specialist care... whilst allowing the family and the community to perform the sacred religious obligations of the Orthodox Jewish faith,” the judge ruled.



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