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Healing People, Not PatientsWhat if medical encounters were meetings of two human beings, together forming a covenant to achieve healing?

Inside the Book

Take a peek inside Healing People, Not Patients to see how you figure into the message.

For People

Being sick or getting well doesn’t define you – it’s one thing among many in your life. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get healthcare that recognized that?

For Healers

You didn’t go into this line of work to be a “service provider.” You don’t hook up internet connections, you heal human beings. It’s time to reclaim that territory.

For Change

Whether you are a person struggling with an illness, or a healer struggling to help that person heal, the way things are in healthcare today doesn’t make it easy. What might the future look like?

Healers Who Listen

Come explore how you can be a part of the solution.


3,000 years of Jewish wisdom, 3,000 people seeking healing, and one nice Jewish doctor with messy, curly hair trying to use one to make sense of the other. Take two stone tablets and call me in the morning?

Renew Our Days

I grew up watching Happy Days on TV. In one episode, Arnold’s, the drive-in “greasy spoon” where the characters all hang out, burns to the ground. When the gang tours the wreckage after the fire, Fonzie (played by Henry Winkler to whom I am not related) tries his signature cool guy move of banging the jukebox to get it to start playing a song.

The charred front panel of the jukebox falls pitifully to the ground.

We are all trying to go home again. Back to our former state of health, back to our youth, back to the good old days – those Happy Days the show refers to, the “simpler time” of the 1950s that people living through the turbulent ‘seventies thought they were nostalgic for. Ironically, when my friend Jeff Finkelstein lost his father Norman last fall, part of his nostalgia was to display the books his father had written – including my favorite, a book called The Way Things Never Were, about how misplaced all that 1950s nostalgia really was.

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At Arms Length?

There’s a reason I’m not a surgeon.

Last month our handyman came by to definitively fix our shower doors. I’d been “fixing” them almost as long as we’ve had them: hanging them back on the track when they fell, reattaching the wheels when the screws came out, or reattaching the bottom bracket when it wiggled completely off, and the interior door swung loose.  They were installed crookedly on day one, owing partly to my entire house being crooked (old mine shafts and shifting Western Pennsylvania bedrock) and partly to shoddy workmanship. I could never buy us more than a couple of months of being able to use both doors before I had to tell everyone not to touch the interior door or else. I know how to think, not so much how to wield tools. I could see where the problem was coming from, but in the implementation, something always went wrong. I needed Mark to bail me out.

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The Torah of Treating People with Substance Use Disorders

Originally delivered as the D’var Torah at Congregation Beth Israel, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Shabbat Yitro, 5784 (February 3, 2024).  Event co-sponsored by JACS Vancouver (Jewish Addiction Community Services). Edited for clarity.

When I was a senior in high school, a band called The Black Crowes released their hit song, “She Talks to Angels.”  The song opens, “She never mentions the word ‘addiction’ in certain company.”

Even so, she must mention the word more often than the Torah does, which is never.  The “Torah” of working with people grappling with substance use must be extrapolated from other topics we encounter in the text, like laws relating to electricity or space travel.  Unlike those twentieth-century inventions, however, addiction has been around since the dawn of time – we just didn’t mention the word.

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