Haredi teen agrees to chemotherapy after rabbi’s intervention

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The haredi Orthodox teenager who asked for the public’s help to prevent his chemotherapy has agreed to the treatment following the intervention of a prominent Hasidic rabbi.

Rabbi Yitzhak David Grossman, the chief rabbi of Migdal Haemek who became known as the disco rabbi in the 1970s, mediated between the 16-year-old patient and his family, of Tiberias, and the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

The patient agreed Monday evening to the chemotherapy, and the hospital agreed to consult with him throughout the treatment and not to administer treatment against his will, according to the report. The hospital told Israel’s Channel 2 that it is up to the teen’s parents to ensure that he remains in the hospital to receive treatment and objected to his characterization of the hospital as a prison.

The parents told Channel 2 that they do not believe that the treatment will help if their son’s mind is not at peace with it. The teen reportedly left the hospital without permission last week to evade the treatment, but was brought back by police under a court order.

“He knows exactly what he needs and what he does not,” they said.

A small group of demonstrators came to the hospital on Monday night to demand that the hospital not force the teen to receive treatment. The teen in a video in Hebrew released Sunday called for the demonstration.

“Even if I have to die, let me die with dignity – that’s all I ask,” he said in the video.

He has been in remission twice since his cancer was diagnosed six years ago.

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