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May 14th, 2008

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05:14 pm - Orthodox Rabbi with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This was both interesting and inspiring, though I don't know many people with CFS/CFIDS/ME who can imagine getting through rabbinical school let alone rabbinical AND medical school. Still, it's cool that the world has a new rabbi (and doctor!) who knows what it's like to struggle with chronic illness.

From http://www.forward.com/articles/13174/ :

Jonah Feldman, a candidate for ordination at Yeshiva University, made his decision to become a rabbi in the midst of an illness. As an undergraduate at Y.U., Feldman came down with a mysterious malady that sapped his strength and left doctors baffled. During his months of struggling with the disease, Feldman resolved to become both a doctor and a rabbi — a doctor so that he could help others who were sick, and a rabbi because he craved some spiritual meaning beyond science. The disease, eventually diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, gradually subsided, and Feldman has found the energy to complete both rabbinical school and medical studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Once he graduates, Feldman expects to enter the medical field as an oncologist.

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Date:June 22nd, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
It's really hard to tell with journalistic articles, but I've never heard of anyone who had ME/CFS for no more than "months". They won't even give you a diagnosis until you've had it for six months. I think the shortest time I know anyone to have had it is two years, and for most people it's far longer than that (on eleven myself so far). Obviously the poor guy had something wrong with him for a while. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a term that ME sufferers generally dislike, as it implies that the only problem is a bit of fatigue, rather than the complex and serious neuro-immune condition that it is, and there are frequently problems with misdiagnosis.

Quibbles aside, as you said, it's great to have a rabbi and doctor who knows what it's like to struggle with chronic illness, even if it was for a short time.

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