16.10.2011 18.Tischrei. 5772 Chol Hamo'ed 2
Despite medical advancements lengthening lifespans, religious establishment makes it difficult for Israelis with Down syndrome to marry under Jewish law.
Health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” according to the World Health Organization’s official definition. If so, adults with Down syndrome – who have a long list of potential medical problems because of having an extra 21st chromosome – have the right to love, companionship and marriage, if they are able and want it, and to enjoy as normal a life as possible.
British physician John Langdon Down was the first to describe the trisomy 3 syndrome in 1866. It took almost a century more for French pediatrician and geneticist Prof. Jerome Lejeune to discover the cause – having a total of 47 instead of 46 chromosomes. In the mid-20th century, those born with the defect reached their fourth or fifth decade at most. But today, their life expectancy is significantly higher thanks to more advanced knowledge and treatment of medical complications and improved medical imaging. Adults with Down syndrome can live into their 60s or more. So marriage has become a relevant issue….