Albom’s user manuals
Dr. Ben Corn had the opportunity to hear American author Mitch Albom speak about his new book Have a Little Faith soon after its release last year in New York City.
“My 82-year-old mother invited me to attend a lecture by Mitch at the 92nd Street Y, and I couldn’t refuse,” said Corn, chairman of radiation oncology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, and along with his wife Dvora, codirector of Tishkofet/Life’s Door, a national, Jerusalem-based nonprofit organization that provides support to patients who have serious illnesses, as well as to their doctors and families.
“At the end of the talk, which was very stimulating, there was a long line of people with books that were getting Mitch to sign. We were the last ones and we started talking to him, and I told him about Tishkofet and our work and I raised the idea of his coming to Israel. He was helpful from the start.”
Thanks to a collaborative effort by Tishkofet, the Cameri Theater and Haifa Municipal Theater and Albom’s Israeli publishers Matar, the wheels were set in motion for Albom’s visit, to Israel, whereduring which he gave one of his patented talks at a benefit for the organization at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.
According to Corn, the healing focus of Albom’s writing dovetails perfectly with the mission of Tishkofet, which was founded in 2000 by the Corns, who made aliya from Philadelphia 13 years ago.
“We have something to offer the caregiver, the family, the patient, the clergy in dealing with the challenges inherent in serious illness – certainly the logistic challenges, but also the deeper questions,” said Corn.
“Once someone is diagnosed with a tumor or ALS, he starts to focus on
questions pertaining to the existential issues in life, the meaning of
life. We’re here to help the patient address these concerns, and we do
that with a variety of constructs that we’ve developed. We’re not just
for older people, but for teenagers and adults, anyone who has found
himself in the turbulent ocean. We throw them some life support.”
Corn added that in his position at Sourasky, he requires his all of his
students and interns to read Tuesdays with Morrie
“just like I would have them read Grey’s Anatomy
I test them on it, as well – not on whether they’ve read it, but to see
if they were able to internalize the principles stated in the book.”
In commenting on the importance of Albom’s writing, Corn said, “Our
working assumption is that there is a little Morrie Schwartz in every
patient. Our job is to find it and cultivate it. I think that both
Tuesdays with Morrie
and Have a Little
represent a user manual for what our organization is all