efrat dotan down syndrome 311.
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Efrat Dotan – a woman in her late 20s born to modern Orthodox parents in
Jerusalem who refused to abort her after learning she had Down syndrome – is a
inspiring example of the power of the human spirit.
Petite, lovely and
very bright, Dotan lives with her parents and three other siblings in the
capital’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood.
As an amateur journalist, Dotan has
interviewed Israeli physicians, fashion models, the president of Israel and
other politicians – and is due to go to Washington, DC to interview more notable
Shalva, the association for mentally and
physically challenged children (whose center in Jerusalem is named after
Nachshon Wachsman, the soldier kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in 1994),
has subsidized the journalistic work of Dotan, who appears on the
Hebrew-language edition of Ynet on the Internet.
Shalva is headed by
Rabbi Kalman Samuels and his wife Malki, who have a 34- year-old son who was
born without disabilities – but in a rare accident caused by an improper
vaccine, went blind and deaf, and rendered unable to function
Dotan, who makes her primary living working with Down syndrome
babies up to the age of three at Shalva in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood,
says she was “born very positive.”
Recently, Dotan conducted a
particularly meaningful interview with Prof. Simcha Yagel, a veteran
obstetrician at Hadassah University Medical Center on Mount Scopus. In 1983,
Yagel, a world-famous fetal imaging expert, delivered Dotan after her parents
refused to abort their affected fetus.
“It should not be Down syndrome
but ‘Up syndrome,’” Dotan said, as her mother looked on and beamed.