A Man of Faith Keeps the Faith During COVID-19 and is Honored for It

New York, NY (October 28, 2020)

The Center for Jewish History will celebrate strength, resilience, and courage at its Virtual Gala November 19th.

This year, the Center will honor the work of Dr. Michael Braffman, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital. Dr. Braffman, an infectious disease specialist, has been on the front lines this year in the fight against COVID-19.

One of the patients Dr. Braffman treated during the pandemic was an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor who spent more than 80 days on a ventilator. Fifty-nine of those days were in a medically induced coma. Dr. Braffman never lost faith. The patient left the hospital in August.

Twenty years ago, as a fellow, Dr. Braffman was on the front lines of the battle against another deadly disease, AIDS.  At that time there were many misconceptions about who contracted the disease, and there was a “blame the victim” mentality. One of Dr. Braffman’s patients was Clarence Cain, a gay lawyer who was fired from Hyatt Legal Services after his supervisors learned he had AIDS. The makers of “Philadelphia” studied his lawsuit for the movie.

“Dr. Braffman kept a handwritten memorial list of every patient he treated and lost at the height of the epidemic. To this day, he still has the list and remembers each and every person. It is this type of dedication and devotion he has shown throughout his career and life that make him the obvious choice to be the Center for Jewish History honoree,” said Bernard Michael, President and CEO.

The funds that are raised by the Gala will support the critical work the Center is doing to preserve Jewish history.

“Stories of strength, resilience, and courage like Dr. Braffman’s are captured every day here in our archives. It is important to preserve them for future generations,” said Mr. Michael.

To participate in the Center for Jewish History Gala and honor Dr. Braffman from the safety of your home, visit gala.cjh.org.