LOS ANGELES, March 26 /PRNewswire/ --
The continuing media coverage of the debate in Israel over the upcoming BODY WORLDS exhibition in Haifa has inadvertently neglected to present the many dimensions of this scientific and scholarly endeavor.
The historical, religious, and scientific contexts of anatomical exhibitions in general and BODY WORLDS in particular, the support of our public health exhibition by religious groups and spiritual leaders across faiths including Judaism, and the lifestyle conversions and philosophical and religious insights reported by millions of our visitors are worthy of full consideration in this vigorous discourse about BODY WORLDS (http://www.bodyworlds.com/en/media/temp.html).
Our exhibitions are firmly set in the tradition of scientific, aesthetic anatomy that began during the Renaissance when it was believed that man's life was worthy of study and contemplation. Anatomy and dissection were viewed by early religious as a gaze at divinity and as memento mori-profound reminders of one's own mortality and the life to come.
Before there was BODY WORLDS, there was the work of Renaissance anatomist, Andreas Vesalius (1514 - 1564), author of a canonical medical reference that became the foundation of modern anatomy, and by extension, contemporary Western medicine. Before there was plastination, there were early anatomical specimen preservation methods as varied as herbal compotes and wax, and religious displays of post-mortal relics by the church. And before there was clinical anatomy, there were the humanistic explorations of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo through dissections.
In discussing BODY WORLDS, there have been allegations that the anatomical specimens in the exhibit stem from bodies other than those of donors. These statements are categorically false. BODY WORLDS is a unique joint work in science-a collaboration between anatomist, donors, and visitors. The Institute for Plastination's body donation program, with a roster of more than 9990 donors, has been vetted by bio-ethicists, museum lawyers, and ad hoc ethics committees assembled by dozens of venerable museums in the United States and Europe. The main findings of these ethics reviews have been reported widely in science publications, including the esteemed Journal of Medical Humanities, the international academic journal for medical researchers.
BODY WORLDS elicits a range of opinions in the Jewish community, and among its medical practitioners, scientists, ethicists, and religious leaders. Though there are those who oppose the exhibition, there are many more who do not. In Boston, Rabbi D. Meyer told the Jewish Journal that the exhibition was inspirational and can actually deepen Jewish spirituality - showing the beauty and complexity of the human body and exalting the miracle of creation. In Los Angeles, Rabbi M. Feinstein added his support for the exhibition in an ethics review: When we see with our own eyes the unbelievable design of the human body in all its fine detail, it helps us understand better the designer who created and shaped humanity. (http://www.bodyworlds.com/Downloads/englisch/Media/Press%20Kit/BW_LA_Sum... ofEthicalReview.pdf)
While we are delighted that so many visitors find religious meaning in the exhibitions, BODY WORLDS is, for us, a scientific work focused on human anatomy and health. We present the exhibition only to those who wish to see it, and respect the decision of those who choose not to visit the exhibition.
In Israel, Arbel Communications, 972-3-699-2121, firstname.lastname@example.org; or in USA, Gail Hamburg, +1-312-602-5369, email@example.com, or Georgina Gomez, +1-213-291-9572, firstname.lastname@example.org, all for BODY WORLDS