Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz was one of the people killed by an anti-Semitic gunman in Pittsburgh last Saturday. Dr. Rabinowitz was a family practice physician who was well known in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood for the extraordinary care he provided to his patients.
In the 1980s, when AIDS was first being diagnosed in the United States, some medical providers would not work with AIDS patients, and most others wore plastic gloves when treating an AIDS patient. Not only did Dr. Rabinowitz treat patients with AIDS, he did not wear gloves. To the contrary, he actually held their hands and comforted them as they looked for signs of hope that the disease could be arrested.
Not long ago, when the daughter of an elderly patient living alone, called to suggest he look in on her, he promised to do so on his way home. He often stopped to check on her health and provide some much needed companionship.
Dr. Jeffrey Cohen is the head of Allegheny General Hospital, the hospital that treated the man accused of killing 11 people in Tree of Life Synagogue. Dr. Cohen personally checked on the welfare of the patient, even though some of his friends were killed in the attack. In talking about his decision to treat the accused killer with respect, Dr. Cohen said, "He is some mother's son."
There are far more people in the world like Jerry Rabinowitz and Jeffrey Cohen than there are people like the man who ended so many lives last Saturday. I hope we can hold onto that reality.
It is true that I have received a lot of hate mail since I transitioned from Paul to Paula, but I choose to see the hope. Of the 1.6 million people who watched my TEDx talk, 93 percent responded favorably to the talk. It is too easy to focus on the 7 percent who did not.
This world is filled with good people who do the right thing, day after day, month after month, year after year. They do not make headlines. They do not do TED talks. They just quietly love their neighbors. During these difficult times, I choose to focus on the millions who choose love over hate.