Leaders of the Misaskim organization warmly welcomed the appointment of Dr. Yvonne Milewski as the new deputy chief of the medical examiner’s office responsible for Brooklyn. Dr. Milewski, who served as the chief of the medical examiner’s office in Suffolk County for nearly 12 years, is extremely familiar with the many Jewish customs and laws that relate to her office. Misaskim officials said that she had worked closely with Jewish leaders in Suffolk County and surrounding areas. Prior to her post in Suffolk County, she served as a medical examiner in the New York Medical Examiner’s Office.
In welcoming Dr. Milewski, Misaskim also congratulated the outgoing Brooklyn deputy chief, Dr. Stephen DeRoux, who was named to head the Staten Island office. Misaskim leaders were ecstatic that two seasoned professionals who “had demonstrated extreme sensitivity to families of all faiths, including Jewish concerns in the past” were now responsible for key medical examiner offices in the city. “We have absolute confidence in Dr. Milewski’s responsiveness to Jewish concerns, particularly in the largest Jewish community outside of Israel,” a Misaskim spokesman said.
The role of the medical examiner is particularly important in cases where the cause of death is not clear and where an autopsy may be warranted but not permitted by Jewish law. Working with Misaskim, medical examiners often engage in less invasive procedures in compliance with Jewish law. In addition, the medical examiners are sensitive to issues like Shabbos and the importance of burial as soon as possible.
Misaskim revealed that it has been working with the office of the chief medical examiner in recent weeks to establish protocols with respect to Jewish burial procedures. “The fact that the new appointees of the office of the medical examiner have been exposed to some of our concerns in the past, and have demonstrated an unusual sensitivity, is welcome news to our community,” the spokesman concluded.
Misaskim is well-known for its program of preparedness for any eventuality in the Jewish community. It is most widely recognized for its services to shivah homes, handling mesei mitzvah, providing generators in times of crisis, providing logistical support at large gatherings, its emergency command center, and its strong relationships with numerous law enforcement agencies. Misaskim is also the organizer of the large Tehillim assembly on Aseres Yimei Teshuvah and special yesomim outings on Chol Hamoed. v