PITTSBURGH (May. 11)
A psychiatry professor at the University of Southern California believes that Jews are inhibited from taking their own lives because of religious injunctions and because “the Jewish people are too interested in life, production, and creativity for suicide.” Those reasons were advanced by Dr. Norman Farberow, co-director of the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center, to explain the fact that the rate of suicide among Jews is lower than the national average.
Dr. Farberow spoke on “The Self” at Duquesne University’s Institute of Man. He noted that an aversion to suicide is “imbedded in the Jewish religion…There are regulations against it. Suicide isn’t honored. There is no religious ceremony or mourner procedure.” Dr. Farberow was one of the founders of the Suicide Prevention Center which grew out of his work in the emergency ward of a Los Angeles hospital. The Center is open 24 hours a day to take calls from would-be suicides whom its staff attempts to dissuade by rational discussion of the caller’s problems.