Posted by David Rudolph, 17 September 2009

First meeting: I arrived at South Shore hospital in 1976. CJP had given me a list of people to personally invite and encourage attending the annual breakfast. Dr Hellerstein name was on the list. I met Dr Peters his colleague a number of times in the office but Dr H. was always in the morgue doing an autopsy. This was not a message I could leave and therefore persisted in returning to his office. Finally I did find him in his office and invited him to the CJP Annual breakfast. He looked at me strangely and for the first time and the last, was quiet and thoughtful. Examining me, thoughtful and agreeing to attend.

A couple of breakfast later he told me that I did not look Jewish and that is what he had been thinking. In addition he reminded me that he always attended the breakfast anyway.

From then on he and his dear wife, Marjorie, attended all the breakfasts, where he expected to sit at the South Shore Hospital table. He never responded to the invitations but always showed up. A regular. Soon we were keeping reserved seats for him without the RSVP. He continued to attend even after the sudden passing of Marjorie. I donÚt remember him ever replying to the invitations but he was always there.

It was an honor for me to be listed as one of his physicians. He would listen to my diagnosis and treatment suggestions but immediately assess, analyse and dissect the opinion and finally choose his own particular treatments. They sometimes worked, about as often as mine did. Did hear me or simply ignore me? I still wonder. We argued( discussed, dissected, conversed) frequently¼. I often lost as he had amazing knowledge and information about American history and the Civil war. I held my own with him when we would argue about Africa. Israel was another hot topic for us. We almost always chose opposite positions but always retained great respect for one another and one anotherÚs opinions.