Milestones in Jewish Medical Ethics: Halakhic Literature in Israel, 1948-1998

הלפרין, מרדכי. "Milestones in Jewish Medical Ethics: Halakhic Literature in Israel, 1948-1998" JME BOOK I, עמ' 43-73.

Milestones in Jewish Medical Ethics: Halakhic Literature in Israel, 1948-1998

A.     Definition of Concepts At the forefront of our sample lie the two monumental sets that were published during this decade: Nishmat Avraham on the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch and The Medical-Halachic Encyclopedia. 1. Nishmat Avraham   2. The Medical-Halachic Encyclopedia (Hebrew Edition)   4. Judge Amnon Carmi and The Society for Medicine and Law in Israel

Judge Amnon Carmi was extensively involved in the fields of medicine and law both in Israel[76] and around the world.[77] An outstanding figure in these fields, Prof. Carmi had the opportunity to evaluate and to recognize the value of the code of medical ethics found in Jewish law.

Judge Carmi passed on this message to the judicial and medical community in Israel through several frameworks:

   ·    The IAML held and still holds seminar evenings and many talks on current topics of medicine and law wherein the topic of Jewish law is a significant part of the professional discussion.

   ·    The official publication of The Society for Medicine and Law in Israel, Refu’a u-Mishpat, edited by Prof. Carmi, appeared in the Spring of 1986. Containing many articles on medical ethics and halacha from the first until the current 27th issue, the variety of topics covered in this journal are enough to fill a complete book.

   ·     Rashlanut Refu’it be-Yahadut u-ve-Yisra’el,[78] (Medical Negligence in Judaism and in Israel) was written in conjunction with Bar Ilan University’s computerized Responsa Project and includes hundreds of quotations and sources from traditional Jewish literature as well as from legislation and rulings of the State of Israel.


5. Technological Halachic Institutes

Two technological halachic institutes were established during this decade: the Jerusalem Institute of Technology, a project initiated and established by Israel-Prize–winning physicist Professor Ze’ev Lev,[79] and the Zomet Institute in Alon Shevut, Gush Etzion,[80] established by the engineer Rabbi Yisrael Rosen. Both these institutes have developed technological solutions for halachic difficulties on Shabbat and festivals. Israeli hospitals make use of these technological developments.[81]

Three volumes of the Jerusalem Institute of Technology’s Ma‘aseh Hoshev deal with medical-halachic matters,[82] and Zomet’s Tehumin deals with questions of science, society, and the State, regularly devoting space to medicine and halacha.


6. Additional Publications

Other books and periodicals published during this period are Halacha u-Refu’a,[83] Ha-Refu’a le-Or ha-Halacha,[84] Emeq Halacha Assia,[85] Bi-Shevilei ha-Refu’a,[86] Me’orot,[87] and Ha-Refu’a ba- Meqorot[88]. At the same time the Ha-Refu’a[89] journal published many interesting articles on medicine and halacha, some of them written by Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, and the journal for medical problems, Meida la-Rofeh,[90] published a regular column entitled “What Do Our Sages Say about Medicine?”


7. The Jakobovits Center for Jewish Medical Ethics

The Jakobovits Center for Jewish Medical Ethics was established in the Faculty for Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The project’s central initiator was Lord Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, for whom it was named.

The story is told that Lord Jakobovits turned to the medical center in Jerusalem with to set up a center. The paternalistic authority in charge of Jerusalem medicine refused to accept the offer, stating that they did not want the involvement of non-medical elements in the medicine faculty. As a result the offer and its budget was offered to the University of the Negev.

A few years later, Jerusalem followed suit initiating a number of courses in medical ethics – Jewish and general at the Hebrew University and Hadassah’s Medical School.[91]

8. Special Lectures for Physicians

It was during this decade that leading halachic authorities offered special lectures throughout the country for physicians from all backgrounds and lifestyles. Lecturers in Jerusalem included Rabbi Valdenberg, who gave a regular lecture for the doctors at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Merkaz ha-Rav Kook (and later Chief Rabbi of Israel) Rabbi Avraham Shapira. The Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv (and later Rishon le-Tsiyyon) Rabbi Ovadia Yosef[92] gave lectures in Tel Aviv, and Rabbi Yitshak Shapira from Netanya lectured in the north. To this day Rabbi Zilberstein[93] gives a monthly lecture for medical professionals.[94]

  G. Fifth Decade (1988-1998)

1. International Conferences in America and Israel

The fifth decade is marked by a quantum leap in medicine and halacha both in Israel and abroad. In 1989, The First International Conference in Medicine and Halacha took place in New York.[95] Guest speakers included leading Israeli experts in the field.[96] As a result of the success of the first conference four more conferences were held in New York.

A year later the State University of New York (SUNY) held an international conference on medical ethics and Judaism to which four Israeli lectures were also invited.

In the meantime The Hebrew Academy of San Francisco began to hold yearly conferences on Jewish Medical Ethics. These conferences, to which top lecturers from around the world were invited, have since run every winter until the present day.

In Israel The First International Conference on Medicine, Ethics and Halacha[97] was held at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center,[98] Jerusalem, in the summer of 1993. Three years later the second international conference was held in Jerusalem with the participation of hundreds of Rabbis, jurists and halachicists from Israel and around the world.

Conferences also took place in Europe amongst them the United Conference on the Jewish Approach to Medicine in Manchester, England, November 1995.

Most of the lectures at these conferences were either filmed or recorded such that one is able to acquire audio and video tapes of the lectures by appealing directly to the organizers.


2. Jewish Medical Ethics (JME)

At the beginning of the decade the JME journal on Jewish medical ethics was published in English.[99] The journal, with a world-wide distribution, includes a variety of material in the fields of medicine and halacha with an emphasis on ethical aspects. To date seven issues of the journal have been published in four volumes.


3. Multimedia Halacha and Medicine

A division of medicine and halacha has been established as part of the Religious Council of Jerusalem.[100] This division has produced a number of films illustrating fundamental questions in medical ethics such as forced medical treatment, preservation of life vs. quality of life, and delivering a fetus following the mother’s brain death. These films have been presented in professional as well as public forums as excellent illustrative aids to issues of medical ethics in general, and Jewish medical ethics in particular.

The Nehorai Institute in Bnei Braq has developed a computer database devoted to medicine and halacha,[101] combining a database of thousands of halachic concepts with sophisticated search capabilities[102] The Nehorai Institute also ran a medical-halachic e-mail discussion group.[103]

With the development of the Internet, several web-sites have been set up to serve Jewish medical ethics, such as The Schlesinger Institute’s and[104] which include links to other sites.[105]


4. Precedents in Medicine and Law

In his introduction to Pisqei Din Refu’a u-Mishpat,[106] Israeli Supreme Court president Judge Meir Shamgar wrote that “the bringing closer of different theoretical professional spheres takes on added importance in our times… when scientific progress gives rise to many ethical problems, making interdisciplinary discussion essential.” The importance of this book is twofold. It is devoted to law as it relates to medicine, and it is accompanied by professional commentary on the rulings from different perspectives.

5. Yael Shefer vs. The State of Israel

The Supreme Court of Israel’s ruling on the case of Yael Shefer vs. State of Israel was explained by the judge in the case, then Deputy President Menachem Elon, in New Horizons in Medical Ethics: Decision of the Supreme Court of Israel in the Shefer Case.[107] The case involved a Tay-Sachs patient whose mother, on her behalf, appealed to the Supreme Court for permission to withhold intravenous medication or assistance in respiration when her daughter’s condition reached the stage where she would require them. The regional court had rejected the first plea, and the Supreme Court rejected the mother’s appeal.

Professor Elon’s decision analyzes the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom and the concept of a “Jewish and democratic state” upon which the Basic Law is based. It deals with highly controversial concepts such as the definition of the enlightened community, the right to die, and dying with dignity. As required by the Basic Law, Professor Elon relied on his vast knowledge of Jewish tradition to define the concept of “the values of a Jewish state” laid down by law.

After the court’s verdict was translated and published in English,[108] in-depth material became available for those interested in life and death issues in the fields of medicine and law, both in Israel and around the world.


6. The Value of The State and The Patient Rights Act

What are “the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish democratic state” that anchor the Basic Law: “Human Dignity and Freedom”?

The answer to this question is not clear-cut because it involves many differing interpretations. Nevertheless there have been many laws enacted that have their roots in Israeli tradition including the Foundations of Law Act of 1980, that openly declares the connection to Israeli tradition.

When the Basic Law was brought before the Knesset for its final reading in 1992, the chairman of the Committee for Constitution and Law said:

This law was created with the understanding that we needed to created a wide consensus among all parties in the House [Knesset]. We were aware that we could not pass a basic law anchoring the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state unless we could achieve a wide consensus among all the parties… The law opens with the declaration that it is meant to protect human dignity and freedom in order to anchor in law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. In this sense, already in the first paragraph the law determines that we see ourselves as obligated to the values of Jewish traditionsince this is given explicit positivist expression – the values of the State of Israel as a state that is Jewish as well as democratic. The law defines some of the basic freedoms of the individual, none of which stands in opposition to Jewish tradition or to the world of values prevalent and accepted today in Israel by all parties of the House.[109]

This was not a new approach, and it is remarkably consistent with the words uttered by Knesset member Hayyim Zadok (later Minister of Justice) in 1961 during the debate on Ability to Stand Trial and Representation Act of 1962:

The law book of the State of Israel, from the beginning of its existence and until today, is sown with laws pertaining to the realm known as “matters of personal status,” which are a combination of the principles of Jewish Law together with modern legal principles…

Throughout our system of legislation we have strictly adhered to the religious laws with regard to marriage and divorce, and we have taken care not to harm them. We have also taken care not to legislate laws that would in any way contradict any religious commandment.[110]

A study of the Patients’ Rights Act confirms this assertion and reveals that at least two sections of this act, 15(2) and 15(3), are genuinely rooted in Jewish tradition.[111] Section 15(2) is fundamentally based on the autonomy of the individual and his conscious retroactive consent and has its source not only in common sense but also in ancient halachic literature.[112] Section 15(3) determines that:

Under circumstances of medical emergency the caregiver is permitted to administer urgent medical treatment even without the conscious consent of the patient if, owing to the nature of the emergency –including the physical or mental state of the patient – his conscious consent cannot be obtained; additional medical treatment will be administered with the consent of three doctors, unless the circumstances of the emergency do not permit this.

Clearly, this is nourished by the values of Jewish tradition, which accords human life priority on the ladder of values. It is interesting that during the course of the preparation of the Act, there was wide consensus on this section’s importance, regardless of the participants’ personal relationship with halacha.


7. Mutual Enrichment

Another development in this decade was the combination of medicine and halacha with other disciplines. For example, academic research projects in medicine and halacha abound in Israeli medical institutes and there is a constant demand for professional medical-halachic lectures at medical-legal conferences in Israel and abroad. Further, the Israeli Society for Medical Ethics is careful to study the halachic position on modern medical issues, legal and judicial books use principles of Jewish law in their professional discussions[113] and the Dr. Zussman Institute of Legal Training for Judges as well as the Institute of Legal Training for Attorneys and Legal Advisors invite experts to deliver lectures on Jewish medical ethics.

This phenomenon is not limited to Israel. The development of the discipline together with growing public awareness has created a situation where almost every related field has a symbiotic relationship with halacha.

The discipline has also penetrated public consciousness in Israel and abroad. On medical issues today, there is an almost automatic appeal to an expert in medicine and halacha for an opinion on an issue.


8. Pioneers in Jewish Medical Ethics

At the beginning of the State of Israel’s Jubilee year an interesting book was published in the United States summarizing the international development of Jewish medical ethics. The book was entitled; Pioneers in Jewish Medical Ethics[114] and is edited by Prof. Fred Rosner of New York, who is among the exclusive group who advanced this profession in the last decade. The book presents before the reader the key international figures in the world of medicine and halacha and gives a summary of their contribution to the field. Around half the people who appear in the book are physicians or talmudic scholars from Israel.


The work is not yet complete. There are still questions left unanswered in difficult life and death areas,[115] and undecided arguments over the identity and lineage of a person in certain situations.[116] Looking back however, over the professional development of this field during the last fifty years, it seems that the Israeli community has good reason for some modest pride.

Source: ASSIA – Jewish Medical Ethics,
Vol. VI, No. 2, 2004, pp. 4-19


1. See Avraham Steinberg, Medical Ethics, pp. 3-27 this volume.

2.  The King of Babylon in the 18th Century BCE. Researchers are in debate over the exact date of his rule. See “Hammurabi,Ha-Entsiklopedia ha-Yisraelit ha-Kelallit.

3. Approx. 337-460 BCE. One of the three great medical study books of the Rambam was Pirush L’Pirkei Abukrat (= Hippocrates). Translated to Hebrew by Dr. Zussman Muntner, (Mossad ha-Rav Kook, 1961).

4. See Chapman, C.B., The New England Journal of Medicine 301 (1979): 630; A. Steinberg Medical Halachic Encyclopedia, vol. 6, s.v. torat ha-musar ha-kelalli.

5. For example the ethical laws of The Institute of the Masters of Wine, 1986 edition and Gorlin, R.A. (Ed.) Codes of Professional Responsibility, Third Edition. (Bureau of National Affairs, Washington DC: 1994) pp. 191.

6. See Avraham Steinberg, Medical Halachic Encyclopedia, vol. 6, s.v. torat ha-musar ha-yehudi

7. New York: Bloch Publishing, 1959.

8. See the overview of the second decade, below.

9. See A. Steinberg, Jewish Medical Ethics, pp. 28-42 this volume.

10. See Chazon Ish, Emunah Ve-Bittachon, Ch.3 Musar ve-Halacha (Published by Rabbi S. Greenman, Jerusalem, 1954). Discusses the relationship between the above halacha and Jewish ethics. Brought also at the end of “Sefer Ha-Chazon Ish al Seder Taharot.” (Bnei Brak 1974).

11. See Weinberg, Shut Sridei Aish, Vol.4, Tnuat Ha-Musar; Immanuel Etkes, Rav Yisrael Salanter ve-Reishitah Shel Tnuat ha-Mussar, Jerusalem: Magnes Publishers, Hebrew University, 1982).

12. Influential not only on Torah scholars. See, for example, Judge Moshe Zilberg, (1900-1975), Supreme Court Judge (1950-1970), and others.

13.Mishpat Ivri,” Ha-Entsiklopedia ha-Yisraelit ha-Kelallit (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1987).

14. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De‘ah 335-337.

15. Ibid., Orah Hayyim 328-330.

16. See Steinberg, “Beit ha-Holim be-Sifrut ha-Halacha,” Sefer Assia, vol. 2 (Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute and Reuven Mass, 1981), pp. 146-53.

17. See Steinberg, ibid. Shemuel Kottek, “Toledot Ishpuz Holim,” Sefer Assia, vol. 2, pp. 195-98.

18. 1640-1702, b. Italy, immigrated to Israel in 1677.

19. Genesis, 11:30

20. See Ma’amarim be-Refuah le-Refael Mordechai Malki, compiled, ordered and with a preface by Meir Benihu. Published by Ha-Rav Nissim, Jerusalem, 1985.

21. Yoreh De‘ah 260-261

22. For example, Kelallei ha-Mila by Rabbi Ya‘aqov and Rabbi Gershon ha-Gozer, father and son, both thirteenth-century mohalim in Germany.

23. Aryeh Morgenstern, Geula be-Derekh ha-Teva‘, second edition (Jerusalem: Maor, 1997).

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. Ibid., concerning the herem declared in Jerusalem against cooperation with the mission.

27. Yehoshua Leibowitz, “Le-Toledot Battei ha-Holim bi-Yerushalayim,” Sefer Assia, vol. 2, pp. 199-203.

28. See A.D. Zilberstein, “Ba‘ayat Nittuhei ha-Meitim u-Fitrona,” Yavneh: Qovets Aqademi Dati 3, nos. 7-12 (Nissan 5709): 210-15; note and correction to Zilberstein’s article by Rabbi Kalman Kahana, “Nittuhei Meitim be-Halacha,” Ha-Ma‘ayan 7, no. 2 (5727): 49-50; Steinberg, Encyclopedia Hilkhatit Refuit, vol. 3, s.v. nittuah ha-met.

29. Tel Aviv: Dvir 1926-34

30. 1861-1914. See Fred Rosner, “Julius Preuss,” Medical History 19, no. 4 (1975): 376-88. Dr. Rosner translated and edited the English version (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1978).

31. Ha-Talmud ve-Hokhmat ha-Refu’a (Berlin: Haim Press, 1928).

32. See Steinberg, “Ha-Bibliografia ‘al Mitsvat ha-Mila,” Sefer Assia, vol. 3, pp. 362-66.

33. 1880-1953, b. Jerusalem. Rishon le-Tsiyyon of Erets Yisrael from 1939 and of the State of Israel from its establishment until his death.

34. 1888-1959, b. Lomzhe, Poland. Received his Ph.D. from the University of London in 1919 for his research on techeilet and argaman in ancient Israel. Served as chief rabbi of Ireland (1921-37) and as Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Erets Yisrael since 1937 and of the State of Israel from its establishment until his death. Father of the sixth president of Israel, Haim Herzog.

35. 1912-95. Senior member of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Merkaz ha-Rav Kook, supreme rabbinical court judge (1965-82).

36. Born 1917. Former head of the rabbinical court in Jerusalem, member of the supreme rabbinical court, author of responsa Tsits Eli‘ezer, winner of the Israel Prize (1976) and of the First International Prize for Medicine, Ethics, and Halacha (1993).

37. Qol Tora, year 1, nos. 2-3 (Sivan-Tammuz 5707), until year 3 (Nissan-Iyyar 5709). Quoted in Zilberstein, op. cit.; reprinted with additions from the monograph of Rabbi Yitshak Isaac Herzog, Pesaqim u-Ketavim, vol. 5 (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-Rav Kook, 1990), pp. 574-604

38. Summaries of his rulings on gynecology and fertility were published by Steinberg in Sefer Assia, vol. 2, pp. 127-43.

39. 10:28-29 (Tel Aviv, 5695). Reprinted in responsa Pisqei Uziel bi-She’elot ha-Zeman, 32-33, in the wake of the debate in Sha‘arei Tsiyyon, year 6, nos. 6-7 (Nissan 5686).

40. Conscious, written consent by the person donating his corpse and preservation of the amputated limbs and their proper burial in accordance with halacha. These basic conditions were later incorporated in the Anatomy and Pathology Act of 1953.

41. Tsits Eliezer, Vol. 4, 13.

42. Be-Tsomet ha-Tora ve-ha-Medina, three vols., ed. Y. Shaviv (Alon Shevut: Zomet Institute, 1991).

43. Steinberg, Hilchot Rofim u-Refu’a ‘al pi Shu”t (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-Rav Kook, 5738).

44. Ibid. pp. 33-45

45. A summary by Steinberg of more than one hundred halachic responsa from Minchat Yitshak was published in Sefer Assia, vol. 2, pp. 29-57.

46. Steinberg, Minchah le-Shlomo; Piskei ha-Grash”z Auerbach z”l be-Halachot Refu’a, Assia 59-60, (1997) pp. 5-45; See also: M. Halperin, Kavim Achadim le-Darko shel ha-Grash”z Auerbach be-Halachot Refu’a ve-Piqquach Nefesh, Assia, 57-58, (1997) pp. 17-61. See also: The first section of the article was translated; M. Halperin, “Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s Approach to the Question of Lifesaving Overriding Shabbat,” JME Vol. III No. 1 (1997) pp. 44-49.

47. Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1965.

48. Ha-Refu’a Be-Yehadut, a comparative, historical study on the relationship of the Jewish religion to medicine by Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits.

49. Ibid. from the author’s preface.

50. A full bibliography of Dr. Levi’s articles appeared in Sefer Assia, vol. 5, pp. 315-319.

51.. From the day of its establishment until 1981

52. See JME Vol. 1, no.2 (1989) p. 56


54. Fax no. +972-2-652-3295

55. Tel. no. +972-2-655-5266 (work hours) and in the evenings +972-52-602-349

56. The Schlesinger Institute, P.O. Box 3235, Jerusalem 91031, Israel

57. After the 30th journal appeared and the departure of the Institute’s founder and editor – Dr. Steinberg – Dr. Mordechai Halperin took over the position, editing Assia and managing the Schlesinger Institute, and continues this work until today.

58. One of the most important bibliographic keys in Assia is the reference index of Rav Meir Wunder. As of 1981, this reference index, covering a full year of medical-halachic literature, appears in almost all of the Assia books. The bibliography is divided according to subjects with a short extract of the article’s topic and a detailed index of the subjects and the authors.

59. B. Lunenfeld and N. Birnbaum, “Tippul be-Akarut ‘eqev i-Hat’ama bein Yemei ha-Poriyut u-Zeman ha-Tevila,” Moria 2, nos. 1-2 (1970) pp. 48-52

60. See A. and B. Lunenfeld, “Ha-Ma‘avaq be-Akarut: Eqronot ha-Tippul ha-Terufati li-Gerimat Biyyuts,” Mada 25, no. 2 (1981) pp. 72-77.

61. Raabi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, “Beirurim u-Sefeiqot be-Inyan Piqquach Nefesh Docheh Shabbat,” Moria 3, nos. 3-4 (1971) pp. 10-36.

62. Machanayim, 122 & 123, “Hotza’at Tzavah Hagganah Le-Yisra’el”, Ha-Rabbanut Ha-Tzv’ait Ha-Rashit, 1970

63. M. Halperin, “Ha-Refu’a ha-Modernit be-Re’i ha-Halacha”, Skirah Chodshit, Vol. 34 Issue 6, (1987) pp. 33-44

64. Sanhedrin, 5,2

65. For a detailed bibliography see Steinberg’s preface above, pp. 5-6.

66. Steinberg, Peraqim be-Patologia ba-Talmud u-ve-Nosei Keilav (Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute, 1975)

67. A.S. Avraham, Lev Avraham, Hilchot Refuah le-Choleh ve-le-meshamesh, Two volumes (Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1976).

68. Jerusalem: Ha-Akademia li-Refu’a, 1970.

69. Jerusalem: Yad ha-Rav Herzog, 1977.

70. Steinberg, Jewish Medical Law; A Concise Response. Compiled and edited from the Tsits Eliezer by Avraham Steinberg M.D. Translated by David Simons M.D. (Gefen Publishing, Jerusalem, California 1980.)

71. A.S. Avraham, Nishmat Avraham, Hilchot Cholim, Rofim ve-Refuah, 6 Volumes, (Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute, 1983-2000). The first two volumes were originally published by Vagshal Publishers, Jerusalem.

72. A. Steinberg, Medical Halachic Encyclopedia, 6 Volumes, (Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute, 1987-1998). Prof. Steinberg received The Israel Prize for his unique work in creating The Encyclopedia.

73. Foundations of Law Act of 1980, section 1. Likewise, para. 46 of The Palestine Order In Council, 1922-47, which made the law in Palestine and later in the State of Israel subject to English law, was canceled in section 2. Therefore, in the event of a disagreement over a ruling in a legal lacuna, it is appropriate that the decision not be made according to the views of one or another judge but rather according to the Foundations of Law Act. See Halperin, “Hebbetim Mishpatiyim le-Or Hoq Yesodot ha-Mishpat 1980,” Assia 49-50 (1990) pp. 83-84.

74. Kuppat Am Bank vs. N. Hendles & Others 34 (iii) P.D. 58 (1978); 35 (ii) P.D. 785 (1980)

75. Prof. Nachum Rakover, deputy legal advisor to the Government, contributed greatly to the increased accessibility of Jewish law to Jurists by publishing tens of books and indexes enabling judges and lawyers to reach halachic sources concerning a wide variety of modern legal subjects. The bibliographical list is available through The Library of Jewish Law, P.O. Box 7483, Jerusalem 91074.

76. The Society for Medicine and Law in Israel was established in 1972 on Prof. Carmi’s initiative. Its membership, numbering thousands, includes judges, lawyers, doctors, and researchers.

77. Prof. Carmi initiated, inter alia, the International Journal for Medicine and Law, the first issue of which was published in Israel in 1979. In 1982, the journal was taken over by the Springer Publishing House (Heidelberg) and made a quarterly. Since 1985, it has appeared every second month. Throughout, Carmi continued to serve as editor in chief.

78. Amnon Carmi and Amiram Sagiv (Haifa: Tamar Publishing 1986).

79. Rabbi Levi Yitshak Halperin, head of the Halacha Department of the Jerusalem Institute of Technology, an outstanding Torah scholar, till this day takes on the work of the Institute as one of his many tasks.

80. Zomet (Tsivtei Mada‘ u-Tora) opened in Alon Shevut in 1977 as part of Yad Shapira. See I. Warhaftig in the introduction to Tehumin, vol. 1 (1980).

81. The Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem makes extensive use of the inventions developed by the Jerusalem Institute of Technology. The Health Fund’s hospitals purchased a system developed by Zomet for computer use on Shabbat and festivals. See Y. Rosen, “Pitronot Hilchatehniim le-Shimmush be-Shabbat be-Mahshev le-Qelitat Holim,Sefer Assia, vol. 4, pp. 135-38.

82. Rabbi Levi Yitshak Halperin (Head of the Halacha Department of the Jerusalem Institute of Technology), Shu”t Ma‘aseh Hoshev (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute of Technology, 5757).

83. Halacha u-Refu’a: Qovets Halacha be-Inyanei Refu’a, five volumes, ed. Rabbi Moshe Herschler (Jerusalem, Chicago: Regensberg Institute).

84. Ha-Refu’a le-Or ha-Halacha, Mechkarim ve-Birurim be-Nosim Shonim be-Refuah, 4 volumes & 2 Issues, Le’Kidum Publishers, The Israeli Bio-technology Institutes, edited by faculty members of the Schlesinger Institute, (Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute, 1980-1985).

85. Emeq Halacha Assia: She’elot u-Teshuvot be-Inyanei Refua, 2 volumes. First vol. ed. by M. Halperin (Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute and Emeq Halacha Foundation, 1986); second vol. ed. by A. Steinberg (New York: Mikhael Sharf Foundation at Yeshiva University, 1989).

86. Bi-Shevilei ha-Refu’a: Ha-Refua le-Or ha-Halacha ve-Hashqafat ha-Yahadut, 10 issues (Qiryat Tsanz: Laniado Hospital, 1979-93).

87. Me’orot: Riv‘on ha-Rabbanut ha-Rashit le-Yisrael le-Inyanei Halacha, Aggada, Mussar ve-Yahadut, 3 issues, ed. by Israeli Chief Rabbinate (Jerusalem: Heichal Shlomo, 1980-81). The second issue was devoted to medicine and halacha.

88. M. Assaf, Ha-Refu’a ba-Meqorot: Leqet mi-toch ha-Tanach, Mishna, Talmudim, Midrashim, Zohar, Rambam, ve-Rishonim (Jerusalem: Reuven Mass Publishers, 1983). Similar in concept to Midrash ha-Refua but does not contain as many ancient sources.

89. Ha-Refuah, Journal of the Israeli Medical Association.

90. Published by the medical wing of Kuppat Holim ha-Kelalit. ISSN 0334-4169.

91. The lecturers for these courses are among the leaders in medicine and Judaism and include Prof. A.S. Abraham, Dr. M. Halperin, Prof. Shemuel Kottek, Prof. Avraham Steinberg, and Rabbi Yigal Shafran.

92. Harav Ovadia Yossef, b.1920, Baghdad, Sephardi Chief Rabbi 1973-1983 and received the Israel Prize in 1970. By 1945 he was appointed as a member of the Sephardi Beit Din of Jerualem. Between 1947-1950 he served as the Av Beit Din in Cairo and on his return to Israel served in the Beit Din of Petach Tikva, Jerusalem and the Court of Appeal. In 1968 he was appointed as the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. His many written works contain hundreds of answers and halachic decisions on medical-halachic issues.

 93. Rosh kollel of Beit David in Holon and son-in-law of R. Shalom Y. Eliashiv, considered the leading halachic authority of the Lithuanian world since the passing of Rabbi Auerbach. In the fourth decade Torat Ha’Yoldot, the joint work of Rabbi Zilberstein and Dr. Y. Rothschild (director and initiator of Ma‘ainei Ha-Yeshu‘ah Hospital in Bnei Brak) was published. Torat Ha-Yoldot contains a vast amount of material on the laws of new mother and the medical team treating her. A second edition appeared at the end of the decade.

 94. The lectures are circulated to participants only. Some of the lectures have been published in various places for example, Be-Shvilei Ha-Refu’a and Assia.

95. The First International Conference in Medical Ethics and Halacha, held by the AOJS in New York, January 1989.

96. The Book of the Conference entitled Medicine and Jewish Law, was published a year and a half later, edited by Prof. F. Rosner, (Northvale, NJ; London: Jason Aronson Inc.1990).

97. Held by The Falk Schlesinger Institute for Medical Halachic Research at The Albert Einstein Medical School, New York.

98. A Hebrew and English edition of the book of the conference was published in 1996 and contains the scientific, ethical and legal background as well as halchic answers by great poskim to questions on practical medicine as was presented throughout the conference.

99. Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute, Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

100. As rabbi of the department, Rabbi Shafran was appointed director. He has given an elective course in Jewish medical ethics at the Jerusalem Medical School since the late 1980s. In 1992, a seminar day for Rabbis and physicians on the topic of “Gynecology, Fertility and Newborns in Halachic Perspective” initiated by Dr. Chana Katane, was held by the Department. Topics included: the fetus and its status, premature babies and newborns, family planning and fertility treatment. These lectures were published as a book in 1993 by the Department for Medicine and Halacha and edited by Rabbi Yoel Katane. A similar second conference was held in 1998 and the book that compiles the lectures was published in 2000, edited by Rabbi Yoel Katane.

 101. The Nehorai Institute is headed by Rabbi Binyamin Weiss, a unique figure who combines great breadth in halacha with medical knowledge and high-tech experience.

102. For more details see Assia, 61-62 (1998) p. 42; JME 3, no.1 (1997) p. 57

103. Until recently, the address of the chat group at was available for use.

104. The sites enable free downloading of articles on Jewish Medical Ethics as well as the ordering and payment of professional literature.

105. The links are interesting and updated.

106. Pisqei Din Refu’a u-Mishpat (Tel Aviv: Israel Association for Medicine and Law in conjunction with the Israeli Medical Union and the Lawyers’ Association Council for the Tel-Aviv Region, 1989).

107. Civil Appeal 88/506, Yael Shefer vs. The State of Israel 48. Prof. Elon, The First International Conference on Medical Ethics and Halacha, (Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute, 1996) pp. 21-118,

108. M. Elon, New Horizons in Medical Ethics (Jerusalem, Schlesinger Institute, 1997).

109. Proceedings of the Knesset, vol. 125 [5752], pp. 3782-83.

110. First reading, ibid., vol. 32, p. 156.

111. Patients’ Rights Act 1996, Sefer ha-Huqqim 1591, 23 Iyyar 5756 (5/12/96).

112. M. Halperin, “Hitnaggdut Horim le-Nittuah ha-Tinnoq ha-Mesukkan,” Sefer Assia, vol. 8, pp. 19-31.

113. For example: Shmuel Yellinek, Holada Be-Avlah – Zechuyot Tviya‘h ve-Pizuyim, Ashley Publishers, Tel Aviv 1997, Amnon Ben Dror, Immutz ve-Pondika’ut, Kook Publishers, Tel Aviv 1994

114. Rosner F. (ed.), Pioneers in Jewish Medical Ethics, (Northvale, NJ; Jerusalem: Jason Aronson Inc., 1997).

115. “Ha-Noteh Lamut”, A. Steinberg Medical Halachic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4; Sefer Assia, vol. 7, Section 2: Keviya’t Rega‘ Ha-mavet ve-Hashtalot Lev.

116. See M. Halperin, Terumat Chomer Genety be-Tipulei Puriut – Hebbetim Refui’m ve-Hilchati’m, Torah She-Ba’al Peh, 33 pp. 101-115, (Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, 1992), and the footnotes on pages 109 and 113; Assufat Ma’amarim Likrat Kinnus ha-Kenes ha-Beynleumi ha-Sheyni le-Refu’a, Etikah ve-Halacha, (Jerusalem: Schlesinger Institute, 1996), pp.321-327; A. Steinberg, Shibbut Bnei Adam – Hebbetim Madayi’m, Musari’ym ve-Yehudi’ym, Assia 61-62, pp.27-42 (1998).

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