Dr. Robert Schulman, M.D.

Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism

Maimonides Medical Center, New York

AIDS - An Introduction


Todays session will focus on the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This is a new disease, the seminal cases first being described in June 1981. During the twelve ensuing years AIDS has become an epidemic of global proportions. Publications, books and articles in medical literature are appearing at an unprecedented rate. In the United States and elsewhere, AIDS has become a cause célèbre. It therefore should not surprise anyone that there are many halachic ramifications of this disease. As we physicians know, AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The biology of the virus is very complex, and its clinical manifestations are protean.

This morning we have assembled a very distinguished panel. Our first speaker will be Professor Jacob Fleischmann, who will discuss the medical aspects of the disease.

Dr. Fleischmann received his medical degree in 1976 at the State University of New York-Downstate Medical Center. He served his medical residency both at Maimonides Hospital and the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. From 1979 until 1982 he was a Fellow in Infectious Diseases at the UCLA Medical Center. In this capacity he was called in 1981 to see a male model who had esophagitis. Upon further examination, the esophagitis was caused by an opportunistic infection of cytomegalovirus. This was one of the first reported cases of AIDS. Dr. Fleischmann is presently an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the Associate Chief of Infectious Diseases at the West Los Angeles V.A. Medical Center. His major research interest is the molecular biology of fungal diseases.

Our next speaker is Shaare Zedeks very own Professor Abraham. Professor Abraham is eminently capable of bridging the two worlds of medicine and Torah. He received his M.B.C.H.B. from Leeds Medical School in England and his M.D. at the University of Birmingham for his pioneering work in oxygen and cor pulmonale. He is the recipient of the British and American Heart Association Award for outstanding research and also a Research Fellow at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He is currently the Director of Medicine and Professor of Medicine at the Hadassah Medical School. His major research focuses on trace elements in heart disease and he is renowned as an international researcher.

In the world of Torah, Professor Abraham is the author of several books including the award winning two volume, Lev Avraham, Medical Halacha for Everyone and the more recent Comprehensive Guide to Medical Halacha. His crowning achievement in the field of medicine and halacha is the four volume Nishmat Avraham.

Our final and most distinguished speaker will be Harav Yehoshua Neuwirth, who will answer the questions presented to him by Prof. Abraham. Rav Neuwirth was born in
Holland and made aliya shortly after the Holocaust. He is currently a Rav in Yeshivat Kol Torah and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Zeirim. Rav Neuwirth was the outstanding disciple of the prominent halachic authority of our generation, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
["] " and he is a halachic advisor on an international scale, receiving questions from all corners of the globe.

Rav Neuwirth is the author of Shmirat Shabbat Kehilchata, which is perhaps one of the most popular books on modern halacha. The book has been translated into English and is one of the fundamental texts in almost every Jewish home.