'Jewish medical ethics in the 21st century'

Fred Rosner, Professor of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Director of the Department of Medicine, the Queens Hospital Center

Mon 28 April - Thurs 1 May 2003, 5.15pm daily, including a community lecture Sun 27 April 

Venue: Arts Lecture Theatre in the Arts Building, University of Manchester (Building 24 on Campus Map)


Community Lecture Sun 27 April: 'Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits: Grandfather of Jewish Medical Ethics'

This lecture will provide a brief biographical sketch of the professional life of the late Chief Rabbi and will then summarize his seminal contributions to the ever-burgeoning field of Jewish Medical Ethics which he pioneered.


1. Mon 28 April: 'Organ Transplantation'

This lecture presents an in-depth analysis of the Jewish legal and moral issues and principles in heart, kidney, cornea, and other organ transplantation which relate to the donor, the recipient, the medical team, and society at large. The majority or consensus of rabbinic opinion on these issues will be offered in order to provide practical guidelines for patients and their families.


2. Tue 29 April: 'Assisted Reproduction'

Since infertility affects a significant part of the Jewish community worldwide, the new reproductive technologies to assist Jewish couples in having children are of paramount importance. In this lecture, the Jewish moral and legal questions relating to artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, test tube babies, and host or surrogate motherhood will be discusses and a framework provided for the answers so as to offer practical guidance in this ever expanding field of endeavor.


3. Wed 30 April 'Death and Dying Issues'

This lecture will discuss classic Jewish sources such as the Bible, Talmud, Codes of Jewish Law, and rabbinic Responsa Literature to illustrate the Jewish attitude toward the dying including the topics of euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, hospice, prolongation of life by artificial means, feeding tubes, removal of respirators, pain relief for terminal suffering, resuscitation and related topics.

This very sensitive area of Jewish Medical Ethics affects everyone, directly or indirectly including the patient, family, friends, and medical team and society at large. Clarification of many of the questions most often raised in relation to treatment or non-treatment of terminally ill will be provided so as to offer practical guidance to the Jewish community based on rabbinic precedents and principles.


4. Thur 1 May: 'Genetics'  

The burgeoning field of human genetics has recently been witness to the claim that human beings have been successfully cloned. The Jewish community has vital interests in genetic screening and gene therapy for Jewish genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs disease, Gaucher's disease, Canavan's disease dysautonomia, hemophilia, muscular dystrophy and, more recently, genetic screening for breast cancer in Ashkenazi women and prostate cancer in Jewish men. Who should be screened? When and where should screening be done? Is genetic therapy permissible in Judaism? Is genetic engineering and DNA research allowed in Jewish Law? Is the human Genome Project an encroachment on G-d's divine plan for the earth? Are we interfering with the divine will by manipulating nature this way? Is any type of cloning or stem cell research permitted in Jewish Law? These difficult questions will be addressed in this in depth presentation of the Jewish views toward genetic screening, genetic therapy and cloning.


Dr. Fred Rosner is Director of the Department of Medicine at the Queens Hospital Center, Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Visiting Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is an internationally recognized expert in the field of Jewish bioethics. A prolific writer, he has published 36 books and over 800 articles, reviews manuscripts for 16 professional medical journals, and has authored six acclaimed books on Jewish medical ethics including Modern Medicine and Jewish Ethics, and Medicine and Jewish Law I and II. Dr. Rosner is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in World Jewry and has lectured in twelve countries on five continents.