Jewish Bioethics

Jewish Bioethics



How do you define the precise moment of death? Should "pulling the plug" and mercy killings be allowed by law? Is it necessary to control the birth of "test tube babies"? Should abortions be legal and freely available? What are the social implications of sex-change operations? Should research on cloning and genetic engineering be allowed and encouraged? Should doctors be permitted to perform medical experiments on human subjects? For Jews, questions of this nature can only be answered within the framework of Halakhah (Jewish Law), and the great strides made in recent years by the life-sciences have opened up a host of such medical/halakhic problems. For while it has no quarrel with science itself, Judaism does demand that, like all human activities, science subordinate itself to higher ethical and legal imperatives. So scholars must first attempt to identify and formulate the ethnical issues involved, even before they can make judgments and suggest answers. In Jewish Bioethics, Fred Rosner, and Rabbi J. David Bleich have brought together the outstanding medical and rabbinic experts in the field to explore and discuss some of these most urgent and fascinating questions. Not only are many answers suggested, but also the halakhic decision making process is seen at work on matters of vital concern to our society and to every person in it.

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Jewish Bioethics