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Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

    Ginsburg-Ingerman Overseas Student Program

    Spring 2010

    BIOMEDICAL AND JEWISH MEDICAL ETHICS

    Course Instructor: Prof. Stephen D. Benin

    Course Description:

    MEDICAL ETHICS PLAYS A MAJOR ROLE WITHIN THE JEWISH TRADITION FROM TALMUDIC TO MODERN TIMES. FROM TALMUDIC DISCUSSIONS OF ILLNESS, PATIENTS, AND

    TREATMENTS THROUGH THE WRITINGS OF MAIMONIDES, THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD

    AND UNTIL TODAY THE ETHICAL ISSUES INVOLVED IN HEALING ARE A DETERMINATIVE FACTOR IN MEDICAL DISCUSSIONS.

    There are a variety of sources and discussions including those of Rabbi I. Jacobovits, who coined the term . It is important to distinguish between two types of ethics: ethical rules that draw their force from moral systems and ethical codes that create, clarify and institutionalize work relations and protect the rights of members of various professional guilds

    Modern medical ethics, developed rapidly during the second half of the twentieth century, when the Western world was faced with the horrors of World War II. Medical ethics incorporates medicine, philosophy, religion, law, history, psychology, sociology, and education. If in the past the preoccupation with medical ethics had been in the hands of a few, the majority of whom were physicians that already worked in the field, today this branch has developed to be a popular field of interest not only for physicians but for experts in other fields as well as the wider public. These are issues and topics to be determined that could become the focus of such a course.

Teaching Method

    The weekly sessions will be comprised of a lecture which will then be followed by class discussion based on a critical reading of the weekly assignments.

    Learning Goals

    The aim of this course is to give the students a new and exciting way of approaching the topic of Jewish Biomedical Ethics.

Requirements and Evaluation

    1. 30% Active participation in class discussion

    2. 30% Class presentation

    3. 40% Term paper

     Students will conduct part of one class after assigning a topic of interest and lead the class discussion

    Term Paper will be based on an issue selected in consultation with the instructor, utilizing primary sources.

    Basic texts:

    Immanuel Jakobovits Jewish medical ethics: a comparative and historical study of the Jewish religious attitude to medicine and its practice

    Fred Rosner, Pioneers in Jewish medical ethics

     , Contemporary biomedical ethical issues and Jewish law

    Sources and articles at: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/medtoc.html

    BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

    Books and articles by J. David Bleich (including his most recent, Bioethical

    Dilemmas: A Jewish Perspective [Ktav, 1998]), Fred Rosner, Moshe Tendler, and Joel

    Wolowelsky are generally good resources for you for Orthodox positions available in English. Noam Zohar's book, Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics (1997), is a thoughtful,

    Orthodox perspective that probes the boundaries of Orthodoxy on these issues, and so are . Immanuel Jakobovits' book, Jewish Medical Ethics (Bloch, 1959,

    1975), which began the field of Jewish medical ethics, is still a good, although somewhat dated Orthodox perspective as well. In Hebrew there are, of course, the teshuvot of R. Moshe Feinstein and of some of the Israeli Orthodox writers on bioethics, including Abraham Abraham, Simon Glick, Avraham Steinberg, and Eliezer Waldenberg. Some of their writings are now also available in English, as is the Israeli journal of bioethics, Assia. You might also want to check the book co-edited by David Feldman and Joel Wolowelsky, Jewish Law and the New Reproductive Technologies [Ktav,

    1997] for some Orthodox and some Conservative opinions. Probably the most comprehensive treatment of bioethics from an Orthodox point of view is Avraham Steinberg's Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics (2003, 3 vols.), now available in English as well as the original Hebrew version. Jewish Biomedical Law, edited by Daniel B. Sinclair

    (2005), presents some Israeli court cases on these issues as well as a sampling of Orthodox opinions.

    The many books of Reform responsa by Solomon Freehof contain some responsa on bioethics, but they are by now somewhat dated. More recent Reform responsa on bioethics can be found in the collections, American Reform Responsa (CCAR, 1985), New

    American Reform Responsa (CCAR, 1987), and Questions and Reform Jewish Answers: New

    American Reform Responsa (CCAR, 1992) , all edited by Walter Jacob, and the most recent collection,

    Reform Jewish Living (Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 2000), edited by Mark Washofsky. More Reform responsa can be found in the series of books co-edited by Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, including, for example, The Fetus and Fertility in Jewish

    Law: Essays and Responsa (Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, 1995) and Death and

    Euthanasia in Jewish Law: Essays and Responsa (Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah,

    1994).

    Two books on medical ethics have been written by authors affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement - namely, Behoref Hayamim: In the Winter of Life: A Values- Based Jewish Guide for Decision Making at the End of Life (no editor listed, 2002), and

Bioethics: Reinvigorating the Practice of Contemporary Jewish Ethics by David A. Teutsch

    (2005).

    BOOKS

    Assignments of chapters from books, and articles on websites to be distributed.

Course Schedule

WEEK 1: A. Definition of Concepts

    1. Introduction

    2. Medical Ethics

    3. Jewish Medical Ethics

    4. Medicine and Jewish Law

    5. Medicine and Halalcha

    6. Medicine & Judaism

    WEEK 2; Medical Halachic Literature: Ancient Times

    1. From the Biblical Period through the Eighteenth

    Century

    2. From the Early Nineteenth Century until the Establishment of the

    State of Israel

    WEEK 3: Jewish Ethics: The Literature, Structure, and Underlying Concepts of

    Jewish Ethics Generally and Jewish Medical Ethics in Particular; Methods to Derive

    Moral Guidance on Medical Issues from the Jewish Tradition WEEK 4: Doctor’s Obligations for Healing

     WEEK 5: Reproduction , Abortion

    WEEK 6: Fertility techniques; Gene and Stem Cells

WEEK 7: Organ Donation

    WEEK 8: Cloning

    WEEK 9: AIDS, Risky Surgery, Risk WEEK 10: Drugs and Alchohol

    WEEK 11: End of Life- Euthanasia WEEK 12: Triage, Priority, Limited Resources

     Summary, final issues

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