Yeshiva University News » Medical Ethics

From World-Class Faculty to Unique Opportunities, Seniors Reflect on Yeshiva University Experience

On May 22, some 600 new graduates will march across the stage at the Izod Center to receive their diplomas during Yeshiva University’s 83rd Commencement Exercises, completing a foundational chapter in their educational journeys and moving on to exciting new opportunities. Before they toss their caps in the air, members of the Class of 2014 shared some of their favorite moments and the profound experiences that shaped their undergraduate careers, as well as dreams that started here but which they will carry with them all their lives.

“Yeshiva University created opportunities that I never dreamed of,” said Yosefa Schoor, of Monsey, New York, who hopes to attend medical school. Read the rest of this entry…

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Exhibition Presented by YU Museum in Collaboration with Einstein Explores Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine

Modern medicine emerged in the second half of the 19th century, as innovative technologies and new theories of disease paved the way for extraordinary medical advances. For Jews, and for the Jewish community at large, the field of scientific medicine presented new opportunities, new challenges and new ways to engage with modernity. Through an array of original medical instruments, artifacts, documents, letters, photographs and video, Trail of the Magic Bullet: The Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine, 1860-1960, explores the Jewish encounter with modern medicine on an individual, communal and religious level. The exhibition, on display at the Yeshiva University Museum through August 12, brings the conversation up to the present, concluding with a specially produced film that examines key issues in contemporary Jewish bioethics.

Einstein's Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman speaks to local high school students.

On March 21, Trail of the Magic Bullet was the centerpiece of two educational initiatives. In the morning, in a program organized by Ilana Benson, museum educator at the YU Museum, 80 students from four Jewish New York area high schools used the exhibition as the jumping off point for discussions around the role of halakha in medicine and the training of the Jewish medical student across history. Science, pre-med and AP biology students from Yeshiva University High School for Boys, Yeshiva University High School for Girls, DRS Yeshiva High School and Yeshiva of Flatbush participated. In tandem with tours of the exhibition, Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine led the students in discussions of key medical case studies and gave an interactive lecture on the history of the training of Jewish medical students. In addition to seeing a range of rare medical artifacts, documents, posters and letters, the students from these schools had the chance to engage on topics such as organ donation, genetic testing and general Jewish medical ethics.

In the evening, the Yeshiva University Medical Ethics Society also brought 40 undergraduate students to the museum to experience the Trail of the Magic Bullet exhibition, and to participate in another lecture given by Reichman. The students heard about and discussed the experience of Jewish doctors in the modern medical field and developments that have facilitated the participation of Jewish doctors within modern medicine. The program featured a rich and engaging discussion around such issues as the acceptance of Jews into secular medical schools, advancements in medical technologies, and the role of halakha in connection to the medical field and contemporary bioethics.

Surgery, Newark Beth Israel Hospital, early 20th century / Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey

These two programs highlight the educational impact and potential of the exhibition and attest to the value of the collaboration between the YU Museum and Einstein.

The exhibition celebrated its opening with a program on February 29, 2012, which featured a discussion by Dr. Edward Burns, executive dean of Einstein, on the Jewish role within the medical profession; and the screening of “Heal, You Shall Heal” (produced and directed by Ilana Trachtman), a film that was commissioned and developed by YU Museum in conjunction with the exhibition.

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Student Medical Ethics Society Presents Sixth Annual Conference on November 6

Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society (MES) will host their sixth annual conference on Sunday, November 6, entitled “In the Public Eye: Jewish Perspectives on Public Health” at YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY.

The conference will provide participants with the broad medical and legal foundations needed to understand public health dilemmas including obesity, smoking, vaccinations, circumcision and the allocation of scarce resources. It will also offer exposure to social and ethical issues surrounding these challenges, both in American society and the Jewish community, as well as a discussion of how the system of halacha [Jewish law] approaches these complex difficulties.

“The line between medical ethics and legal ethics is a very fine one,” said Yeshiva College senior Daniel Elefant, who, along with Rachel Blinick, a senior at Stern College for Women, serves as co-president of MES. “Public health, the theme of this year’s conference, is an area where we will be able to see how halacha deals with the intersection between the ethics of health and healthcare and American legal ethics. By raising awareness about health issues that are widespread in our generation, we hope to influence healthier lifestyles for the individual, for the community and for society as a whole.”

John Banzhaf, a professor at George Washington University Law School and a leading anti-smoking and anti-obesity advocate, will be addressing these themes. “The conference offers me the opportunity to address these problems from a unique perspective—to use religious motivation as a novel weapon in the war on smoking and for nonsmokers’ rights, and to learn from young people coming from a different cultural background,” said Banzhaf.

In addition to Banzhaf, the conference will feature leading experts in medicine and halacha, including Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler, senior rosh yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics at Yeshiva College; Rabbi Hershel Schacter, Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud at RIETS; and Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, president and CEO at St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, NY and professor of clinical medicine at New York Medical College.

“Conventional medical halacha has generally focused on issues of treatment,” said Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, conference chairman and associate professor at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The Medical Ethics Society has chosen to draw attention to a topic that is often ignored: preventative medicine. The Rambam (Maimonides) was already acutely aware of the importance of health maintenance to facilitate religious observance, and as has been our practice for all our conferences, we will bring together renowned experts in medicine and halacha to address this theme.”

The conference is open to the public but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register visit www.yumedicalethics.com or contact medicalethics@yu.edu.

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Feb. 13 Student Medical Ethics Society Conference to Explore Genetics from Halakhik, Ethical and Scientific Perspectives

Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society (MES) will be hosting a half-day conference on Sunday, February 13, entitled Genomics and Jewish Identity at YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY.

The conference will provide participants with a broad foundation for the medical background needed to understand the genetic code, as well as the advanced research pertaining to the Jewish population. Topics covered include the halakhic [Jewish law] challenges that arise from human genetics, how individuals count themselves and genetic privacy. Participants will also be introduced to an overview of the fundamental ethical dilemmas surrounding genetics, as well as how the system of halakha approaches these complex issues.

“Understanding and utilizing genomic techniques may help one understand his or her genetic heritage in a capacity that was never achievable in the past,” said Stern College for Women’s Jennie Kraut, who along with Adiel Munk of Yeshiva College, serves as co-president of MES. “Our hope in hosting this conference is to explain to the broader Jewish community the importance and significance of this cutting-edge field of research through the guidance of some of the greatest leaders in the field.”

Conference sponsors include YU’s Center for the Jewish Future and New York University.

“Genomic analysis is changing, but also cementing, how people think about themselves and others,” said Dr. Harry Ostrer, director of the Human Genetics Program at the NYU School of Medicine. “This conference is the first of its type to explore how genomics affects Jewish identity.”

In addition to Dr. Ostrer, the conference will feature leading experts in medicine and halakha, including Dr. Edward Burns, executive dean of YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, associate professor of philosophy and history of medicine at Einstein; and Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, the newly appointed vice provost for undergraduate education at YU.

Reichman, who also serves as mentor to MES, said the recent advances in genetics raise “almost as many halakhic questions as there are genes in the human genome.”

Some examples he cited: “Can we trace our genetic lineage back to Avraham Avinu? If so, what is the halakhic significance? Do genes define the Jew? What is the halakhic significance of the Kohen gene?  Must every Kohen now take a cheek swab before he gets called up to the Torah? Should you check genetic lineage before you date someone? And how does this knowledge enhance or affect our belief?”

The conference is open to the public but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register visit www.yumedicalethics.com or contact medicalethics@yu.edu.

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Over 500 Attend Student-Run Medical Ethics Conference Exploring Mental Health from Medical, Halachic Perspectives

More than 500 students, faculty, alumni and guests attended this year’s Medical Ethics Conference on Sunday, October 31, at Yeshiva University’s Washington Heights Wilf Campus. The conference, titled “A Beautiful Mind: Jewish Approaches to Mental Health”—organized by the YU Student Medical Ethics Society (MES) in conjunction with the Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) and sponsored by Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Anita Fuld—tackled important issues in mental health, coupling medical perspectives with those of leading rabbinic authorities on emerging issues. The conference, the fifth organized by MES, followed its similarly successful symposiums on Jewish law and genetics, end-of-life decisions, infertility and organ donation.

The event featured prominent experts in medicine, mental health and Halacha [Jewish law] in a full day of plenaries and breakout sessions, giving participants the background needed to understand key issues, including suicide, depression, eating disorders, addictions and substance abuse.

The more than 50 members of the MES were mentored by Rabbi Edward Reichman, M.D. ’86YC, ’90E, ’97R, associate professor of emergency medicine and associate professor in the Division of Education and Bioethics at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Highlighting the importance of mental health, Reichman pointed to the tradition in Jewish prayer to ask for refuat hanefesh [health of the soul] before refuat haguf [health of the body], a hierarchy backed up by medical research.

SMES Co-Presidents Adiel Munk and Jennie Kraut

Adiel Munk, co-president of the MES along with Jennie Kraut, said that he hopes the conference will “fill a need in the community for locally and globally understanding the relationship between medical ethics and Halacha, especially in breaking the silence surrounding some mental health topics.” Kraut added that they were “very excited to be holding an event like none [she] had ever seen before, that covers these issues from the combined perspectives of medicine, ethics and Halacha.”

A session on alcohol and substance abuse included noted author Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, founder and medical director emeritus of Gateway Rehabilitation Center.  Speaking to the complexities of dealing with those issues in the Orthodox world, Twerski said, “In order to give a Halachic decision, one must know the details of Halacha and the facts of alcohol and drugs.  Without both, one cannot be considered well-informed.”

The conference featured other medical experts such as Dr. David Brent, academic chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute; Dr. Harvey Kranzler, professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Einstein; and Dr. Tia Powell, director of the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Bioethics and director of the Einstein-Cardozo Masters of Science in Bioethics program.

Dr. Edward Reichman, M.D.

Rabbinic authorities included Rabbi Yona Reiss, The Max and Marion Grill dean of RIETS; Rabbi Mordechai Willig, rosh yeshiva [professor of Talmud] and the Sol Roth professor of Talmud and contemporary Halacha at RIETS; and Rabbi Herschel Schachter, the Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professor of Talmud at RIETS and head of its Marcos and Adina Katz Kollel.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, The David Mitzner Dean of CJF, a supporter of the program and mentor to the MES organizers, noted that the conference, “by combining cutting-edge medicine with Halacha to focus on important issues of mental health, celebrated the uniqueness of Yeshiva University in its ability to convene its faculty of both scientific experts and Torah scholars to discuss contemporary issues.”

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Student Medical Ethics Conference to Explore Jewish Approaches to Mental Health on Oct. 31

Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society (MES) will be hosting its fifth annual conference, entitled A Beautiful Mind: Jewish Approaches to Mental Health on Sunday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY. The conference is sponsored through the generous support of Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Anita Fuld.

MES, a student run organization under the guidance of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), was founded in fall 2005 to promote education and awareness of medical ethics at YU. Since that time, it has grown from a small group of students with common interests to a major campus organization running large-scale events and educational programming with University-wide participation. Its previous conferences dealt with organ donation, fertility, end-of-life issues in Jewish law and modern genetics.

The Oct. 31 conference will provide participants with a broad foundation for the medical background needed to understand mental health, as well as the advanced medical research and practices used today to prevent and manage mental health challenges. Topics covered include suicide, depression, eating disorders, addictions, substance abuse and more. Participants will also be introduced to an overview of the fundamental ethical dilemmas surrounding mental health, as well as how the system of halacha [Jewish law] approaches these complex issues.

Jennie Kraut, a student at Stern College for Women who along with Adiel Munk, a student at Yeshiva College, serves as co-president of MES, hopes the conference will provide a public forum for issues that are considered taboo in the Orthodox Jewish community.

“We want people to recognize that the mental health issues that either they themselves, or someone that they know, is grappling with are legitimate and that it’s okay to talk about these issues” explained Kraut. “There is a large stigma against people who are struggling with mental health issues in the Jewish community and we are hoping that by educating them we will, at the very least, spark some discussion in the Orthodox Jewish world.”

“We felt that there was no better way to bring these issues to light than by convening the top experts in the country who are not only familiar with these kinds of topics but also with the Orthodox Jewish community,” added Munk.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, The David Mitzner Dean of CJF, helped launch MES five years ago and serves as one of the group’s mentors.

“These are issues that affect all of us in one way or another,” said Rabbi Brander. “As members of families, communities and society we must not shy away from the tough issues we face. It is important that we deal with these issues with first-rate medical experts and through the prism of halacha.”

In addition to gaining broad knowledge in medical, ethical, and halachic issues of mental health, conference participants will be able to choose from a series of specialized tracks, each geared toward in-depth analysis of the most pressing issues in the field. These tracks include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bullying and Harassing, Child Abuse, Living with a Mentally Ill Family Member and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

“Yeshiva University is the embodiment of Torah U’madda,” said program director and mentor, Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, associate professor of philosophy and history of medicine at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The philosophy of the institution permeates its students, who are infused with a love of learning and acquiring knowledge. The Medical Ethics Society consists of men and women who truly reflect the University’s ideals.”

The conference is open to the public but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register visit www.yumedicalethics.com or contact yumedicalethics@gmail.com.

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Sep 27, 2010 — Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society (MES) will be hosting its fifth annual conference, entitled A Beautiful Mind: Jewish Approaches to Mental Health on Sunday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY. The conference is sponsored through the generous support of Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Anita Fuld.

MES, a student run organization under the guidance of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), was founded in fall 2005 to promote education and awareness of medical ethics at YU. Since that time, it has grown from a small group of students with common interests to a major campus organization running large-scale events and educational programming with University-wide participation. Its previous conferences dealt with organ donation, fertility, end-of-life issues in Jewish law and modern genetics.

The Oct. 31 conference will provide participants with a broad foundation for the medical background needed to understand mental health, as well as the advanced medical research and practices used today to prevent and manage mental health challenges. Topics covered include suicide, depression, eating disorders, addictions, substance abuse and more. Participants will also be introduced to an overview of the fundamental ethical dilemmas surrounding mental health, as well as how the system of halacha [Jewish law] approaches these complex issues.

Jennie Kraut, a student at Stern College for Women who along with Adiel Munk, a student at Yeshiva College, serves as co-president of MES, hopes the conference will provide a public forum for issues that are considered taboo in the Orthodox Jewish community.

“We want people to recognize that the mental health issues that either they themselves, or someone that they know, is grappling with are legitimate and that it’s okay to talk about these issues” explained Kraut. “There is a large stigma against people who are struggling with mental health issues in the Jewish community and we are hoping that by educating them we will, at the very least, spark some discussion in the Orthodox Jewish world.”

“We felt that there was no better way to bring these issues to light than by convening the top experts in the country who are not only familiar with these kinds of topics but also with the Orthodox Jewish community,” added Munk.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, The David Mitzner Dean of CJF, helped launch MES five years ago and serves as one of the group’s mentors.

“These are issues that affect all of us in one way or another,” said Rabbi Brander. “As members of families, communities and society we must not shy away from the tough issues we face. It is important that we deal with these issues with first-rate medical experts and through the prism of halacha.”

In addition to gaining broad knowledge in medical, ethical, and halachic issues of mental health, conference participants will be able to choose from a series of specialized tracks, each geared toward in-depth analysis of the most pressing issues in the field. These tracks include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bullying and Harassing, Child Abuse, Living with a Mentally Ill Family Member and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

“Yeshiva University is the embodiment of Torah U’madda,” said program director and mentor, Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, associate professor of philosophy and history of medicine at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The philosophy of the institution permeates its students, who are infused with a love of learning and acquiring knowledge. The Medical Ethics Society consists of men and women who truly reflect the University’s ideals.”

The conference is open to the public but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register visit www.yumedicalethics.com or contact yumedicalethics@gmail.com.

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Last year's bone-marrow recruitment drives signed up a record number of students, faculty and staff on campus.

Feb 12, 2009 — After their tremendously successful bone marrow drives last year, the Yeshiva University Student Medical Ethics Society has dedicated February as Bone-Marrow Awareness Month—or B.A.M!!!—on campus. Throughout the month, the group will hold drives to recruit new donors to the Gift of Life registry and raise awareness about medical issues and Halacha [Jewish law].

B.A.M!!! will hold four strategically placed drives throughout the month of February. Two drives, on Feb. 3 and 15, at the annual SOY Seforim Sale on the Wilf Campus will recruit new donors from the huge crowds of community members that the book sale attracts to YU.

Dr. Edward Reichman, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine and of clinical epidemiology and population health at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will give an educational lecture, “The Halachic Hero: How Far Must One Go To Save a Life?”, on Feb. 17. The lecture, co-sponsored by the Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future, will also feature Jay Feinberg, founder of Gift of Life Foundation, and will be followed by a mini-drive.

Finally, two all-day bone marrow drives will recruit YU students on the uptown Wilf Campus and on the midtown Beren Campus on Feb. 18.

The B.A.M!!! campaign will increase awareness about the need to sign up onto the bone marrow donor registry with colorful fliers and other creative marketing techniques that will be highly visible on campus.

“Despite the difficult economic times and in light of recent financial debacles, we feel that now more than ever it is crucial to double our efforts in student activism,” Avi Amsalem, co-president of the Medical Ethics Society and a bone-marrow donor himself, said. “Greed and corruption have crippled our economy; and it is the passion of these talented students—tomorrow’s leaders—that will aid in restoring the integrity and credibility we desperately strive to see once more.”

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L-R: Dr. Alexander Okun, Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Rabbi Simcha Scholar and Rabbi Mordechai Willig.

Sep 15, 2008 — The annual Yeshiva University Student Medical Ethics Society conference, held on September 14, focused on gaining greater understanding of the sanctity of life and the intersection of Jewish and secular law in dealing with palliative, or end-of-life, care. The third annual student-run conference was attended by 250 people from diverse professional backgrounds from both within and without the YU community.

“The conference held six breakout sessions, an adult end-of-life plenary session and a final pediatric end-of-life plenary session,” said Rifka Wieder, co-president of the Student Medical Ethics Society with Avi Amsalem. “We created an environment conducive to academic growth and intellectual stimulation in an intimate and comfortable setting to help people to gain a deeper understanding of the intricate issues at stake.”

Click here to see photos from the conference.

“There was no greater reward for the student board and volunteers than to watch eight months of planning and hard work materialize before our eyes,” said Amsalem. “Even though we planned every detail of the conference ahead of time, we were still amazed to see a finished product of such high-quality content and presentation.”

The thorny ethical issues associated with end-of-life challenges are further complicated when Halakhah [Jewish law] and secular law overlap. A diverse line-up of professors, ethicists, medical doctors, hospital administrators and, of course, rabbis delved into the issues surrounding assisted suicide, organ donation, pain management, health care proxies and do-not-resuscitate orders.

Rabbi Mordechai Willig, the Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth Professor of Talmud and Contemporary Halakhah and a Rosh Yeshiva at YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), indicated that within the rabbinic community “there are widely divergent views of our responsibilities to terminal patients.”

Serious pain is a consideration, Rabbi Willig said. He cited such revered decisors as the late Rabbis Moshe Feinstein, z”l, and Yakov Yisroel Kanievsky, z”l, who both said it was important to take into account pain with respect to withholding further treatment.

The general statement that a person must always fight for his last breath is not as simple as it appears, said Rabbi Moshe Tendler, a biology professor at Yeshiva College and a RIETS Rosh Yeshiva, who is one of the country’s leading experts on medical ethics issues as they pertain to Jewish law. He provided an example presented in the Talmud about the end-of-life issue presented by a person being burned at the stake. It is not permissible, Rabbi Tendler said, for the person to breathe in the fire, which would make him die faster, but it is permissible to remove the wet wool that had been placed around his chest to extend his life and prolong his suffering. Applied to current situations, Rabbi Tendler said, “Talmud interprets this as you can stop therapy, but you can’t hasten death.”

Joining the rabbinic experts were palliative care professionals and administrators from hospitals in the New York metropolitan area.

Dr. Alexander Okun, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a pediatrician at Montefiore Medical Center, gave a moving presentation on the unique and very often heartbreaking challenges of pediatric end-of-life care. Dr. Okun spoke about the kinds of problems faced by parents who choose not to tell their children about the nature or severity of their illness, employing a kind of “benevolent deception” to prevent further mental anguish to the child.

Dr. Okun’s working assumption was that a child under the age of 18 is not yet an adult and must have an adult making decisions for him or her, but as an example of where Jewish and secular law differ, Rabbi Willig stated that at age 13 for boys, and at age 12 for girls, Jews are considered adults and deserve the right to be involved in decisions related to their own care.

Dr. Beth Popp, associate director of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology and head of the Palliative Care Program at Maimonides Medical Center, spoke about the challenges faced by Orthodox patients and how they interact with hospitals and hospital administrators in end-of-life situations. Dr. Tia Powell, director of the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Bioethics, discussed the diverse kinds of challenges faced by hospital bioethics committees.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, added a personal perspective to the conference with his account of the loss of a newborn child from a beta-strep infection. As a result of their loss, Rabbi Brander and his wife led a successful state and federal campaign to install practice protocols in neo-natal care to prevent future deaths from this preventable illness.

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Sep 14, 2008 — Miraculous advances in recent medical treatments have raised many ethical and halakhic [Jewish law] dilemmas, particularly concerning end of life. Yeshiva University (YU) Student Medical Ethics Society (SMES) will address these complex and sensitive issues at its third annual conference, entitled “The Sanctity of Life: A Jewish Approach to End-of-Life Challenges” on Sunday, September 14 from 9am to 3pm at YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY.

SMES, a student run organization, was founded in fall 2005 with the guidance of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) to promote education and awareness of medical ethics at YU. Since that time, SMES has grown from a small group of students with common interests to a major campus organization running large-scale events and educational programming with university-wide participation. Their two previous conferences dealt with organ donation and fertility in Jewish law.

With the help of prominent doctors, rabbis, psychologists, and social workers, the conference will explore various end-of-life topics, including decision making capacity, palliation of pain, hospice care, decisions not to treat, do not resuscitate orders, and organ donation. All the presenters have extensive professional experience dealing with end-of-life issues in their respective fields.

“These are issues that all of us face, either as patients ourselves, family members or members of the community,” says Dr. Beth Popp, director of palliative care at Maimonides Medical Center. “Education about aspects of care for patients with serious illness is an important part of being able to handle these issues when we are faced with them.” Dr. Popp will speak from a medical perspective in the main session on adult end of life entitled “Moments That Matter.”

The conference will also include a psychosocial discussion between Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of the CJF, and Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president of Chai Lifeline. By sharing from their own personal and professional experiences, the rabbis will discuss what is appropriate for parents, family and friends to do and say when faced with pediatric end-of-life challenges.

“As an Orthodox Jew, religion plays a vital role in how I deal with medical issues on a daily basis,” says Dr. Stuart M. Greenstein, a professor of surgery and an attending surgeon at Montefiore Medical Center – Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Rabbis and Jewish patients consult with me all the time. That’s why it is so important that the Jewish community is educated in these matters.” A Harvard graduate, Dr. Greenstein is one of only a few Orthodox transplant surgeons in the United States and will discuss organ donation at the conference.

Student Avi Amsalem, who along with Rifka Wieder serves as co-president of SMES, hopes that the conference will encourage the greater Jewish community to think about medical ethics from a Jewish perspective. “The Student Medical Ethics Society is composed of a group of talented, motivated, hardworking students. We look to spread education in the realm of halakha and medical ethics not only on the Yeshiva campus but to other communities in the tri-state area and across the country.”

The conference is open to the public but pre-registration is required. To register or for more information please visit us online at www.yu.edu/medicalethics or contact YUMedicalEthics@gmail.com.

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