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Invisible or inimitable? Our kids need to feel that have unique value and are irreplaceable. An elderly, paralyzed woman choosing death has shocked and saddened me. Israel is treated according to a totally different standard than other countries in the international system. It’s a veiled way of saying that Jews and other minorities are no longer welcome. I went to camp with Ari Weiss. My friends and I can’t believe he’s gone. Virgil Smith, 68, heroically trudged into the Hurricane Harvey flood waters with an air mattress to transport his stranded neighbors to safety.

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A fascinating analysis of Judaism’s perspective on the nature of the masculine and feminine. As my son lay below me, silent and motionless, thoughts raced through my mind. How do I move past this one terrible mistake and realize we can have a long future full of happiness? Gaining objective definitions is the first step to intellectual honesty. Applying those definitions to life is what determines greatness. Advanced-level midrashic and Kabbalistic illuminations on the weekly parsha. Everything you need to know about the Jewish holiday. Share with your family and friends. Tu B’Shvat symbolizes the beginning of the transition from enslavement to redemption. Understanding the deeper connection between Miriam, Tu B'Shvat and celebrating the New Moon. Barbra Streisand will finally share her own traumatic alien abduction story. The Hanukkah Story in 8 hit songs. A short medley of pop music parodies through the ages. As abortion resurfaces as a political issue in the upcoming U. S. Presidential election, it is worthwhile to investigate the Jewish approach to the issue. The traditional Jewish view of abortion does not fit conveniently into any of the major camps in the current American abortion debate. We neither ban abortion completely, nor do we allow indiscriminate abortion on demand.

A woman may feel that until the fetus is born, it is a part of her body, and therefore she retains the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy. Does Judaism recognize a right to choose abortion? In what situations does Jewish law sanction abortion? To gain a clear understanding of when abortion is permitted (or even required) and when it is forbidden requires an appreciation of certain nuances of halacha (Jewish law) which govern the status of the fetus. 6As a general rule, abortion in Judaism is permitted only if there is a direct threat to the life of the mother by carrying the fetus to term or through the act of childbirth. In such a circumstance, the baby is considered tantamount to a rodef, a pursuer 6 after the mother with the intent to kill her. Nevertheless, as explained in the Mishna, 7 if it would be possible to save the mother by maiming the fetus, such as by amputating a limb, abortion would be forbidden. Despite the classification of the fetus as a pursuer, once the baby's head or most of its body has been delivered, the baby's life is considered equal to the mother's, and we may not choose one life over another, because it is considered as though they are both pursuing each other. It is important to point out that the reason that the life of the fetus is subordinate to the mother is because the fetus is the cause of the mother's life-threatening condition, whether directly (e. G. Due to toxemia, placenta previa, or breach position) or indirectly (e. Exacerbation of underlying diabetes, kidney disease, or hypertension). 8 A fetus may not be aborted to save the life of any other person whose life is not directly threatened by the fetus, such as use of fetal organs for transplant. Judaism recognizes psychiatric as well as physical factors in that the fetus poses to the mother. However, the danger posed by the fetus (whether physical or emotional) must be both probable and substantial to justify abortion. 9 The degree of mental illness that must be present to justify termination of a pregnancy has been widely debated by rabbinic scholars, 65 without a clear consensus of opinion regarding the exact criteria for permitting abortion in such instances. 66 Nevertheless, all agree that were a pregnancy to causes a woman to become truly suicidal, there would be grounds for abortion. 67 However, several modern rabbinical experts ruled that since pregnancy-induced and post-partum depressions are treatable, abortion is not warranted.

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68As a rule, Jewish law does not assign relative values to different lives. Therefore, almost most major poskim (Rabbis qualified to decide matters of Jewish law) forbid abortion in cases of abnormalities or deformities found in a fetus. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, one the greatest poskim of the past century, rules that even amniocentesis is forbidden if it is performed only to evaluate for birth defects for which the parents might request an abortion. While most poskim forbid abortion for defective fetuses, Rabbi Eliezar Yehuda Waldenberg is a notable exception. Rabbi Waldenberg allows first trimester abortion of a fetus that would be born with a deformity that would cause it to suffer, and termination of a fetus with a lethal fetal defect such as Tay Sachs up to the seventh month of gestation. 69 The rabbinic experts also discuss the permissibility of abortion for mothers with German measles and babies with prenatal confirmed Down syndrome. In cases of rape and incest, a key issue would be the emotional toll exacted from the mother in carrying the fetus to term. In cases of rape, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach allows the woman to use methods which prevent pregnancy after intercourse. 65 The same analysis used in other cases of emotional harm might be applied here. Cases of adultery interject additional considerations into the debate, with rulings ranging from prohibition to it being a mitzvah to abort. 66I have attempted to distill the essence of the traditional Jewish approach to abortion. Nevertheless, every woman's case is unique and special, and the parameters determining the permissibility of abortion within halacha are subtle and complex. It is crucial to remember that when faced with an actual patient, a competent halachic authority must be consulted in every case. Dr. Daniel Eisenberg is with the Department of Radiology at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA and an Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Imaging at Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine. He has taught a Jewish medical ethics class for the past 65 years. Dr. Eisenberg writes extensively on topics of Judaism and medicine and lectures internationally on topics in Jewish medical ethics to groups of all backgrounds.

Obtain more information on scheduling a lecture or learning more about Jewish medical ethics by visiting Dr. Eisenberg at www. Daneisenberg. ComI have a question pertaining to Judaism and space travel. If humans ever colonize the moon or other planets, then which direction would we face while praying? Our Sages taught: A blind man, or someone who cannot tell which direction he is facing, should direct his heart toward God in Heaven. If one is standing outside of the Land of Israel, he should turn toward Israel. If he is standing in Israel, he should turn toward Jerusalem. If he is standing in Jerusalem, he should turn towards the Temple. . (Talmud Brachot 85a)Although the Talmud does not directly address your issue, it is logical that the space traveler should face toward Earth. If, however, he were in a black hole, then he would be exempt from praying because of the grave danger. The same would be true if space aliens were attacking him. By the way, keeping time in outer space - for the purpose of Shabbat, etc. Is quite difficult, given that an orbiting spacecraft may see sunrise many times each day. So for astronauts, time should be kept according to the home base on planet Earth. Straus was a co-owner of R.

H. Macy Co. , yet he never amassed personal wealth because he was always using his money to help people. For example, in New York's winter of 6898, he gave away more than two million five-cent tickets good for coal, food and lodging. His greatest devotion, however, was to Israel. He gave more than two-thirds of his fortune and devoted the last 65 years of his life to this cause. The Israeli city of Netanya is named for Nathan Straus. One who reads the book of Job cannot but have compassion for just and pious Job, who appears to be unfairly subjected to suffering. All the rational arguments that his friends offer to account for his innocent suffering appear hollow, and the only acceptable answer is God's remark to Job, Where were you when I established the earth? In other words, a human being can see only a tiny fragment of the universe, an infinitesimally small bit of time and space. Our vantage point is much like a single piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle, a tiny fragment of the whole picture, which makes no sense on its own. Only when the entire puzzle is assembled do we realize how this odd-shaped piece fits properly. Since no human being can have a view of the totality of the universe in both time and space, we cannot possibly grasp the meaning of one tiny fragment of it. This explanation does not tell us why the innocent may suffer, but only why there cannot be a satisfactory explanation. Acceptance of suffering therefore requires faith in a Creator who designed the universe with a master plan in which everything that happens has a valid reason. This belief may not comfort a sufferer nor prevent the sufferer from becoming angry at the Designer of the universe. The Torah does not in fact condemn the anger of the sufferer ( Bava Basra 66b), but does require that he accept adversity with trust that God is just ( Deuteronomy 87: 9).

Acceptance does not mean approval, but it does allow us to avoid the paralyzing rage of righteous rage, and to go on with the business of living. Try to realize that nothing ever happens that is purposeless, and that I must go on living even when I disapprove of the way the world operates.

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