JUDS 1581: Medical Ethics
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COURSE OBJECTIVES:¶ The course will cover a variety of topics relating to medical care on Shabbat. Jewish Law (Halacha) prioritizes care for health and human life, but at the same time considers the observance of Shabbat to represent belief in the Creator. Thus, Jewish Law has extensive discussions on how to administer medical care on the Sabbath, based on the degree of illness and the kind of activity that is required. The underlying priorities and values that form the basis for the guidelines for the Orthodox Jew emerge from careful study of these topics. This area of Jewish Law has become more complex in the modern era, as assessment of the permissibility of technological devices on Shabbat has become a major focus of interest.¶ Numerous topics will be studied in depth, tracing the Halacha from earlier sources in the Talmud and medieval commentaries, to the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch, written in the 16th century), to later decisors of Halalcha and contemporary responsa literature. There will be an emphasis on understanding the halachic process and how normative Halachic practice emerges from careful analysis of the issues.¶ Topics relating to medical treatment on Shabbos include: categories of illness and the relevant dispensations for care, status of children, defining and treating life-threatening conditions, how much one must exert oneself to avoid desecration of Shabbat in cases of acute medical conditions, use of medications, returning from a medical emergency, arranging medical rotations to avoid working on Shabbat, traveling to the hospital on Shabbos, policies of Orthodox ambulance services (Hatzolah), elective surgery within three days of Shabbat, compensation for medical care given on Shabbat.
Cohen, A. (2022, Spring). JUDS 1581: Medical Ethics. Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
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