New Periodical: Verapo Yerape VI

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New issue of Verapo Yerape (VI), the journal of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Synagogue and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary:

  • Guide to Filling Out a POLST Form in Accordance with Halakha by R. Jason Weiner – POLST = Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatments. What may a patient refuse and what must a patient accept? What should a rabbi do if a patient insists on refusing?
  • Palliative Sedation: Termination or Palliation? An Ethical Analysis by R. Dr. Jonah Bardos – Can a terminal patient be sedated until death to avoid severe, intractable pain? Intent to relieve pain, rather than kill, is important, as is the maintenance of artificial nutrition and hydration.
  • Autopsies and Cadaver Dissections in Anatomy Courses by Dr. Aviva Berkowitz – When is dissection of a cadaver allowed? Study should not be done on Jewish cadavers. Surprisingly assumes that the Talmudic Sages performed dissections of human bodies. I’m not sure that is correct. Perhaps they relied on Greek and other gentile scientists.
  • “A Leniency That is Best Left Alone” – Signing Documents in Cases of Urgent Medical Need on Shabbat by R. Dr. Yaakov Jaffe – Exploration of the concept of shinuy in the context of writing: what is it and when is it allowed?
  • Danger! Birkat haGomel Ahead! by R. Ephraim Meth – HaGomel is recited when you feel gratitude for being rescued from danger, regardless of whether you were in actual danger (albeit within limits).
  • Menstrual Regulation for the Jewish Bride by R. Dr. Yisrael Katz – Results of a survey of doctors on what they prescribe to avoid menstruation on or preceding the wedding night.
  • The Definition of a Human by R. Peter Kahn – What defines a human being? Descent from a human being, moral intelligence, ability to speak or other criteria? Concludes that there is no single definition.
  • A Letter from an 18th Century Torah Sage to the Faculty of a Medical School: The Selective Deference of R. Yonatab Eybeschuetz to Medical Expertise by R. Dr. Edward Reichman – Rav Eybeschuetz’s consultation with doctors regarding the heartless chicken, including the discovery of an archival medical reference to that consultation. Another case of medical consultation and then a case where he explicitly rejects doctors’ views when they contradict the Talmud. More cases yielding a list describing his attitude to when we accept medical opinion and when not.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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