Report on the Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rabbi Julie Pelc, Assistant Director, and Rabbi Bill Cutter, Founding Director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health attended the National Conference of the Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics in Atlanta last month. A highlight was to listen to the words and wisdom of Dr. Baruch Brody, of Baylor in Houston (Brody is a scholar on the ways in which the traditional poskim render a wide range of response based on the same texts; he is also an Orthodox Jew). Brody's intellectual work focuses on the indeterminacy of rabbinic ethics based on this notion that a wide range of possible responses are issued from the same sources 

The ACJB is a joint project on Jewish Bioethics and is a joint venture of ethics centers and related programs at HUC-JIR, American Jewish University, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Shalom Hartman Institute, The Jewish Theological Seminary, and University of Pennsylvania - Center for Bioethics. 

The Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics seeks to engage the Jewish community in considering biomedical decisions. While recognizing that any coherent Jewish bioethics rests on the legacy of our inherited norms, values, and experience, the Coalition advocates the development of a variety of methodologies that bring clarity and authenticity to difficult life choices. The ACJB strives to broaden and deepen biomedical conversation in Jewish life and to create models of cooperation across the spectrum of Jewish practice. 

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.