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Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Jewish Medical Ethics

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 27 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2138
  1. Alan Jotkowitz, director, Jakobovits Center for Jewish Medical Ethics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel,
  2. Yoel Jakobovits, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. ajotkowitz{at}

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of this work by the former UK chief rabbi, Immanuel Jakobovits. The work was originally submitted as Lord Jakobovits’s doctoral thesis, and with it was launched the new field of Jewish medical ethics. Although Jewish teachings governing medical ethics were already well developed, they were not collected or organised to allow non-experts easy access to its many directives.

    In the second half of the 20th century medical knowledge exploded, and new technologies such as artificial reproduction and organ transplantation called for an ethical response. Daniel Callahan, the philosopher of medical ethics and cofounder of the Hastings Center …

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