Jewish Bioethics and COVID-19

Thursday, July 16, 2020
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Jewish Bioethics and COVID-19
Presented by the Tampa Rabbinical Association

Since February, we have been immersed in a global pandemic. The US has 4% of the world’s population and 28% of the COVID cases. Virus hot spots still exist here, and cases are rising in 23 states. Many bioethical issues that once seemed hypothetical are very real now. When we run out of vital supplies, space, or equipment, what criteria may we ethically use to distribute scarce resources? What do our sacred texts tell us about such decisions? Do we assign a higher value to some lives? When we don’t have enough, do we use an algorithm based on medical criteria alone? Do we use a simple lottery? We will review some of the approaches we might use to guide us when faced with crisis decisions. We will debate which of these criteria we think are ethical, and look at how Jewish sources would have us address ethically difficult choices.

Dr. Carol Roberts Gerson is a retired pediatric otolaryngologist and an active mohelet with a doctorate in bioethics. She is a faculty member of the medical schools of Northwestern and Tulane universities.

Rabbi Gary Gerson served as Senior Rabbi of Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion in the Chicago suburbs from 1979 to 2009. As Rabbi Emeritus, he teaches courses in Jewish text, Kabbalah, Jewish thought, and comparative religion. A Fulbright scholar, Rabbi Gerson holds master’s degrees in religion and psychology, rabbinic ordination, a doctorate in ministry, and certification as a family therapist from the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic.

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