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Instead, we can speak of a “mandate of life” or some other phrase that is sufficiently different. To conservative Christians – and due to their powerful public relations efforts, the general public – “right to life” means the right of an unborn child to life. To Jews, however, it also means the right of a woman to life and, according to many poskim, the right of a woman to life without undue suffering.
Yes, we all cherish life. But on complex issues with competing concerns of life, we do not necessarily agree with the dominant Christian view.
For example, in July 2001 and again in October 2004, the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union sent a letter to President Bush advocating the use of federal funds to support embryonic stem cell research. Many Christians oppose such research because they consider research on embryos to be a desecration of life. Jews, or at least many rabbinic authorities, disagree that embryos are full human life and therefore consider such research to be the pursuit of life rather than its desecration. While the “culture of life” opposes embryonic stem cell research, the “mandate of life” supports it.
We have a rich religious tradition that offers guidance on every issue. Its “mandate of life” has even seeped into Jewish culture and casual interaction. Rabbi David M. Feldman, in his recent book Where There’s Life, There’s Life, points out that our toast of lechayyim – “to life,” neatly summarizes the “Jewish affirmation of life and inspiration to live.” (Disclosure: my company, Yashar Books, published Rabbi Feldman’s book.)
We must resist the temptation to surrender our heritage in exchange for slogans that represent Christian approaches to the issues of the day, or to lend our political support to causes that do not conform with – and sometimes directly contradict – Jewish law as we practice it as a community. Especially when representing Jews in the public square, it is crucial to let the Torah guide our course and not adopt another religion’s attitudes and language.
About the Author: Rabbi Gil Student writes frequently on Jewish issues and serves as editor-in-chief of TorahMusings.com. Rabbi Student previously served as managing editor of OU Press and still maintains a connection to the publisher but did not work on this book in any way.
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NY Times praises US killing of terrorist leaders; a different story when Israel kills the bad guys
Dear Pres. Obama, A “deal” in which one side makes all the concessions is, of course, a “surrender.”
ALLY is a terrific read because Oren has a mission: Defending&protecting the Jewish State of Israel.
Sources say seemingly irreconcilable differences between the 2 main parties, Washington and Tehran.
Instead of accepting reality, the President is trying to hold on to an illusion.
Those who suggest further capitulation to Iran are wrongly harming the interests of the West.
Few Arab Israelis found anything positive in the decision of its MKS to join any Gaza flotilla.
US Jews prefer to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends complaining about “settlements” and Bibi
New Israel Fund & its supporters must be countered; Israel’s in the midst of an unprecedented storm
PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.
Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”
Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
If we can learn to fear the surveillance of the Internet, we can learn to fear God’s constant watching.
There must be an Orthodox presence and an Orthodox refusal to attend Limmud NY.
I am from the generation that never saw or heard the Rav but lived in his shadow, feeling his recently departed presence in his students’ lectures. My poverty in this sense pales in comparison to that of the next generation, who have only a distant notion of who this great man was and his sprawling impact.
The Internet is a medium that has made its way in its short existence all the way to the center of contemporary life. Many of our daily tasks are now tied to it, and will be more so in the future.
In light of all the attention that the recent Internet Asifa garnered, we thought it wise to offer this analysis on the subject by Rabbi Gil Student, founder of TorahMusings.com and former managing editor of OU Publications.
Israel is a Jewish country – but can it continue to be so when Judaism threatens to destroy the state?
The unfair longstanding attacks on Israel’s legitimacy are a permanent stain on the international community. For over 60 years, Israel has valiantly grown under hostile conditions while fighting lies and half-truths in the international arena. Israel suffers doubly, however, when its very essence, its Jewish character, supports its opponents’ narrative.
There are two types of people in the world – those who are inspired by Mussar and those who are turned off by it.
Mussar is a school of study that teaches religious self-improvement. Traditional Mussar, as practiced in many yeshivas to this day, has a rabbi exhorting his listeners, often yelling at them, to be more careful in their actions and attitudes. This is frequently accompanied with a Torah insight and maybe even a good parable. But it can be scary: fire, brimstone, judgment day – all the horrible implications of religious failure, in graphic detail.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/medical-ethics-and-jewish-politics/2007/02/21/
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