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Bioethics Presentation - April 9, 2024

TBS Dr. Jeffrey Kramer Bioethics Initiative

The TBS Dr. Jeffrey Kramer Bioethics Initiative brings together experts in Jewish ethics and medical ethics to help us consider the challenging ethical dilemmas of our day. By continuing the TBS tradition of facilitating meaningful conversations around life, learning, and Judaism, we hope to help members of our community to build deeper connections with each other and between their work and intellectual interests and the lessons of Jewish tradition.

Founding Partners

Audrey & Yale Asbell
Kent & Kent
Jane & Jeff z"l Kramer
The Ravitz Family Kindness Fund

The programs are presented in partnership with The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

From Roe to Dobbs: Jewish Abortions in the United States

Five-Part Series 
Sixty-two percent of women who have abortions identify as women of faith. In research launched in the summer of 2023, Dr. Michal Raucher has collected the largest data set to date of Jewish people who have had abortions in the United States. Join Dr. Raucher as we explore this data focusing on how the participants in her research understand their own pregnancy terminations within their religious identity.  This ground-breaking five-part series will explore Jewish sources and research both through Zoom classes and in-person presentations.

Upcoming Sessions

Tuesday,  April 9 at 7pm (In person at Temple Beth Sholom) - Livestream from the Beit Midrash available here
Abortion, Miscarriages, and Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Jewish Women's Reproductive Experiences 

Court cases from the last few months have shown that the Dobbs decision was only one part of the attack on reproductive justice in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deliberating the legality of mifepristone, a pill that facilitates abortions and miscarriages. Additionally, the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling on embryos has implications for individuals and couples trying to conceive using in-vitro fertilization. Join this final session with Prof. Michal Raucher where we will discuss how these cases relate to abortion. We will learn from Jewish women who have had abortions and who understand their abortions as just one of the many reproductive experiences they have had. Join us to discuss how Jewish women's reproductive experiences can challenge the increasingly restrictive legal framework for reproductive justice in the United States. 

Past Sessions

Wednesday, March 6 at 7pm 
What Is the Same and What Is Different About Having an Abortion in 1973 and 2023?

Wednesday, January 31 at 7pm
How Do Differences in Jewish Affiliation Affect Women’s Abortion Experiences?

No video available for this session.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Monday, December 18
What Are the Reasons Jewish Women Have Had Abortions?

Tuesday, November 28
The State of Abortion Research in the US:  What Do We Know About People Who Are Having Abortions?

Michal Raucher, PhD  
Undergraduate Director and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at Rutgers University

Michal Raucher is an associate professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. Her research lies at the intersection of the anthropology of women in Judaism, reproductive ethics, and religious authority. Michal has a background in religion, gender studies, anthropology, and bioethics. As a Fulbright Fellow, Dr. Raucher conducted research on the reproductive ethics of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish women in Israel. Her first book, Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women (Indiana University Press, 2020), is based on this research. Dr. Raucher is working on her second book, titled The New Rabbis, which explores how religious authority is changing in Orthodoxy in America with a focus on women rabbis. Michal has also published on Jewish pronatalism, the study of Orthodox Judaism, sexuality and gender in Judaism, religion and bioethics, abortion legislation in Israel, and female religious advisors on the Internet. Dr. Raucher is currently conducting research on abortion and religion in America.

Click on the videos below to view these past programs.

September 20, 2022
From Justification to Justice: Jewish Sources on Abortion with Michal Raucher, PhD

January 24, 2021
Fair Game? The Ethics of Vaccine Distribution with Dr. Arnold Baskies and Stephanie Fendrick, FACHE, SVP
To read Rabbi Peltz's teshuvah, please click here.

November 17, 2020
COVID-19: The Ethics of Vaccine Distribution with Dr. Farley Cleghorn and Dr. Toby Schonfeld


March 26, 2020
COVID-19: Spread, Treatment, and Finding a Vaccine with Dr. Seth Rosenbaum, Dr. Joel Kravitz, and Dr. Jeffrey Skolnik


November 21, 2019
Treating the Untreatable: Cancer and Gene Therapy with Dr. Bruce Levine

June 18, 2019
Medical Aid in Dying: A Jewish Perspective with Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff

January 31, 2019
The Ethics of End of Life Care with Dr. Sandy Buchman and Rabbi Mychal B. Springer

November 26, 2018
The Right to Try: The Ethics of Experimental Drugs with Steven Joffe, MD, MPH

April 29, 2018
Whose Womb & Whose Ethics? Surrogacy in Israel & in Jewish Ethics with Dr. Michal Raucher

February 22, 2018
Forging a Disability-Sensitive Jewish Bioethics with Rabbi Julia Watts Belser, Ph.D

November 15, 2017
Jewish Values in an Age of Choice: Living Jewish Ethics Today with Rabbi Daniel Nevins

June 27, 2017
Justice in an Unjust World: Health Care Policy and Jewish Bioethics with Professor Laurie Zoloth

February 23, 2017
Frankenstein and the Golem: Scientific Hubris or Genetic Safety with Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D.

December 15, 2016
How did we get here? Where are we going? with JTS Chancellor Professor Arnold Eisen

Tue, April 16 2024 8 Nisan 5784