Centre for Continuing Education

Jewish Medical Ethics Course: A 21st Century Discussion

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COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

In partnership with the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
Course materials developed by The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning - a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For specific enquiries regarding the program, please contact Hinda Young on 0432 567 917.

Our Jewish medical ethics course draws upon Jewish thought and teachings to investigate scholarly and clinical challenges to medical ethics in the twenty-first century.

Within the field of ethics, one of the most challenging frontiers is medical ethics. Whilst contemporary medical knowledge preserves life, modern advances have raised moral and ethical dilemmas related to the sanctity and dignity of life. Issues whose scope was unimaginable a generation ago.


This course aims to engage students in the exploration of Jewish approaches to moral and ethical dilemmas with respect to modern advancements in the medical world.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • describe Jewish perspectives on practical ethical dilemmas that arise from modern medical advances
  • explain how Jewish values and Jewish law are considered in modern-day medical ethical decisions
  • identify Jewish perspectives on medical ethics in contrast to secular interpretations of medical ethics
  • analyse the ways current Jewish medical laws seek to create a balance between the sanctity of life and other principles of Jewish law
  • distinguish between the positions of the major Jewish thinkers on selected topics through the study of original texts relating to medical ethics.


This course covers the following topics:

  • Jewish perspectives on practical ethical dilemmas arising from modern medical advances
  • Jewish values and Jewish law relating to current medical ethical decisions
  • Jewish perspectives on medical ethics in contrast to secular interpretations
  • issues relating to achieving a balance between the sanctity of life and other principles relating to Jewish law
  • specific original texts dealing with the following issues:
    • human & animal cloning
    • genetic manipulations, prenatal interventions and the termination of pregnancy
    • surrogate motherhood and multiple motherhood
    • sperm banking and posthumous paternity
    • genetic identity
    • transsexual surgery and other moral conundrums
    • genetic testing
    • assisted suicide
    • heroic efforts and costly medicine
    • pain management and addiction.

Intended audience

Suitable for anyone wishing to explore Jewish approaches to medical ethics and may be of particular interest to individuals in the healthcare and medical professions.

Delivery style

This ten-lesson course centres around text study and respectful discussion between participants and the facilitator.


A course booklet is available in two formats:

  1. Complimentary online booklet (PDF) accessible via an online portal.
  2. Printed booklet (additional fee of $24) available for purchase here. Your booklet will be available to collect at the first or second class, depending on the date of purchase.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for the Country.