Halachists Need To Catch Up With Science

Letter to the Editor

Published March 03, 2011, issue of March 11, 2011.
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Organ donation for the saving of a life or for the restoration of some major biological function seems to me to be quite a humanitarian and moral gesture (“Case for Organ Donation Remains Solid,” February 11).

Halachists continue to consult learned scholars of ancient texts for answers. In keeping with the medical realities of 21st-century medicine, I suggest that they “rule” in favor of the criteria for determining brain death, as set forth by the American Academy of Neurology.

Hasn’t the time come to realize that talmudic or biblical prescriptions may not apply to today’s circumstances? Must we always resort to a sage to re-tailor the ancient texts to somehow fit the conditions faced in 2011? One must begin to understand that, though Judaism’s traditions rest on the shoulders of Torah and Talmud, revisions and amendments may be needed to achieve the greatest good.

DR. CARL N. STEEG
New York, N.Y.


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