Friday, January 11, 2013

New YU/RIETS End of Life Care Halachic Advisory Program

Even though I am a big believer in the need for local rabbis to make halachic decisions, it is recognized that (1) Local rabbis themselves need to consult greater authorities on certain issues, and (2) Not everyone has access to a rabbi. Therefore, I was very happy to see this new program announced yesterday:

A major impediment for observant Jewish families to seeking halachically appropriate, excellent end-of-life medical care is a lack of knowledge of the intricate laws that govern such care. Recognizing this Yeshiva University, under the auspices of RIETS, has formed an alliance with Calvary Hospital to provide rabbinic consultation for families and community rabbis that includes the following:
  • YU/RIETS has assembled a panel of rabbinical experts well versed in the halachot of end-of-life issues who serve as pre-hospice advisers and are available for ongoing end-of-life shealot.
  • The advisers answer questions on a rotating basis from patients’ families and community rabbis as to the permissibility of entering a patient into hospice care and with what provisos. 
  • Another panel of physicians is available to advise rabbis on the clinical issues related to the terminally ill.
While this advice is independent of any specific hospice facility, we have particularly aligned with Calvary Hospital to answer a major need of the Jewish community. In existence for more than 113 years, Calvary is the nation’s only fully accredited acute care specialty hospital devoted exclusively to providing palliative care to adult advanced cancer patients. The panel is, however, prepared to provide halachic advice as it relates to any facility.
Calvary will take responsibility to provide its usual outstanding care for patients and also provide on-site Orthodox rabbinic pastoral care, kosher food for patients and nearby prayer services and Shabbat hospitality for families at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Synagogue. The hospital is located across from Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Einstein-Weiler Hospital of Montefiore Medical Center.
If you or your family would like to contact one of our rabbinic experts, please complete the request form on the right. To learn more about Calvary, please go to

RIETS Rabbinical Panel                                 Medical Advisory Panel
Rabbi Herschel Schachter                                Dr. Edward Burns
Rabbi Yaakov Neuberger                                 Dr. Seymour Huberfeld
Rabbi Mordechai Willig                                     Dr. Beth Popp
Rabbi Moshe Tendler                                       Dr. Edward Reichman
                                                                         Dr. Robert Sidlow


  1. Interesting how "the luck of the draw" will determine what advice families get on brain death etc.(e.g. r'hs vs. r'mdt)
    Joel Rich

  2. I wouldn't be surprised if 'requests' were possible.