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7 September 2011
Dr. Giorgio Mortara, President of the italian Jewish Medical Association (AME), is very happy in drawing a balance of the two-day workshop that explored the figure of the Rabbi-Physician through a journey articulated over the centuries examining the historical aspect and the various implications of bioethics today.
"The meeting went well, thanks to the highest level of the speakers, who have perfectly focused on the arguments".
Dr. Mortara what is the relationship between medicine and the Torah?
The privileged position enjoyed by medicine among the Jews throughout the generations and in particular the frequent association between the rabbinate and practice of medicine, are proof that the principle objective of the Atoning power of suffering, though accepted, has been substantially modified by an additional argument that the“Torah” permits the doctor to cure the patient imposing the obligation of the doctor being an intermediary acting with God's help to implement his will.
Judaism, in fact, gives a unique value to life.
According to the Pikuach nefesh, the need to save human life, as well as the protection of the health, occupy a high place in the scale of the values of Jewish tradition. These instances have priority to almost all the rules and neutralize virtually any ban.
What exactly does that mean, the doctor does the will of God?
The power to heal is the attribution of God entrusting the doctor regarded as his representative. The action of the doctor can not therefore be considered as interfering with the will of God, the practice of medicine that aims to heal or to preserve human health is not only permissible but regarded as meritorious.
The President UCEI, Renzo Gattegna, in his inaugural address cited the passage in Deuteronomy, "Choose life" to explain the close relationship between medicine and religion .
Maimonides compares physicians, healers of the body with the rabbis and sages, healers of the soul. In Italy , more than any other country, the medicine has been the profession which, from the Middle Ages to modern times, allowed the Jews to live in both worlds. Could rabbis be the leaders of their communities and at the same time, curators of popes and kings?
The conference covered both history and ethics.
In particular in the ethics section, there were three measures addressing topics of great relevance as the ethics of the beginning and end of life, but also the "rules" of behavior of the doctor in front of the patient
It is important that in the Jewish camp of common guidelines developed and valid both in Israel and in the Diaspora are part of the ongoing international debate on these issues, because as is important to know where we come from, it is also to know where we are going.
It refers to the intervention of Dr. Ghesundheit on medical ethics?
Not only that, but I can not deny a particular issue raised by the intervention of Dr. Ghesundheit which addressed the need for future doctors to follow a course in medical ethics, in order to guide them to behave towards the patient. I mean not only in dramatic situations, but also in everyday life meeting individual situations.
The EMA, the association I represent, is particularly interested in Jewish medical ethics; three or four of the speakers today, are doctors and rabbis. The Rabbinical College represents a significant contribution in this regard.
This has been a conference giving to the participants new knowledge and making them reflect on the various cases presented.
"Such meetings are very useful because you can take stock of the situation and open a discussion, we hope of being able to publish the proceedings of the conference and explain how realize our projects.
Guido Coen, a Roman orthopedic surgeon, explains his relationship with the patient and the diseases.” I believe that my Jewish identity has encouraged a correct relationship, sometimes even friendly with the patient that must be treated gently, but firmly in order to stimulate his reaction.
"For my profession, I am in daily contact with diseases, and always available to deal with it firmly, using all medications, even those that are new and experimental."
Dr. Cohen, is vice president of the Jewish medical Ame and one of the organizers along with Miriam Silvera, historian at the University of Tor Vergata in Rome and Riccardo Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome, (in his capacity as vice president of the National Commission of Bioethics) of the Conference.
"Aspects of the History of Medicine Hebrew: The figure of the physician-rabbi" Maimonides, Rabbi and Doctor” organized by the Roman Judaism center of the Second University of Studies of Rome and from 'AME with the support of the Israelite Hospital and Teva, a leader in the generic drug market.
Dr. Coen developed long time ago the idea of exploring the role of physician-rabbi, says Miriam Silvera, but I think it takes a special meaning in these days with the recurrence of the 70 year of the promulgation of racist laws, to demonstrate the inclusion of the Jews in the social fabric of the nation and how these laws have been destructive depriving for a long time to the Italians access to a very important contribution.
"The presence of Dr. Mario Falconi, president of the Medical Association of the Roma area, testifies that the Jewish History of Medicine is part of the Universal History of Medicine".
Coen observes also the emblematic figure of the physician-rabbi, who since ancient times had to reconcile religion with science, with its various implications in the light of the positions of the legislations: "Being able to do Birkath Coanim and cure is very satisfying, observes Coen, certain rules are sometimes very narrow and in conflict with the laws. "
The work of the conference has provided a historical and ethic view.
In the historical section of experts such as Roberto Bonfil, George Cosmacini Giuseppe Veltri, Kenneth Stow retraced the steps of the Jewish medicine, focusing on some interesting figures such as Isaac Lampronti rabbi and physician in Ferrara of 700, remembered by Gianfranco Di Segni, CNR researcher and a rabbi, or some particular aspects such as the overthrow of papal social relations of the time, reviewed by Stephen Rams, historian of medicine at the University of Bologna, in its report on "Meeting unorthodox: the popes and the Jewish doctors."
In the ethics section we examined the particular relevance and importance of Bioethics in the initial states of life and the end of life interventions, covered by Dr.Riccardo Di Segni and Dr. Cesare Efrati,
The relationship between Kabbalah and ethics Gaviel were examined by Dr. Levi.
Benjamin Gesundheit of the Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem , examined the ethical and religious implications of the relationship with the patient in a speech entitled "Jewish Medical Ethical Syllabus".
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