Skip to main content Skip to search

Jewish Bioethics Certificate Program

Students in a science lab

About the Program

The YU/RIETS Certificate in Jewish Bioethics concentrates on a practical approach to bioethics governed by Jewish Law in the secular clinical setting. Upon completion, graduates will be equipped to analyze ethical dilemmas they face and provide guidance to their patients on navigating their healthcare decisions within a framework of Jewish values and Halacha.   Download the Syllabi (PDF)

This 1-year program will survey numerous areas of bioethics and grant students the knowledge to apply traditional Jewish values and Halakha to the modern clinical setting. Upon completion graduates will be equipped to navigate ethical dilemmas and provide general guidance to their patients on navigating their healthcare decisions within a framework of Jewish values and Halacha.

Student examining a microscope slide.

Program Objective

The goals of this certificate will be to enable healthcare professionals to join ethics committees in their places of work as well as serve the Jewish population navigating the healthcare system. Graduates will be able to identify points of tension between secular ethics and Jewish bioethics, work with patients and healthcare institutions to develop culturally sensitive solutions to the unique issues faced by Jewish patient and their families, and assist the dialogue between clinicians and patients. 




Frequently Asked Questions

How many courses is the program?

- The Certificate is composed of two courses – Bioethics & Jewish Law I & II (offered in successive semesters beginning in Fall 2024).

Is the program entirely online?

- Each course will require one full-day Seminar in person, followed by weekly online sessions.

When are the in-person seminars?

- The tentative in-person dates for each course are September 15, 2024 and March 2, 2025 at Yeshiva University's Wilf Campus for the New York Cohort or September 8, 2024 and March 2, 2025 at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for the West Coast Cohort.

When do the online sessions meet?

- The 12 online sessions meet on Wednesday evenings. Course 1 will be from September 18, 2024 through December 25, 2024 while Course 2 will be from January 15, 2025 through April 9, 2025. (Dates may be subject to slight adjustment). The New York and West Coast Cohorts will meet at times appropriate for their locations.

What will each session entail?

- Sessions will include readings and discussions of relevant materials as well as case studies to apply discussed principles. Applications include practical role play to enact how these cases can appear in a clinical setting.

How much does the program cost?

- The cost of the certificate is $6000 ($3000 per course).

Rabbi Kalman Laufer serves as faculty at both Yeshiva University’s Isaac Breuer College and Stern College for Women teaching courses in Medical & Business Ethics. Rabbi Laufer completed his Semikha (Yorah Yorah) at RIETS in 2017 and is currently pursuing Yadin Yadin (Dayanus) in the Rabbi Norman Lamm Kollel L’Horaah at RIETS under the auspices of Rabbi J. David Bleich and Rabbi Mordechai Willig. Rabbi Laufer graduated Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and a Master’s Degree in Accounting as well as a Master’s degree in Bioethics from Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Cardozo Law School. Rabbi Laufer focuses his studies in areas of Bioethics and Medical Halacha specifically working on Halakhic issues that arise in caring for parents suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. He also serves as an independent member of the St. John’s Riverside Hospital Ethics Committee.

Rabbi Dr. Jason Weiner, BCC, serves as the senior rabbi and executive director of the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, where he is responsible for the chaplaincy team and all aspects of spiritual care throughout the health system. He is also the rabbi of Knesset Israel Synagogue of Beverlywood.

Rabbi Weiner previously served as the assistant rabbi at Young Israel of Century City. He has earned two rabbinic ordinations, as well as a Doctorate in clinical bioethics from Loyola University (Chicago), where he also earned a master's degree in bioethics and health policy, in addition to a master's degree in Jewish history from Yeshiva University. Rabbi Weiner has completed four units of clinical pastoral education, and is a board-certified chaplain.

Rabbi Weiner is a member of the executive committee of the Cedars-Sinai Bioethics Committee. He is past president of the Southern California Board of Rabbis and has been honored with Rabbinic Leadership Awards from the Orthodox Union and Chai Lifeline. In 2023 he donated a kidney to a stranger. He frequently serves as a scholar-in-residence at conferences and synagogues throughout the nation on topics related to Jewish medical ethics, pastoral care, health and wellness, and he teaches hands on Jewish medical ethics in the hospital to numerous Jewish high schools in Los Angeles.

In addition to dozens of book chapters and articles, he is the author of three books: Guide to Observance of Jewish Law in a Hospital (Kodesh Press), Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making (Urim Press), and Care and Covenant: A Jewish Bioethic of Responsibility (Georgetown University Press), which was a finalist for the Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Book Prize.

Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he also teaches Jewish medical ethics, and holds the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Chair in Jewish Medical Ethics at Yeshiva College. He received his B.A. from Yeshiva University; M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. In addition to his full-time clinical practice in Emergency Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, Rabbi Dr. Reichman lectures internationally on Jewish medical ethics and Jewish medical history. He has edited numerous books and penned many book chapters and journal articles, and his book, The Anatomy of Jewish Law: A Fresh Dissection of the Relationship Between Medicine, Medical History and Rabbinic Literature was published jointly by Koren/OU/YU presses.

Skip past mobile menu to footer