Bleich, J. David 1936- (Judah David Bleich)

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Bleich, J. David 1936- (Judah David Bleich)


Born August 24, 1936, in Tarreytown, NY; son of Manning H. (a rabbi) and Beatrice (a teacher) Bleich; married Judith Ochs (a professor), June 15, 1961; children: Chaya, Moshe, Esther. Education: Attended Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim of Radun, 1958-62; Brooklyn College (now the City University of New York), B.A., 1960; Columbia University, M.A., 1968; New York University, Ph.D., 1974.


Home—New York, NY.


Ordained rabbi, 1957; Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, instructor in philosophy, 1962-69; Yeshiva University, New York, NY, instructor at Stern College for Women, 1965-72, assistant professor of philosophy, 1972-78, professor of Talmud at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, 1969—, associate professor at the university, 1978-79, visiting associate professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 1979-81, Herbert and Florence Tenzer Professor of Jewish Law and Ethics, 1981—. Rabbi at Yorkville Synagogue. Rutgers University, instructor, 1962-63; University of Haifa, adjunct professor, 1974-75; Oxford University, visiting scholar at Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, 1980; Bar Ilan University, lecturer; Academy for Jewish Studies without Walls, member of national academic advisory council of Rabbinical Alliance of America, chair of law committee, 1971-75; Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, chair of committee on medical ethics, 1973-77; National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, member of executive board, 1970—; Academy for Jewish Philosophy, fellow and member of executive committee, 1980—; Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, member of board of directors. Member of New York Governor's Task Force on Life and the Law in New York.


Woodrow Wilson fellow, 1960-61; fellow at Hastings Institute for Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences, 1974-75, and Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 1974-75, 1979-80; Irving M. Bunim Memorial Award for Scholarly Publications from Yeshiva Rabbi Jacob Joseph, 1981, for writings on Jewish law and ethics.


Providence in the Philosophy of Gersonides, Yeshiva University Press (New York, NY), 1973.

Contemporary Halakhic Problems, Ktav Publishing House (New York, NY), Volume 1, 1977, Volume 2, 1983, Volume 3, 1989, Volume 4, 1995, Volume 5, Targum Press (Southfield, MI), 2005.

(Editor, with Fred Rosner) Jewish Bioethics: A Reader, Hebrew Publishing (New York, NY), 1979, augmented edition, Ktav Publishing House (Hoboken, NJ), 2000.

Judaism and Healing, Ktav (New York, NY), 1980, revised edition published as Judaism and Healing: Halakhic Perspectives, Ktav Publishing House (Hoboken, NY), 2002.

Birkas ha-Chammah (title means "The Blessing of the Sun"), Mesorah (Brooklyn, NY), 1980.

(Editor) With Perfect Faith: Foundations of Jewish Belief, Ktav (New York, NY), 1983.

Bioethical Dilemmas: A Jewish Perspective, Ktav Publishing House (Hoboken, NJ), 1998, Volume 2, Targum Press (Southfield, MI), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Contemporary Jewish Ethics, Hebrew Publishing, 1978; Understanding Judaism, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1979; New Perspectives on Human Abortion, University Publications of America (Frederick, MD), 1981; Passover Medication: A Guide for the Physician and Rabbi, Rabbinical Council of America, 1982; and Cases in Bioethics, Hastings Center (Hastings-on-Hudson, NY), 1982. Contributor of more than 100 articles in English and Hebrew to periodicals, including Intercom, Jewish Spectator, Judaism, Hospital Physician, Moriah, and Jewish Quarterly Review. Editor of Halakhah department, Tradition; contributing editor, Sh'ma.


J. David Bleich's work offers Jewish perspectives on sensitive bioethical questions, running the gamut from surrogate motherhood to aggressive treatment of the terminally ill. The author's positions on such issues are not of his own device: he has searched Jewish law and historical rabbinical teachings for traditional Jewish responses to bioethical issues, and some of these differ substantially from secular views. In a Choice review of Bioethical Dilemmas: A Jewish Perspective, L.A. Crandall described Bleich's study as "thorough" and "useful to scholars and physicians in the Jewish tradition," further noting: "Even readers who are unfamiliar with Judaism will find the book helpful in understanding the historical and religious basis for [Jewish medical] practices … sometimes dismissed by secular bioethicists as vitalist or paternalistic."



Choice, November, 1999, L.A. Crandall, review of Bioethical Dilemmas: A Jewish Perspective, p. 574.

Library Journal, April 15, 1981, review of Judaism and Healing, p. 890.