Bleich, J. David

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BLEICH, J. DAVID (1941– ), U.S. rabbi and professor; one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish medical ethics. Born in Brooklyn, he studied at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath (1948–53) and was ordained by Mesivta Torah Vodaath (1957). He earned his B.A. at Brooklyn College in Jewish studies (1960); his M.A. from Columbia in philosophy, and a Ph.D. from New York University (1974), writing on Providence in Late Medieval Jewish Philosophy.

Bleich was simultaneously the rosh yeshivah (professor of Talmud) and rosh kolel at the Kollel le-Hora'ah (Postgraduate Institute for Jurisprudence and Family Law) of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; and Tenzer Professor of Jewish Law and Ethics, Yeshiva University, while serving as rabbi at the Yorkville Synagogue, New York City. Previously he had taught at the University of Pennsylvania (1991–93), Hunter College, Rutgers University, and Bar-llan University.

His writing centers on problems of halakhah and on Jewish medical ethics. His books include Contemporary Halakhic Problems (5 vols., 1977–83, 1989, 1995, 2005), Be-Netivot ha-Halakhah (3 vols., 1996, 1998, 2000), Bioethical Dilemmas (2 vols., 1998), Judaism and Healing (1980, 2002), Time of Death in Jewish Law (1991), Providence in the Philosophy of Gersonides (1973), and Bircas Ha-Chammah (1980). He is the editor of With Perfect Faith: Readings in the Foundations of Jewish Belief (1983) and, with Fred Rosner, of Jewish Bioethics (1979, augmented in 1999); and has written extensively on topics of Jewish law and ethics. His teaching, like his writing, is clear, methodical, and resourceful, and some of his students (e.g., Michael Broyde, Michael Berger) are already, like Bleich himself, among the most learned and analytic students of Jewish law in the next generation of Orthodox scholars. Bleich has also served on numerous boards and committees in all his areas of interest.

[Jeanette Friedman (2nd ed.)]