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Press Release – 7 August 2008


Jerusalem Medical Ethicist to address Melbourne community on visit to Australia

With medical breakthroughs in fields such as IVF, organ transplants and the like occurring at an unprecedented pace, the challenge to medical ethicists has never been greater.

Rabbi Professor Avraham Steinberg, Medical Ethicist and Paediatric Neurologist at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Centre blends the worlds of ancient law and modern science. 

He will be visiting Australia on a lecture tour, from August 7 to 17 to tackle these complex issues.

Professor Steinberg is an eloquent speaker who exudes warmth and humour, and who makes his complex subject matter accessible to all audiences.

He will address the community at a public function on Saturday August 16 at 8.00pm, Beth Weizmann Community Centre as a guest of the Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek Hospital, JNF, State Zionist Council of Victoria and the Australasian Jewish Medical Federation. Professor Steinberg will speak on the topic: “Israel @60:  Amazing Medical Breakthroughs, Jewish Law and the Knesset…Where is the Synthesis?”

A recipient of the Israel Prize, Israel’s highest civilian award, Professor Steinberg is an international authority who consults world wide and regularly advises the Israeli government on legal and procedural matters pertaining to medicine and Jewish law.

Professor Steinberg is Paediatric Neurologist at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Centre.  As a major hospital located in the heart of Jerusalem, Shaare Zedek is a unique institution.  Shaare Zedek regularly treats victims of terror attacks whilst concurrently maintaining its role at the forefront of scientific and medical advances.  

As an ordained Orthodox Rabbi, Professor Steinberg’s magnum opus is the seven-volume Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics which he compiled and wrote.  This monumental work, which he produced on an independent basis, addresses all relevant medical topics, alphabetically arranged, from a medical, historical, ethical, Jewish and legal point of view.  It is an essential reference work for practitioners in the health sciences, one that brings together medical concepts and topics scattered throughout the vast sea of Jewish legal writings while also addressing medical and scientific innovations and breakthroughs of recent years.

Professor Steinberg is an advocate for excess embryonic stem cells made available by in vitro fertilization to be used for research purposes.  He lectures extensively around the globe and regularly confers with rabbinic authorities in all parts of the world. 

During his visit to Australia, Professor Steinberg will be keynote speaker at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. 

He will also be addressing the Medical, Legal and Rabbinic fraternities in both Melbourne and Sydney, and will be keynote speaker at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

Avraham Steinberg was born in a Displaced Persons camp in Hoff, Germany, in 1947.  He arrived in Israel with his parents at the age of two.  As a young man he earned his medical degree from Hebrew University.  After his military service he completed residencies in paediatrics and paediatric neurology in Israel and the United States.  Over the years he gained expertise in the field of medical ethics; he is currently Director of the Medical Ethics Unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre.

While still a student, Professor Steinberg was appointed Director of the Dr. Falk Schlesinger Institute for Medical-Halachic Research under the auspices of Shaare Zedek Medical Centre.  He initiated the publication of Assia; a quarterly journal devoted to issues of medicine and practical Jewish law, and published numerous articles and books on medical ethics, Jewish Law and medicine.

Professor Avraham Steinberg also heads the editorial board of Jerusalem’s Talmudic Encyclopedia.  He serves as member or chair of several governmental and public committees, including the committee responsible for formulating Israel’s highly complex Dying Patient Law, as well as the definition of the moment death.  Over the past decade he has played a particularly active role in the drafting of medical laws.  

Professor Steinberg cites Maimonides as his inspiration and role model.  Maimonides was a 12th century Jewish scholar, renowned philosopher and revered leader, who was also a scientist and physician who cared for numerous patients and wrote extensively on medical practice.

 For more information, please contact Miriam Pacanowski, Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek on 0434 994 664.
The State Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel.
For more information, please visit the State Zionist Council of Victoria website