Judaism, Science and Medicine Group

The Judaism, Science and Medicine Group (JSMG) is an international organization of natural and social scientists, philosophers, historians, physicians, rabbis, theologians and educators who act to promote and facilitate a close relationship between Jewish religion, cultures and values, and the sciences, for the mutual benefit of both. Membership is free. Please contact Lisa Kaplan, Assistant Director of ASU Jewish Studies to be added to the membership rolls.

2022 Judaism, Science and Medicine Group Annual Conference

Judaism and public health: living in the shadow of pandemics

Sunday, March 27, 2022
9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (MST) via Zoom
free and open to all
registration required

register now
 

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has upended the life of all people worldwide, is still raging, despite the invention of a vaccine against the virus. The annual Judaism, Science, and Medicine Group (JSMG) conference will reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic from historical, sociological, legal, philosophical, and ethical perspectives. Special attention will be paid to clinical and practical lessons learned since the beginning of the pandemic, and the diverse responses of the Jewish community to the pandemic. Through interdisciplinary examination of accumulated data, the conference will reflect on the past and future of living in the shadow of pandemics. .

Conference program

printable PDF will be available soon

morning sessions

9 a.m.
Introduction
Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Director, ASU Jewish Studies

9:15–10:15 a.m.
Keynote
The Michael Anbar Memorial Lecture on Judaism, Science, and Medicine
The Community as Patient: Jewish Responses to Pandemics
Paul R. Wolpe
, Emory University
    
respondent
Noah J. Efron, Bar Ilan University

10:15–11:30 a.m.    
The Bible through an Epidemiological Lens
 
chair: Timothy Langille, Arizona State University

Impure or Infectious? A New Look at the Bible 
Yitzhaq Feder, University of Haifa

The Ten Egyptian Plagues as a Powerful Metaphor for Emergence of Epidemics
Michael Kosoy, KB One Health, LLC

Can Mathematical Modeling Guide Pandemic Response, or is the Prescription Given in Leviticus as Good as It Gets?
Peter Rez, Arizona State University 

11:30 a.m. –1 p.m.
Legal and Halachic Dimensions of Pandemics
 
chair: Joel Gereboff, Arizona State University
    
Jewish Law COVID’s Responsa: From Asher to Zelig with Many Stops along the Way
Michael Broyde
, Emory University
    
Conservative Judaism Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Elliot Dorff
, American Jewish University

Between ‘Safe’ and ‘Safe Enough’: Bodily Protection in Pandemics
Joan S. Friedman
, Wooster College
    
Making Decisions on Public Health: Who Has the Legal Authority? 
Alan Jotkowit
z, Ben Gurion University

afternoon sessions

1–2:30 p.m.
Care and Caring in Pandemics: Clinical, Psychological, and Social Dimensions

chair: Michael Yudell, Arizona State University
    
Caring for the Critically Ill: New Challenges 
Amy Solnica
, Hebrew University
    
Mental Health Impact of COVID-19
Michelle Friedman
, Chovevei Torah 
    
Disruptions and Opportunities: The Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Jewish Community 
Janet Aronson
, Brandeis University
    
Institutional Responses to Pandemics: Educational, Social, and Governmental 
Shmuel Adler
, Israel 
    
Suspension and Reversal of the Law (Halakhah) in Disease, Plagues, and COVID-19
Y. Michael Barilan
, Tel Aviv University

2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Jews and the History of Pandemics

chair: Stanley Mirvis, Arizona State University

Jews, Pandemics, and Social Exclusion: an overview
Joshua Teplitsky
, Stony Brook University 
    
Jews, Rats, and Fleas: New Perspectives on Plague 
Susan Einbinder
, University of Connecticut 
    
Zoonic Pandemics: Pigs, Power, and Knowledge
Jonathan K. Crane
, Emory University
    
Pandemics and the Future of Humanity 
David Passig
, Bar Ilan University

4–5:15 p.m.
Ethics, Theology, and Spirituality in the Time of Pandemic: A Roundtable

chair: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Arizona State University

The Theological Ramifications in a Post-COVID World 
Shaul Magid
, Dartmouth College
    
Theological Seminary Ethics in the Time of COVID-19: Seeking Resilience 
Rachel Mikva
, Chicago 
    
Pandemics, Musar, and the Ecological Crisis: Can We Save Ourselves from Ourselves? 
Shai Cherry
, Adath Jeshurun, Philadelphia

5:15–5:30 p.m.
Conclusion
Hava Tirosh-Samuelson
, Arizona State University

Vision Statement

The Judaism, Science and Medicine Group is an international organization of natural and social scientists, philosophers, historians, physicians, rabbis, theologians and educators acting to promote and facilitate a close relationship between Jewish religion, cultures and values and the sciences for the mutual benefit of both. The organization seeks to increase the knowledge and appreciation of the sciences, Judaism and their interrelation and to offer a forum to reflect and deliberate on the implications of scientific advances from Jewish perspectives. Working across denominational lines, the organization will disseminate its mission in academic and non-academic venues using a variety of media.

Mission Statement

To accomplish these objectives the organization will engage in the following activities:

  • Create forums for dialogue between scientists, healthcare professionals and scholars of religion.
  • Foster interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects on specific points of intersection between Judaism and the sciences.
  • Educate the broader Jewish community about the interrelation of the sciences with Jewish religion, cultures and values through lectures and specialized training.
  • Enable Jewish scientists and healthcare professionals to understand their work in the context of Jewish history, religion and values.
  • Develop materials and courses for Jewish educational institutions at various levels, including rabbinic seminaries.

Previous Conferences

2021

February 28, 2021

Judaism and Climate Change: Science, Theology, and Ethics

2021 JSMG Postcard cover

download program

view session recordings

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University
  • Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism, Arizona State University

with support from

  • Dr. Michael Anbar Memorial Lecture in Judaism, Science and Medicine Endowment, Arizona State University

community partner

2020

March 1-2, 2020

Jewish Healing Through the Ages: theories and practices

2020 JSMG Postcard

The “Jewish Healing through the Ages: Theories and Practices” conference explored:

  • the Jewish physician as a social type
  • the historical factors that shaped the status, function, and impact of Jewish physicians
  • the relations between Jews and non-Jews in the practice of medicine
  • the intellectual, ethical, and theological dimensions of Jewish medicine
  • the role of women and gender in Jewish medical practice

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University
  • Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism, Arizona State University

with support from

  • Dr. Michael Anbar Memorial Lecture in Judaism, Science and Medicine Endowment, Arizona State University

community partner

2019

February 17-18, 2019

Judaism and Disability: new genetics, disability studies, and practical interventions

The Judaism and Disability: New Genetics, Disability Studies, and Practical Interventions conference explored:

  • how genetics and genomics help to understand and treat genetic diseases.
  • the diverse conceptions of physical and mental disabilities in the sources of Judaism in light of the new discipline of Disability Studies.
  • the social, cultural and psychological dimensions of disability.
  • the work of Jewish organizations to empower and include people with disabilities.

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University

with support from

  • Dr. Michael Anbar Memorial Lecture in Judaism, Science and Medicine Endowment, Arizona State University

community partners

  • Gesher Disability Resources
  • Jewish Genetic Diseases Center of Greater Phoenix
  • Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center

2018

February 18-19, 2018 | held at University of Texas at Austin | Austin, Texas

Judaism and Mental Health: Psychotherapy, Neuroscience, and the Spiritual Life

2019 JSMG conference program cover

Organized by ASU Jewish Studies at Arizona State University and Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

This conference explored the intersection of science and spirituality within the realms of psychology and psychotherapy, with an emphasis on Judaism but also a comparative look at that intermingling in Christianity and less well-defined searches for meaning and transcendence. Participants include psychologists, psychiatrists, clergy, as well as humanities and religion scholars. Topics spanned centuries and range from considerations of problems of mental well-being in Rabbinic texts through the contemporary “positive psychology” movement and the findings of neuroscience.

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Gale Family Foundation Annual Lectureship in Jewish Studies, University of Texas
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University
  • Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, University of Texas at Austin

with support from

  • Dr. Michael Anbar Memorial Lecture in Judaism, Science and Medicine Endowment, Arizona State University

2017

February 19-20, 2017

Sexuality, Gender and the Jewish Family

2017 JSMG conference postcard


The Sexuality, Gender and the Jewish Family conference explores the psychology of sexual orientation and gender identity; sexual identities in conflict; and sexual addiction, while reflecting on the new perspectives, legal tools and challenges to the Jewish family.

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University
  • Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism, Arizona State University

with support from

  • Dr. Michael Anbar Memorial Lecture in Judaism, Science and Medicine Endowment, Arizona State University

community partner

2016

February 21-22, 2016

Health, Mortality and Morality: Jewish Perspectives

2016 JSMG conference program cover

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University
  • Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism, Arizona State University

with support from

  • Dr. Michael Anbar Memorial Lecture in Judaism, Science and Medicine Endowment, Arizona State University

community partner

2014

October 26-27, 2014

Healing: the interplay of religion and science

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University

2013

October 6-7, 2013

Religion, Science and Sociality: Emergence Theory and Relgion

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University

2012

September 9-10, 2012

Evolution and Traditional Religions
and
The Obesity Epidemic: a multi-disciplinary examination

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University

This year’s meeting was featured as a part of Project Humanities at ASU.

2011

October 30-31, 2011 | held at the Center for Ethics at Emory University, Atlanta

Phenomenology, Existentialism and the Neurosciences: a Jewish Approach to Medicine

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Center for Ethics at Emory University, Atlanta
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University

2010

October 10-11, 2010

JSMG Annual Conference

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University

2009

August 16-17, 2009

Inaugural Meeting of the Judaism, Science and Medicine Group

download program

sponsors

  • ASU Jewish Studies
  • Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in Jewish Studies, Arizona State University
  • Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor  of Modern Judaism