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Judaism and Neonatology 

Judaism and Neonatology
Chapter:
Judaism and Neonatology
Author(s):

Elliot N. Dorff

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190636852.003.0002
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date: 15 April 2021

After two introductory comments on why a Jewish perspective on neonatology might matter to anyone but Jews and on the methods of deriving guidance on this very new topic from an ancient tradition that knew nothing of contemporary science, this chapter describes the moral and legal status of the neonate in Jewish law and lore. It then discusses the fundamental Jewish concepts and convictions that underlie care for anyone, including neonates—concepts such as the role of medicine in our lives, the status of the disabled, human mortality, and end-of-life care, including its medical and financial concerns. The chapter then moves to the psychological and emotional aspects of neonatal care, discussing what the Jewish mandate to visit the sick means in the neonatal context and how Jewish mourning rites need to be adjusted to comfort parents of a neonate who dies.

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