J. David Bleich

J. David Bleich

J. (Judah) David Bleich (born 24 August 1936, Tarrytown, New York[1]) is an authority on Jewish law and ethics, including Jewish medical ethics. He is rabbi of Cong. B'nei Jehuda. He is a professor of Talmud (rosh yeshiva) at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Yeshiva University, as well as head of its postgraduate institute for the study of Talmudic jurisprudence and family law. At Yeshiva University, he holds the Herbert and Florence Tenzer Chair in Jewish Law and Ethics and also teaches at the Cardozo Law School. He is married to Dr. Judith Bleich, a historian of 19th-century European Jewry.

Bleich brings an Orthodox perspective to governmental deliberations on bioethics. For example, in 1988 he served on the NIH Human Fetal Tissue Transplantation Research Panel [2] and testified before Congress on the Pain Relief Promotion Act.[3] In 1984, New York's Mario Cuomo appointed Bleich to the Governor’s Commission on Life and the Law.


Early life and education

Bleich is the older of two sons of Rabbi Manning H. Bleich and his wife Beatrice.[1] He attended public elementary school and received private tutoring on Jewish subjects. From 1958–1962 he attended Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim of Radun.[1] He received a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1960, a master's degree from Columbia University in 1968, and a PhD from New York University in 1974.[1]

Bleich is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a postdoctoral fellow at the Hastings Center, and fellow of the Academy of Jewish Philosophy. He received rabbinic ordination from Rabbis Moshe Feinstein and Mendel Zaks in 1957.[1]

Bleich was a close student of the late Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, one of America's leading rabbis and the rosh yeshiva (head) of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas (a/k/a Mesivta Torah Vodaath) where Rabbi Bleich learned. In R. Moshe Feinstein's Iggerot Mosheh, Yoreh De'ah I, no. 67, Feinstein addresses Bleich as "my friend".[citation needed]


Bleich is the author of Contemporary Halakhic Problems (five volumes); Bioethical Dilemmas: A Jewish Perspective (two volumes); Jewish Bioethics (a collection of essays, which he co-edited with Fred Rosner); With Perfect Faith: Foundations of Jewish Belief; Time of Death in Jewish Law; and Judaism and Healing. He has written a book about the blessing on the sun (Bircas Hachamah, updated in 2009: ISBN 9780899061757). In Hebrew, he has published Benetivot Hahalakhah (three volumes). His Ph.D. thesis is Providence in the late medieval Jewish philosophy (NYU, 1974). He has written extensively on the applications of Jewish law to contemporary social issues and on the interface of Jewish law and the American legal system. He serves as the long-standing contributor of the survey of halakhic literature for Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought.

Yeshiva University

Bleich holds the position of rosh kollel for the Yadin Yadin Kollel (Institute for the Study of Jewish Monetary Law) in Yeshiva University. Additionally, he gives a Chullin/Yoreh Deah course (Jewish dietary laws) in RIETS, as well as a few courses in Jewish Philosophy in IBC.

The Yorkville Synagogue

Bleich has been the rabbi (Jewish spiritual leader) of the Yorkville Synagogue, located in Manhattan for over forty-five years. He teaches Talmud classes on Shabbat. He also teaches Jewish halakhic or philosophical issues in a program every other Sabbath. The topic usually is related to the subject matter of the weekly Torah portion.


External links

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