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date: 16 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses end of life issues, first describing how the Jewish tradition views the stages of the end of life and how the categories it uses are interpreted differently by Orthodox and Conservative rabbis. It then discusses the degree to which patients have autonomy to decide for themselves what treatments they will accept or reject, including the question of withholding or withdrawing medications, machines, artificial nutrition and hydration, and even the question of killing a terminally ill patient in order to save a viable life. The chapter concludes with a description of the new law in Israel that governs the treatment of patients at the end of life.

Keywords: Jewish ethics, bioethics, end of life, Orthodox, Conservative, patient autonomy, Israeli law, halakhah, dying patients

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