LAKE GENEVA, Wis. (May. 10)
The new president of the Rabbinical Council of America voiced concern Tuesday over state laws governing terminal patients and the removal of life-support systems.
Rabbi Max Schreier said Jewish law and the sanctity of human life must be respected and protected.
Speaking after his election at the 52nd annual national convention of the RCA, Schreier expressed his disturbance over the “intensification of discussions and new bills by state legislatures to affect the definition of death as well as the removal of appliances of life sustaining support systems for patients.
“We want to make sure the sanctity of human life is protected,” he added.
Religious people, Schreier said, “must and should be protected against any laws or methods which would violate the principles of Jewish law regarding life-support systems, appointment of agents to make life and death decisions for patients incapable of making those decisions themselves, the withdrawal of food and/or sustenance and other life and death decisions.”
Schreier said “laws such as the pending New York state law should not be passed unless there is consultation with proper halachic authorities so that Jewish patients who observe Jewish law will be protected.”
He told the convention he would continue the efforts made to have Orthodoxy speak with one voice. He said that to inform the public of the Orthodox position, he would call for regional RCA conferences throughout the nation to discuss issues facing American Jewry such as education, strengthening the synagogue and Jewish law.
Schreier, a graduate of Yeshiva University, has been affiliated with the RCA for more than 35 years and has served as rabbi of the Avenue N Jewish Center in Brooklyn for 25 years. He has been active in the United Jewish Appeal, Israel Bonds and the Religious Zionist movement, and has been a delegate to the last three World Zionist Congresses in Jerusalem.