Jewish Medical Ethics Symposium in West Hartford

WEST HARTFORD – This October the Chabad House of Greater Hartford will be hosting a medical ethics symposium on the topic of end of life decision-making.

Families grapple to make end-of-life decisions that impart the final moments of a loved one with dignity and respect. They wonder when medical intervention is morally required, and when it is excessively intrusive. Must life be preserved at all costs, or can it be permitted to gracefully ebb away?

Dr. Mark Siegel

Dr. Mark Siegel

On Tuesday Oct. 8, Dr. Mark D. Siegel, MD, FCCP, FACP, professor of Internal Medicine, and co-chair of the Bioethics Committee at Yale-New Haven Hospital, will address the many issues that arise from a contemporary perspective. The program will take place at the Chabad House of Greater Hartford, 2352 Albany Ave., at 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Siegel encounters people being faced with tremendously difficult dilemmas on a regular basis in his position at the ICU of Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law will share from the perspective of Jewish Law on how to navigate such challenges.

“Jewish Law, as all well-developed ethical systems, cannot and does not focus on a single moral value to the exclusion of others but seeks to balance, accommodate, and prioritize a multiplicity of ethical concerns,” said Rabbi Yaffe. “Just as there is a mitzva (a Divine commandment) to prolong life, there is a mitzva to alleviate pain and suffering. But what happens if one value can be achieved only at the expense of another?”

“The key parties involved in many cases may not be thinking rationally for many reasons,” said Dr. Siegel. “In the real world, the attempt to have a rational discussion about competing priorities often unravels in the context of fatigue, fear, misinformation, psychological disorders and many other factors.  The failure to acknowledge and address these factors may contribute to false choices that might otherwise be avoided.”

The fee for the event is $8 advance payment – $10 at the door. To register & for more information log onto, call (860) 232-1116 or email

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