Medical Bioethics Expert to Discuss Reproductive Technologies and Their Applications

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

February 24, 2009, Beachwood, OH

Rabbi Leonard SharzerAdvances in medical research have opened a new world of options and bioethical questions. Rabbi Leonard Sharzer, MD, senior fellow of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies of The Jewish Theological Seminary, will discuss "In the Beginning: A Jewish Bioethics Exploration of Reproductive Technologies and Their Applications" at the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation Lecture at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.

Cosponsored with the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, the program will be held at Siegal College, 26500 Shaker Boulevard, Beachwood.

Dr. Sharzer's current research is in the field of bioethics, especially as it pertains to Jewish law. He will engage the audience in a dialogue about what tradition and halakhah have to say about the use of today's medical advances for stem-cell research, prenatal sex-selection, and early diagnosis of birth defects.

A graduate of Boston University School of Medicine, he completed a residency in plastic surgery at the Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine in Norfolk, Virginia, and worked as a registrar at the West of Scotland Regional Plastic Surgery Unit in Glasgow, Scotland. Following a fellowship in hand surgery in Louisville, Kentucky, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to do clinical and laboratory research in microsurgery in Melbourne, Australia.

A former clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he participated in and led medical missions to Africa and China to operate on children with cleft lips and palates, as well as other deformities. He retired from medical practice in 1999 to enter The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained in May, 2003. Rabbi Sharzer is currently working on two books: one on ethical issues in plastic surgery from a Jewish perspective and a second, Challenging Conventional Wisdom in Jewish Bioethics.

Since 1938, The Finkelstein Institute has maintained an innovative interfaith and intergroup relations program that advances dialogue among diverse communities about matters of public significance.

A dessert reception will follow the program. There is no charge to attend the lecture, but reservations are requested. CME credit is available for $30. To RSVP, contact Ruth Kronick, director of student services, Siegal College, at (216) 464-4050 x101 or For information on JTS programming in the Cleveland area, contact Michele Siegal, assistant director, JTS Great Lakes Region, at (248) 258-0055.