The recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, shifting access to reproductive health care to the control of state legislatures, has already caused fear, confusion, and heartache. JCRC has and will continue to provide educational programs to help us all understand and respond to the difficult situations that result from our state trigger law.
In beginning to prepare for the opening session, Abortion and Jewish Law, we reached out to all our local Jewish congregations and agencies. We were encouraged by the response. Every non-campus based Jewish group wanted to assist in sharing about the program. This speaks to the devastating nature of the impending trigger law and the impact it will have on us all.
The program on August 17 included six local Rabbis: Rabbi Joshua Kullock, Rabbi Shana Mackler, Rabbi Laurie Rice, Rabbi Jessica Shimberg, Rabbi Saul Strosberg and Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel.
Here are some of the comments we received from community members after the program:
“The Jewish community should be rightfully proud of the wisdom and sensitivity grounded in Jewish tradition you displayed last night in your discussion of a critically sensitive and moral issue of our time. It is comforting to me to see you gathered together to share your individual perspectives, all of which enrich our understanding.”
“We really appreciated tonight’s program. We are proud and grateful to have a community where rabbis from all our shuls can come together in a forum where they can remain true to their “denominations” yet respectfully and congenially express themselves. I can’t imagine a more sensitive topic so the inclusivity and respect is all the more magnified.”
As we learned during the session, Jewish law on the topic of abortion is nuanced and open to some interpretation. Jewish law does not view abortion as murder, and neither does it support abortion on demand. It does provide guidance and wisdom to assist women, medical providers, and faith leaders in how to handle this personal and sensitive decision with dignity and respect, rather than shame and punishment.
We will continue to learn together at the next session, Abortion is Healthcare, on September 15. Panelists will include Dr. Nancy Lipsitz, Dr. Lisa Zuckerwise, and Dr. Frank Boehm.
The recording from the first session can be found on the JFEDofNashville You Tube channel.