Two rabbis, one from Israel and one from Argentina, were appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy of Life, the first time rabbis have been invited to be members of the academy.
Pope Francis appointed 45 new ordinary members and five honorary members to the advisory body of the Pontifical Academy of Life, the Vatican announced last week.
Israeli Rabbi Avraham Steinberg, who won the Israel Prize in 1999 for original rabbinic literature, and Argentinean rabbi Fernando Szlajen were designated on June 13 as members of the institution that “exists for the promotion and defense of human life, especially regarding bioethics as it regards Christian morality.”
Rabbi Avraham Steinberg is the author of “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics,” published in seven volumes in Hebrew and three volumes in English, translated by Dr. Fred Rosner, for which he was awarded the Israel Prize in 1999. He is the director of the Medical Ethics Unit of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and director of the Editorial Committee of the Talmudic Encyclopedia.
Rabbi Fernando Szlajen from Argentina, the birth country of Pope Francis, is the director of the Department of Culture for the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires and a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Buenos Aires.
Founded in 1994 by St. John Paul II, the Pontifical Academy for Life is charged with defending and promoting “the value of human life and the dignity of the person.” In November 2016, Pope Francis issued new statutes for the pontifical academy to widen the scope of its activity and research on life issues.
After broadening the scope of and issuing new statutes for the Pontifical Academy of Life, Pope Francis appointed new members to the advisory body and included scientists, professors, and experts in medicine and ethics from both religious and secular backgrounds.
The new members named by Francis hail from 27 countries. Seven of the members come from the United States and Canada. Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life are nominated for five-year terms, which can be renewed. Membership ceases once an academician turns 80.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.