SOAS University of London

Centre for Jewish Studies

Vaccination and Rabbinic Literature in the Pre-Modern(a) Era

Rabbi Prof. Edward Reichman, MD, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University New York

Date: 12 May 2021Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 12 May 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Virtual Event

This lecture will deal with a topic that is very much on our minds today. The vaccines for Covid 19 have been met with great elation given the prospect of releasing us from the global lockdown this pandemic has caused. The development of this vaccine, as well as its predecessors, has generated a number of ethical issues, including risk and triage. The Jewish responses to vaccination throughout the centuries have addressed similar issues but have also included aspects idiosyncratic to the Jewish community. In this lecture we discuss the Jewish responses to vaccination spanning from Smallpox to Covid. Topics will include risk, kashrut, anti-Semitism, anti-vaxxers and religious exemption.

Edward I. Reichman is a Rabbi, Medical Doctor and Professor of Emergency Medicine, Epidemiology & Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York. He has published widely on pandemics and contagion, especially with regard to pre-modern and contemporary Jewish communities. Amongst his recent publications are: “Pandemic Bibliopenia: A Preliminary Report of Disease Eradication” (in press); “From Graduation to Contagion: Jewish Physicians Facing Plague in Padua, 1631”, Lehrhaus (, September 8, 2020; “Precedented Times: The Rabbinic Response to Covid-19 and Pandemics Throughout the Ages” (in press); “From Cholera to Coronavirus: Recurrent Pandemics with Recurrent Rabbinic Responses”, Tradition online journal (April 2, 2020.

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