Not Available for Download

Halachic Infertility: Rabbis, Doctors, and the Struggle Over Professional Boundaries

Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, Forthcoming

Posted: 15 Aug 2012 Last revised: 27 Sep 2012

Tsipy Ivry

University of Haifa - Department of Sociology & Anthropology

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This article analyses a public controversy surrounding the hormonal treatment of infertility associated with observance of rabbinic law to illuminate the reach of rabbi-doctor relations in a local configuration of religion and bio-medicine that I call “kosher medicine.” I combine a historical perspective on the evolution of religious laws governing menstruation, and the rabbi-doctor relations with a contemporary ethnography of these relations and laws to illuminate the interplay of continuities, discontinuities, tradition and modernity and their uses and abuses in the contemporary mode of interpenetration between observant Judaism and bio-medicine. The controversy highlights asymmetric permeations into biomedical and rabbinic professional domains. Collaborations persist as long as doctors who declare their incompetence in rabbinic law accommodate to demands of rabbis who are expert in it and also claim competence to challenge medical decisions. Once a doctor demonstrates competence in rabbinic law to challenge rabbinic directives a crisis develops.

Keywords: assisted conception, biopolitics, Israel, professional authority, religion, halachic infertility

Suggested Citation

Ivry, Tsipy, Halachic Infertility: Rabbis, Doctors, and the Struggle Over Professional Boundaries (2012). Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2129923

Tsipy Ivry (Contact Author)

University of Haifa - Department of Sociology & Anthropology ( email )

Israel

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
332