ASSIA is a Hebrew-language periodical focusing on the practice of medicine, medical ethics and their relationship to Jewish law (halacha). Over the years, ASSIA has published articles and abstracts pertaining both to historical issues and contemporary controversies and halachic rulings (piskei halacha) by the highest contemporary halachic authorities on a variety of medico-halachic issues.
Our aim is to acquaint professionals (medical practitioners, academics and rabbis) and the public with the important interaction between medicine, ethics and halacha, and to provide a forum for the interchange of ideas.
The first issue in the ASSIA series was published in 1970. The goal of the series was defined in the journal’s introduction: “To provide for those interested and connected to this field, medical and ethical problems, solutions and ethical thought processes of those Rabbis and doctors that have dealt with these problems.”
The first issue was published under the name “Publications in Topics of Halacha and Medicine,” and contained eleven abstracts, without original articles. The second issue was released in February, 1971, and was the first to be published under the name “Assia”, meaning ‘physician in Talmudic Aramaic. It appeared in the present format and included original articles, abstracts and bibliographical references to further sources. The title “ASSIA” is followed by the words “Asi Chigratath,” Aramaic for ‘heal yourself’, expressing the concept that the physician start by healing himself, not only physically but ethically, prior to treatment of his patients.
Until today over 80 volumes of ASSIA have been published in which close to a thousand professional articles and bibliographies have appeared. These essays deal with a wide variety of topics, including: scientific, legal, ethical and halachic aspects of cloning, determining time of death, heart transplantations, the selling of organs, truth-telling to the dangerously ill patient, halachic and medical aspects of the AIDS virus, psychiatry and halacha, the cessation of medical treatment and euthanasia, initial counseling for a juvenile with homosexual urges, smoking and life expectancy, coercive medical treatment, the surrogate mother, medical dilemmas of hospital nurses and naturally, practical halachic principles connected to the obligation to save human life.
The journals’ success has resulted in the publication of thirteen ASSIA books categorized by subject.
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