As the last Australian State debates a bill that would legalize the inhuman practice known as assisted suicide, Rabbi Nochum Schapiro, Shliach to the North Shore of Sydney, addressed the state government on the importance of life in the Jewish tradition.
New South Wales is the only state in Australia where voluntary assisted dying has not yet been legalized, and a group of Shluchim and Rabbonim are trying to prevent that from happening.
The NSW Government recently opened a Parliamentary inquiry into the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. The bill was passed in the NSW Legislative Assembly and is currently being considered by the NSW Legislative Council.
The bill seeks to: a. enable eligible persons with a terminal illness to access voluntary assisted dying; b. establish a procedure for, and regulate access to, voluntary assisted dying; c. establish the Voluntary Assisted Dying Board to oversee matters relating to voluntary assisted dying. This is of great concern to Rabbonim and Shluchim who are doing what they can to explain the Jewish-Halachic point of view and the moral reasons behind its rationale.
In addition, Rabbonim and Shluchim are using this as an opportunity to educate the community and themselves in these areas, to ensure everyone understands the severity and importance of the matter. The Rabbinical Council of NSW recently organized a community Zoom event with two world-renowned experts in this field, Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz, Director of Jerusalem Medical Ethics Forum, and Dr Sharon Galper Grossman, Radiation Oncologist, Health and Halacha teacher. The evening titled: End of Life Issues in Judaism was held on Thursday, 25 November 2021 and is replay is available at rcnsw.org.au/endoflife.
Rabbi Nochum Schapiro, Shliach to the North Shore of Sydney and currently President of the NSW Rabbinical Council recently addressed the Public hearing. Rabbi Schapiro explained to the legislators the importance of life in the Jewish perspective and why the Jewish viewpoint is vital and important even for the wider public. Other religious leaders seconded supported his words later in the hearing.