Teaneck Rabbi David Feldman, Medical Ethics Expert

By Levin, Jay | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), December 3, 2014 | Go to article overview

Teaneck Rabbi David Feldman, Medical Ethics Expert


Levin, Jay, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Rabbi David M. Feldman of Teaneck, a leading medical ethicist, died Friday at Holy Name Medical Center. He was 85.

The Los Angeles native was spiritual leader of the Jewish Center of Teaneck for more than 20 years, until his retirement in 2001. He was known for community involvement. Rabbi Feldman had been an adviser to the Jewish Standard, a weekly newspaper, and relished visiting seniors who came to the synagogue's hot lunch program. He also frequently visited the ill.

"He was a warm and welcoming rabbi," said Michael Laves, a 40- year member of the congregation. "A rabbi doesn't last two decades if he isn't well-loved."

Rabbi Feldman wrote and lectured widely on Jewish medical ethics and law. Among his books were "Birth Control in Jewish Law," "Health and Medicine in the Jewish Tradition" and "Where There's Life, There's Life," an exploration of end-of-life decisions. He testified in Washington and in New York State's capital, Albany, on abortion and population matters.

For his scholarship and community leadership, he was named Rabbi of the Year by the New York Board of Rabbis in 1995.

One of Rabbi Feldman's most challenging times leading the Jewish Center of Teaneck occurred when a charity member, Avi Kostner, killed his 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son by poisoning and suffocation. Days after the 1994 slayings, Kostner, who had battled his former wife for custody and feared the children would be raised as Christians, told Rabbi Feldman, "I didn't know I had this evil in me. …

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