Moshe David Tendler

Rabbi Dr. Moshe David Tendler

Courtesy of Yeshiva University
Position Rabbi
Synagogue Community Synagogue of Monsey
Position Rosh Yeshiva
Yeshiva RIETS
Personal details
Nationality  United States of America
Denomination Orthodox
Residence Monsey, NY
Spouse Shifra Feinstein
Occupation Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics and Professor of Biology at Yeshiva College
Alma mater New York University, Columbia University
Semicha RIETS

Moshe David (Dovid) Tendler (born February, 1927) is the rabbi of The Community Synagogue of Monsey. He is a senior Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University's RIETS and the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics and Professor of Biology at Yeshiva College. He has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and is noted as an expert on Jewish medical ethics and their relationship to Halakha.[1]

Tendler is the son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, a world renowned posek.[1] Indeed, many of Feinstein's "Iggerot Mosheh" responsa are addressed to his son-in-law Tendler prefaced with the accolade "HaRav HaGa'on R. Moshe David Tendler", illustrating the great reverence with which Tendler is held. His wife, Shifra (child of Feinstein), died in October, 2007.[2]



Tendler received his B.A. degree from New York University (NYU) in 1947, and a Master’s degree in 1950. He was ordained at RIETS in 1949, and earned a Ph.D. in biology from Columbia University in 1957.[3]

Medical ethics

Tendler was frequently asked by his father-in-law, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, for information and advice concerning medicine and Jewish law. Tendler has written and lectured widely on medical ethics, with an emphasis on Feinstein's viewpoint. Tendler translated various medical oriented responsa of Feinstein into English. Because of this Tendler has been accused of going against Feinstein's wish that his responsa not be translated.[4] In response, Tendler explained that because many people had not listened to his original request, Feinstein asked Tendler to translate certain responsa to ensure clarity and accuracy [5]

Tendler is one of the leading experts on medical ethics as it pertains to Jewish law, and is the chairman of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) Bioethical Commission, and chair of the Medical Ethics Task Force, UJA-Federation of Greater New York. Tendler has been one of the most vocal and adamant supporters of Jewish organ donation.[6] Tendler, based upon his father-in-law’s responsa, strongly advocates the theory that complete and irreversible cessation of function of the entire brain renders a person “physiologically decapitated”, and is considered legally dead according to Jewish law.[6] Tendler asserts that once organ donation has been deemed permissible under the given conditions, it is indeed mandatory, falling under the rubric of the legal obligation of Jews to preserve the lives of others.[7] In addition, Tendler has written extensively on euthanasia, infertility, end of life issues, organ donation, and brit milah (Jewish circumcision). Tendler has been a strong advocate for the use of a tube when performing metzitzah, suction of blood during circumcision,.[8] Serving on an RCA panel on stem cell research, Tendler expressed respectful disagreement with the Bush administration's position.[9]

Tendler has been a past President and is the posek for the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists.

Although his halakhic rulings on bioethics have occasionally differed from those of his colleague Rabbi J. David Bleich, Tendler states that he has always spoken on friendly terms with Bleich.[10]

Selected articles by Tendler

Community Synagogue of Monsey


  • Moshe Dovid Tendler. Pardes Rimonim: A Marriage Manual for the Jewish Family. KTAV, 1988. ISBN 0-88125-144-5.
  • Responsa of Rav Moshe Feinstein: Translation and Commentary KTAV , 1996. ISBN 0-88125-444-4


  1. ^ a b "Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler of Monsey, NY To Be Honored For Unique Contribution to Jewish Life". Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  2. ^ "Community Synagogue of Monsey - History". Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  3. ^ "Pew Forum: Rabbi Moses Tendler". Retrieved 2008-09-10. [dead link]
  4. ^ Igros Moshe Y"D vol. III s.91. This was addressed to R. Shabtai Rappaport, the grandson of Feinstein and son-in-law of R.Tendler
  5. ^ Responsa of Rav Moshe Feinstein, Pages 23-27
  6. ^ a b Breitowitz, Yitzchok A.. "The Brain Death Controversy in Jewish Law". Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  7. ^ "video interview". Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  8. ^ Weiss, Steven I. (2005-03-18). "Rabbi Targeted After Call for Bris Change". The Forward. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  9. ^ Weiss, Steven I. (2004-05-21). "O.U. Keeping Quiet in Stem Cell Debate". The Forward. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  10. ^ . 2010-04-14.'D_370_-_At_What_Point_Does_Death_Occur. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 

External links

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