Moshe David Tendler (born August 7, 1926) is an American rabbi, professor of biology and expert in medical ethics.


Moshe David 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.[2]

He is the rabbi of the Community Synagogue of Monsey, New York. 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.[3]

Tendler is the son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, a world-renowned posek.[3] Many of Feinstein's "Iggerot Mosheh" responsa are addressed to his son-in-law. His wife, Shifra, died in October 2007.[4]

Medical ethics

Community Synagogue of Monsey

Tendler has written and lectured widely on medical ethics. He translated various medical oriented responsa of Feinstein into English, even though Feinstein expressly forbade such translations.[5][6] Tendler 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] Serving on an RCA panel on stem cell research, Tendler expressed respectful disagreement with the Bush administration's position.[10]

Tendler is the posek for the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists and its past president.

Published works




  1. ^ Who's who in American Jewry. Standard Who's Who. 1980. p. 496.  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ "Pew Forum: Rabbi Moses Tendler". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler of Monsey, NY To Be Honored For Unique Contribution to Jewish Life". Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  4. ^ "Community Synagogue of Monsey - History". Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Responsa of Rav Moshe Feinstein, Pages 23-27
  7. ^ Breitowitz, Yitzchok A. "The Brain Death Controversy in Jewish Law". Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  8. ^ "video interview". Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  9. ^ Weiss, Steven I. (18 March 2005). "Rabbi Targeted After Call for Bris Change". The Forward. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  10. ^ Weiss, Steven I. (21 May 2004). "O.U. Keeping Quiet in Stem Cell Debate". The Forward. Retrieved 10 September 2008.