Pikuach Nefesh

The saving of a life

Pikuach Nefesh is one of the highest values in Judaism. To save a life is a mitzvah. In order to save life we are not merely permitted but obliged, to break the Shabbat if necessary.

The Torah states about its laws “V’chai Bahem” we must “live by them”, live and not die. Our rabbis assert that any act devoted to saving a life is to be prized above all.

The increasing rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) represent an opportunity for all Jews to fulfil their obligation to Pikuach Nefesh. STIs can cause irreparable damage such as miscarriage, infertility and ectopic pregnancy. HIV infection and AIDS has made death and dying a reality in the lives of Jewish individuals, families and communities. We may feel overwhelmed by the enormity of these issues. We may feel powerless.

The saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” and Pikuach Nefesh can be deemed to start from prevention. By preventing the transmission of Syphilis we prevent the risk of stillbirth. By preventing the transmission of Chlamydia we reduce the risk of ectopic pregnancy which is life threatening to both mother and child. By preventing HIV transmission we reduce the number of those living with an incurable illness.

“Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” Benjamin Disraeli

What JAT Does:

Some people have been unable to prevent illness and JAT supports them in different ways.

  • For people who have contracted an STI we give them the support and information they need and we point them in the right direction for professional help and advice.

For people living with HIV and AIDS and their family and carers we offer:

  • Social support
  • Emotional support
  • Practical support
  • Financial support

How can you fulfil the mitzvah of Pikuach Nefesh?

  • Help JAT by spreading the word about us and connecting us with any organisations, synagogues and groups you can think of that might benefit from our work
  • Help JAT by donating money to our cause, in general or to a certain part of our project
  • Help JAT by organising mini fundraising events, pre-prepared ideas and resources are on hand at the JAT office to help you with this.