Ethnicity Online

Cultural Awareness in Healthcare

Jews: Medication

In general, few issues should arise when prescribing medicines for Jewish people. Reform and Liberal Jews will not object to taking medication on the Sabbath, and will accept non-kosher medication if their condition is serious. If possible, schedule operations, tests and other procedures for non-holiday and non-Sabbath days, but if the condition is life threatening, all other considerations are overruled.

When caring for more Orthodox Jewish patients, a stricter interpretation of the Torah is applied, increasing the possibility of conflict arising. For example, all medications must be kosher, which means they cannot contain pig products. Unless life is threatened absolutely, Orthodox Jews will not be happy to have a test, procedure, operation or even appointment scheduled on the Sabbath or certain holidays. Some ultra-Orthodox Jews may not even be happy with taking or preparing medication on the Sabbath.