Puah Institute is devoted to helping couples with infertility fulfill their long awaited dream of building a family. Counselors at Puah Institute embody a unique synthesis of rabbinical wisdom and edication, combined with specialized training in modern reproductive medicine. Couples receive personal counseling, free-of-charge, in a sensitive, caring, and discreet environment. Puah Institute is dedicated to sharing its professional experience with rabbis, physicians, healthcare providers, and the general public through its extensive array of lectures, seminars, and training courses - with the
goal of raising awareness of reproductive .health issues at the social level.
"I wanted to thank all of you for your help and kindness. Never before have we encountered such a dedicated group of people who cared about us,as if we were part of their family. After so many trials & disappointments our twins Avi & Rivky were born, and they are well and strong BH. Your support throughout helped us overcome our difficulties, and to face life with hope in spite of all the medical challenges."
Under the leadership of Rabbi Menachem Burstein, Puah Institute has assembled a staff of worldclass experts in the field of fertility, medicine and Jewish Law. Their extensive worldwide halachic and medical network provides couples with up to date and appropriate treatment options. Puah provides invaluable service to all segments of the population, in Israel and around the world. It is recognized as the leading Jewish fertility organization by the rabbinical, medical and academic communities.
"Thank you for taking the time and making the effort… to talk to our group. It was one of the best andrology conferences in the 15 year history of these events!"
Dr. Marc Goldstein, Prof. of Reproductive Medicine, Cornell University in a letter to Rabbi Gideon Weizman of Puah Institute
High risk pregnancy
Developed the protocol of the highest
standard of supervision
Training of supervisors
Seminars for rabbis on women’s health and reproductive medicine
Seminars for doctors on Jewish law and cultural sensitivity
Enrichment courses for rabbinical students
Training program for Chatan and Kallah teachers
Annual conference attended by over 1,800
Educational Curriculum development to teach the medical community about the specific needs of Jewish patients.
Puah Institute’s services fall into three major categories.
First, Puah’s staff provides counseling to couples seeking a solution to their plight. In many cases, the knowledge and experience of Puah’s counselors lead to the desired results without medical intervention as they are able to recognize when other sensitive elements are involved.In other cases, couples are guided along the path most likely to be fruitful, with a great deal of patience, encouragement and love.
Second, Puah’s trained supervisors offer strict Halachic supervision in delicate and complex procedures such as in-vitro fertilization in order to minimize human error, giving peace of mind to concerned prospective parents.
Third, the Institute strongly believes in education. Puah is dedicated to sharing its professional experience and knowledge with rabbis, healthcare providers, as well as the general public, through an extensive array of lectures, seminars and training courses – with the goal of raising awareness of reproductive health issues at all levels.
“Three months ago our wonderful son Matanya was born. I cannot describe the joy and wonder of this event after all the fears and doubts we experienced. The doctors had nearly given up on us. We don’t know how this miracle occurred but we know that Hashem in his mercy sent us the best messengers possible. We are grateful to our special Rabbi at Puah for all the time and effort he spent helping us, for his concern, and empathy.”
with rabbis, healthcare providers, as well as the general public, through an extensive array of lectures, seminars and training courses – with the goal of raising awareness of reproductive health
issues at all level.
A call to the Institute puts you in direct contact with a rabbinical counselor who will become your advisor and advocate. Medical files are reviewed to help with medical charting. Halachah is addressed in accordance with your affiliation and the rabbi is available for consultation as needed, free of charge. Call to begin your step-by-step treatment plan. When scheduling any fertility tests, please call Puah’s office to arrange for supervision. At least a 24-hour notice is required and we recommend that you call us as soon as you schedule your lab appointment. The supervisor will meet you in the lab or doctor’s office and monitor the genetic material until it is locked up in the specially designed Puanite boxes. The supervisor is present at all times the genetic material is handled, assuring that it is indeed the authentic genetic material of the couple. This is an invaluable gift of peace of mind for the couple and the family.
"After receiving differing opinions from top specialists in the field, we were in doubt as to whether we should start treatment of a special drug to ensure proper development of the fetus since I was at risk for an early birth. We turned to Puah Institute and Rabbi Menachem Burstein personally contacted the specialists in question. Our sweet baby Naomi was born on time, healthy & strong B"H.
Questions? Puah answers
What makes Puah unique?
Puah Institute is a unique institution in many ways. We offer free consultations with Rabbis who are also experts in reproductive medicine and women’s health. We work with all different types of Jews and with all the Rabbanim around the world. We are accepted across the board by both the Rabbinic establishment and the medical and academic world and have been invited to address the major Rabbinic groups around the world as well as many medical facilities and departments.
Who turns to Puah?
We answer over 180 calls each and every day from Jews worldwide: the USA, South America, Europe, Brittain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, even Japan and China across the religious spectrum and affiliation. Some 20% are not religious and are asking questions related to treatment and medical referrals or are concerned about the kashrut of their children even if they do not
themselves eat kosher.
What are the common problems?
It is hard to say what are the most common problems as we really see everything, in the course of one day we can see couples who have been married for a few months and couples who have tried numerous treatments, young couples, older couples, couples with no children as well as those who already have children and are experiencing secondary infertility, really the whole range. We also counsel women with a variety of questions of women‚s health and couples with intimacy questions.
Why is supervision necessary?
Jewish law is very strict about the authenticity of lineage. In light of some high profile errors that occurred in fertility labs, many rabbis strongly opposed such treatment. Puah Institute developed a system of supervision in which the observer acts as witness of the procedure on behalf of the couple and the entire Jewish nation. Couples who use Puah supervision are confident that mistakes will not occur and this is critical in their decision to undergo treatment. Many rabbis who previously did not allow treatment will now permit it with Puah‚s supervision.
What is your educational program?
The Puah Institute strives to educate rabbis about available reproductive medicine and basic biology, to educate doctors and medical professionals about the relevant halachic implications of different treatments, and the general public about infertility and women‚s health awareness. We have numerous educational opportunities throughout the world. We train kallah and chattan teachers, supervisors and gynecological nurses, kollel students and many more. As part of our educational mission, Puah Institute was invited to speak at various distinguished institutions such as: Aguddah Convention, ASRM, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Cornell University, RCA, RCA of California, Yeshiva University. Many local synaguoges helped educate their communites by hosting a Shabbat Puah, amongst them Bnay Yeshurun, Teaneck, NJ Young Israel of Hillcrest, Riverdale Jewish Center, Young Israel of Riverdale, Boca Raton, Fl and many more.
A Puah Story
Rivkah (not her real name) was referred to Puah by her rabbi after having spent ten long childless years. She had almost given up hope and was getting used to idea that she would never have her own children. The Puah Rabbi listened patiently to her story and suggested some tests that she had not yet done. Rivkah accepted the Rabbi’s suggestions but still did not hold out much hope. While it was nice to have someone actually listen to her she did not feel that these tests would reveal anything new. In the meantime the Rabbi at Puah investigated her case, he contacted various doctors around the world and one of them reported new research that could be relevant. Indeed there were some reports at conferences that a new drug had been developed that could help Rivkah. The Rabbi immediately called her and she jumped at the chance, this was something new.
After several months of trying this new treatment Rivkah felt something strange, she went straight to her doctor who confirmed her suspicions, she was pregnant. Rivkah gave birth to a healthy baby boy and cannot thank Puah enough for giving her this gift.
An interview with Rabbi Weitzman
Q: When should we turn to a fertility specialist?
A: If you are not pregnant after one year of trying this indicates there is a problem and preliminary tests should be done. But this is not a hard and fast rule, if you have a medical history thast could indicate problems, a short cycle, an irregular cycle or with older couples this time frame may be shorter.
Q: Why should I speak to a rabbi and not just the doctor?
A: While the doctor may be sensitive to the couples, background and religious believes, they are not experts in the intricacies of halachah. The halachah does not prevent couples from undergoing
treatment, however almost every test has some halachic implications. A rabbi should be able to guide the couple through the process within the confines of halachah. The rabbis at Puah are experts in reproductive medicine and the relevant halachot. They are also in daily contact with experts and poskim worldwide to guide couples to the best and most appropriate treatment, all according to halachah.
Q: Why undergo treatment, surely we should just have emunah?
A: Hashem is willing to help us when we do all that we can do to help ourselves. This does not mean that we should not pray during treatment. In fact, anyone involved in reproductive medicine should learn first hand that Hashem rules the world. Simple cases are sometimes unsuccessful while more complicated and difficult cases are successful. This is obviously Hashem‚s hand, but this does not mean that we have to sit at home and wait. We need to put food in our mouths and not just wait for Hashem to make us feel satisfied. We work to make a living. Hashem has set up the world so that we need to do our hishtadlut and then, beezrat Hashem the blessings will come.
Q: What is your advice for the families of couples faced with infertility?
A: Try to be informed but not over involved, encouraging but not pushy, caring but not pitying. Let the couple take the lead and show you how they want you to help them.
End of Interview
Medical Advisory Board
Natan Bar Chama, M.D.
Marc Goldstein, M.D.
Richard Grazi, M.D.
Lawrence Grunfeld, M.D.
Harry Lieman, M.D.
Susan Lobel, M.D.
Steve C. Presser, M.D.
Peter N. Schlegel, M.D.
Zev Rosenwaks, M.D.
HaRav Menachem Burstein
Born in Uruguay, received his rabbinical ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Over the years, Rabbi Burstein has been engaged in the research of a broad range of topics, all of which relate to the interface between Torah and science. His research has been published in two books,
„HaTekhelet‰, and „Shmita; An Educational Manual, as well as in over 150 papers. In 1990, Rabbi Burstein established „Puah Institute, a non-profit organization specializing in fertility and halachic issues, which over the years has helped thousands of childless couples to fulfill their dream of bringing home a child of their own. Today, as director of the Puah Institute, Rabbi Burstein dedicates
most of his energy toward this amazing organization, delivering lectures throughout Israel and abroad, as well as giving personal counseling for couples and individuals. Rabbi Burstein is married to Tova, and is the father of eight children.
Rabbi Gideon Weitzman
born in Britain, was ordained by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, and has taught in a variety of educational institutions, from kindergarten to adult education. Rabbi Weitzman founded the Kansas City Community Kollel and served as the first Rosh Kollel. He currently teaches and is Director of the Puah Institute for Fertility and Gynecology in Accordance with Halachah in America.
Rabbi Weitzman is Visiting Associate Professor at Albert Einstein School of Medicine. He published Sparks of Light, a book of essays on the weekly Torah portion, as well as many halachic articles. He is a popular lecturer and is married to Rivka; they have five children.
Puah Institute has helped (CAN YOU CITE A NUMBER?) thousands of couples make their dreams come true and have children of their own. Their lives have been changed forever; couples become families with a baby in their midst. You can make a difference in peoples lives today - supporting
their struggle, tomorrow - with the birth of a new baby and for generations to come. Join Puah and invest in the future.
Puah offers a variety of sponsorship opportunites.
Give Puah – Give the Gift of Life
If you would like to donate to Puah please contact us at:
The Puah Institure
1709 Kings Highway
Brooklyn, NY 11219