This article will examine the ambivalence in the views of Jewish authorities towards suicide. There are Jewish rulings which forbid the taking of one's own life, including requested euthanasia. There are seemingly contrary rulings which tolerate and sometimes admire suicide, particularly under conditions of religious persecution. The article will attempt an overview of suicide rates in Jewish communities, indicating variations in different circumstances. The question of whether religiosity affects suicide will be raised and examined. These variations—and of course other factors—may offer some clues to the precursors of suicide, and the processes which may be involved. The causal and risk factors in self-harm among Jews will also be examined. The article then turns to post-suicide events, behaviours and attitudes in Jewish communities.
suicide; Jewish law; suicide ideation; self-harm
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