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August 31, 1984 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-08-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

T

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

NEWS

FIND IT

Jewish views
on genetic
research aired

IN THE

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN OVERCHARGED
OR RATED ON YOUR
LIFE INSURANCE POLICY?

Jewish tradition and
ethics not only do not forbid
genetic research but prob-
ably can be considered as
encouraging it, in the view
of religious and secular ex-
perts brought together by
the American Jewish
Committee to consider the
implications for Jews of the
explosively-expanding ad-
vances in such research.
The experts examined
such issues as how Judaism
views test-tube babies;
what an observant Jewish
couple should do if they are
infertile; or if they learn
their unborn child will be
born with a severe hand-
icap.
The experts were assem-
bled by the AJCommittee's
William Petschek National
Family Jewish Center last
spring.
Dr. Lawrence Grossman,
program specialist in the
AJCommittee's Jewish
Communal Affairs depart-
ment and conference coor-
dinator, said the aims of the
conference were to bring the
issue of genetic engineering
to the Jewish community's
attention; to stimulate dis-
cussion of the issues; to seek
Jewish perspectives on
those issues; and to "lay the
groundwork that would en-
able concerned Jews to take
a stand on these issues if
and when that seemed war-
ranted."
One of the central conclu-
sions of the conference was
that, in the Jewish view,
God has charged man "to
'conquer' the world, that is
to master nature" which
means Jews should join in
the process to try to "unlock
the secrets of genetics for
the benefit or humanity"
and that "we are fulfilling
God's will by uncovering the
secrets of the building
blocks of life."
The conferees also agreed
that treatment to help
couples overcome infertility
was in consonance with
Jewish law, both because
Judaism commands that
man "be fruitful and multi-
ply" and because "there is
an obligation to heal the
sick, and enabling the infer-
tile to conceive is a form of
healing."
Once it becomes possible
and reasonably safe to cure
genetic diseases while the
fetus is still in the uterus,
Jewish law would approve
of such treatments and pos-
sibly even mandate them,
according to the experts.
The conferees urged that
the Jewish community view
the questions raised by
genetic engineering in the
light of Jewish ethical prin-
ciples, particularly the cen-
tral Jewish principle that
human beings are not
"spare parts" and that no
action must violate human
dignity and sanctity.

Copyright 1984, JTA Inc.

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