Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought

Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought

Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought

Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought

Synopsis

Well aware of Jews having once been the victims of Nazi eugenics policies, many Jews today have an ambivalent attitude toward new genetics and are understandably wary of genetic forms of identity and intervention. At the same time, the Jewish tradition is strongly committed to medical research designed to prevent or cure diseases. Jews and Genes explores this tension against the backdrop of various important developments in genetics and bioethics--new advances in stem cell research; genetic mapping, identity, testing, and intervention; and the role of religion and ethics in shaping public policy.
Jews and Genes brings together leaders in their fields, from all walks of Judaism, to explore these most timely and intriguing topics--the intricacies of the genetic code and the wonders of life, along with cutting-edge science and the ethical issues it raises.

Excerpt

As the world’s largest general scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is committed not only to the advancement of scientific discovery but also to exploring the implications of scientific progress for the larger society. As part of this commitment, AAAS established the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program in 1995 to promote collaboration and dialogue between the scientific and religious communities, to explore the ethical and religious implications of scientific research, and to deepen understanding of the cultural context in which science is embedded. This volume is a good example of that, with its focus on the intersection of molecular genetics and the Jewish tradition. The international collaboration and interdisciplinary discourse represented by the chapters in this book are a model for engaging religious scholars and scientific researchers on a topic of increasing importance for both communities as well as the larger society.

Although the project that led to this book began at the beginning of the decade, the scientific advances since then, many of which are described in this volume, have only made the need for such an effort more compelling. Advances in genetics present unique challenges for the Jewish community, which is not monolithic in its interpretation of . . .

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