God and the Embryo: Religious Voices on Stem Cells and Cloning

By Brent Waters; Ronald Cole-Turner | Go to book overview

APPENDIX H
Cloning Research, Jewish Tradition and
Public Policy: A Joint Statement by the
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations
of America and the Rabbinical Council
of America

Society today stands on the threshold of a new era in biomedical research. The wisdom granted to humans by our Creator has led to our greater understanding and knowledge of the building blocks of human life itself. Scientists revealed the existence and role of DNA and cellular science many years ago. Currently, scientists are not only able to describe the nature of cellular life, but manipulate it as well. We are now faced with the possibility of mastering the art of this manipulation to the point of being able to clone in research laboratories the cells that, in other circumstances, lead to fully developed human beings.

A debate has emerged in American society at large and among our elected leaders as to whether public policy should permit, encourage, restrict or ban the further conduct of this biomedical research. The issue is one with complex moral dimensions. On the one hand scientific research indicates that there is great life-saving potential in the results that can come from cloning research. On the other hand, we must be vigilant against any erosion of the value that society accords to human life.

Our Torah tradition places great value upon human life; we are taught in the opening chapters of Genesis that each human was created in God's image. After creating man and woman, God empowered them to enter a partnership with Him in the stewardship of the world. The Torah commands us to treat and cure the ill and to defeat disease wherever possible; to do this is to be the Creator's partner in safeguarding the created. The traditional Jewish

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