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Jews and Genes The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought

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  • Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff (editor)
  • Laurie Zoloth (editor)
  • Mark S. Frankel (foreword)
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About the Book

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.

Awards

2015 National Jewish Book Award Finalist in Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice.

Praise

Dorff and Zoloth have assembled contributions that shed light on Jews, biology, and genes that are engagingly revelatory for Jew and non-Jew alike.

—Arthur L. Caplan, Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center

A brilliant combination of science and philosophy that deepens one’s awe for the genetics of life and demonstrates how insights from Jewish thought can help address the vexing questions that arise because of scientists’ new capabilities to test for genes and alter them in the effort to prevent or cure disease.

—Neil S. Wenger, director of the UCLA Health Ethics Center

Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff

Elliot N. Dorff, Rabbi (Jewish Theological Seminary), PhD (Columbia University), is rector and Sol and Anne Dorff Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) in Los Angeles. Among the twelve books he has written are four award-winning books on Jewish ethics and law published by The Jewish Publication Society: Matters of Life and Death(1998) on Jewish medical ethics; To Do the Right and the Good (2002) on Jewish social ethics; Love Your Neighbor and Yourself on Jewish personal ethics; and For the Love of God and People: A Philosophy of Jewish Law (2007). He has also edited 10 books, including Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality(Oxford, 1995) and Contemporary Jewish Theology (Oxford, 1999), co-edited by Louis Newman, who also co-edited with Dorff the first three volumes of the Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices series. Since 1984, Rabbi Dorff has served on the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, and has served as its Chair since 2007. He has also served on several federal advisory commissions dealing with the ethics of health care, sexual responsibility, and research on human subjects. He is a member of the State of California’s Ethics Committee on embryonic stem cell research.

Laurie Zoloth

Laurie Zoloth is a professor of religious studies and on the Jewish studies faculty at Weinberg College and is a professor of medical humanities and bioethics at the Feinberg School of Medicine, both at Northwestern University. She is the author or editor of six books, including The Ethics of Encounter: A Jewish Discussion of Social Justice.

Mark S. Frankel

Mark S. Frankel is director of the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights, and Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Resources

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