- For our wives
- Introduction: Why Study Jewish Ethics?
- Jewish Ethical Theories
- Ethical Theory and Practice in the Hebrew Bible
- Ethical Theories in Rabbinic Literature
- Ethical Theories in Jewish Mystical Writings
- Ethical Theories among Medieval Jewish Philosophers
- Spinoza and Jewish Ethics
- Mussar Ethics and Other Nineteenth-Century Jewish Ethical Theories
- Ethical Theories of Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber
- Ethical Theories of Mordecai Kaplan and Abraham Joshua Heschel
- Ethical Theories of Abraham Isaac Kook and Joseph B. Soloveitchik
- Ethical Implications of the Holocaust
- Ethical Theories in the Reform Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Conservative Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Orthodox Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Reconstructionist Movement
- Feminist Jewish Ethical Theories
- Postmodern Jewish Ethical Theories
- Topics in Jewish Morals
- Jewish Bioethics: The Beginning of Life
- Jewish Bioethics: The End of Life
- Jewish Bioethics: The Distribution of Health Care
- Jewish Bioethics: Current and Future Issues in Genetics
- Jewish Business Ethics
- Jewish Sexual Ethics
- Jewish Environmental Ethics: Intertwining Adam with Adamah
- Jewish Animal Ethics
- Jewish Ethics of Speech
- Jewish Political Ethics in America
- Jewish Political Ethics in Israel
- Judaism and Criminal Justice
- Jewish Ethics and War
- BIBLICAL SOURCES: RABBINIC AND SELECTED MEDIEVAL CITATIONS
- SUBJECT INDEX
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter explores one of the most important new frontiers in medicine—namely, the new genetics—addressing the issues of identity and free will that genetics raises in new ways. It then uses the case of a woman with “the breast cancer gene” as an example of how genetic testing poses excruciating, new questions to the women affected and their families. Aside from the practical questions of what to do when faced with such a diagnosis, does this and the other Ashkenazi Jewish genetic diseases serve as a basis for the “discrimination, stigmatization, and marginalization” of Jews generally? Should Jews and others think of Jews as a “sick” people? For Jews, of course, such discussion of eugenics has a painful past in both the United States and in Nazi Germany. This is complicated yet further by the fact that in some cases, as with the breast cancer gene, the presence of the gene does not guarantee that the woman will have cancer but only adds to the probability of that happening. What, then, if anything, should be done with such a diagnosis? Furthermore, the availability of pre-natal testing for genetic diseases could easily create expectations in the future that families with a history of a particular genetic disease be tested for it, and if they bear a child with the disease, they may be seen as morally delinquent to both the child and society. The analysis brings Jewish concepts and values to bear on these questions.
Laurie Zoloth is Director of the Brady Program in Ethics and Civic Life, Charles Deering McCormick Professor in Religious Studies and Jewish Studies, and Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University, where she directed the Center for Bioethics, receiving Northwestern’s Distinguished Teaching Award. She was Director of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University. She served as President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, receiving its Distinguished Service Award; as vice president of the Society for Jewish Ethics; as member of the NASA National Advisory Council, the agency’s highest civilian advisory board, and its International Planetary Protection Committee, receiving the NASA National Public Service Award; as Chair of the HHMI Bioethics Advisory Board, on the Boards of the International Society for Stem Cell Research; the Society for Women`s Health Research; the NIH Asia AIDS trial group; the editorial boards of The American Society for Law, Medicine and Ethics Journal; Shofar: A Journal of Jewish Studies; The Journal of Clinical Ethics; The American Journal of Bioethics; and Second Opinion: A Journal of Health, Faith and Ethics. Her doctorate in Social Ethics and M.A. in Jewish Studies are from the Graduate Theological Union, where she was Alumna of the Year in 2005. She has published over 200 essays in ethics, family, feminist theory, religion and science, Judaism, and U.S. social policy, authoring Health Care and The Ethics of Encounter: A Jewish Perspective on Justice, and co-editing Notes from a Narrow Ridge: Religion and Bioethics; Margin of Error: The Ethics of Mistakes in Medicine; The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Ethics, Religion and Policy; and Oncofertility: Religious, Ethical and Social Perspectives.
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