Talk to link Jewish ethics, biotechnology

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson of Arizona State University will present “The Imperative to Heal: Judaism, Ethics & Biotechnology,” the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies’ 2018 Rabbi Marcus Breger Memorial Lecture, on Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Today, diverse biomedical procedures constitute what we call “genetic engineering.” These procedures include genetic mapping, genetic testing and screening, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, genetic surgery, and research that could lead to the cloning of humans and genome editing, explains Tirosh-Samuelson, who is the director of Jewish studies, the Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism, and a professor of history at ASU. Her lecture will discuss the pro-biotechnology stance of Jewish ethicists, which is grounded in the commandment to heal found in Exodus 21:19. The talk, which is presented free of charge, also will explore the existential and demographic stresses in Israel and the Diaspora that account for this pro-biotechnology stance, as well as some of the dissenting voices.

Breger, who served Congregation Anshei Israel for decades in the mid-1900s and died in 1975, was instrumental in founding many Jewish educational and communal organizations in Tucson and the Southwest, including the Judaic studies program at the University of Arizona.