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Genetics and Judaism

  1. Frank J Leavitt

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020654



How to Cite

Leavitt, F. J. 2007. Genetics and Judaism. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Jakobovits Centre for Jewish Medical Ethics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Beer Sheva, Israel

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (27 JAN 2015)


Jewish Law (Halacha) rarely gives definitive answers nor is it the only source of Jewish thought. A Jewish philosophical–theological attitude may be more useful than Halacha when approaching new questions, such as problems in the ethics of genetics, which were not foreseen by the ancient Rabbis. Jewish mysticism (Kabala) is no less essential. An approach based on these three sources – Halacha, philosophical–theological thought and Kabala – in the context of specific debates, such as those over genetically modified organisms (GMOs), gene therapy, genetic screening, etc., can be valuable both in themselves and as illustrations of applications of a method.


  • genetically modified organisms;
  • genetics;
  • Judaism;
  • Kabala;
  • Maimonides;
  • Talmud