Kosher Meat in a Lab

A Start-Up Wants to Grow Kosher Meat in a Lab (The Atlantic, 9/16/16)

Is lab-grown meat kosher? From the point of view of kashrut, is it really meat? Can one eat a lab-grown meat cheeseburger? Is lab-grown pork kosher?

Explore these and other questions in a home learning program on Sunday, July 8, at 7:00 p.m., hosted by Buddy and Judy Joseph, 2609 Berwyck SE. RSVP to Rabbi Krishef to let him know that you are coming.

This is the second of our food technology-related studies of halakha, Jewish law. The first, in June, was an exploration of Genetically Modified Organisms. We thank Ken and Allyson Strauss for hosting, and Ken for covering the science behind GMOs. Here are some halakhic conclusions from the paper we studied regarding the genetic modification of plants and animals:

1) The Torah’s ban on kilayim, the physical blending of different species of plants or animals, does not extend to the modification of gene sequences. Jews may benefit from the fruits of hybridized plants and animals, but they should not intentionally create entirely new species. 

2) The health implications of genetically modified foods must be examined on an individual basis, without making broad assumptions that all GMOs are either salubrious or dangerous. The Torah’s command (Deut. 4:15) that we guard our health requires vigilant attention to the safety of our food supply. 

3) When considering the genetic modifications of organisms, Jews must, as informed and engaged citizens, seek to minimize animal suffering and to protect extant species.

And here are some halakhic conclusions regarding the genetic modification of humans:

4) The creation of dual species human/animal chimera is forbidden. 

5) Modifications of the human genome intended to combat illness are permitted, for they may promote human health and protect human dignity. 

6) Genetic modifications intended to enhance the aesthetics of otherwise healthy humans are forbidden, for they violate Jewish teachings about the sanctity of human life. Modifications to the human genome must be limited to changes needed to restore health. Because the line between therapy and enhancement is often ill-defined, consultation with a scholar versed in the halakhic, ethical and biological considerations is required before such therapy is commenced.

Torah Study Shabbat

Please join us for a Torah Study Shabbat/Abbreviated Shabbat service on the 4th Shabbat of the month. The schedule is:
  • 9:30 a.m. Torah study
  • 10:30 a.m. Service
  • 11:55 a.m. (approximately) Kiddush

Upcoming Torah study Shabbat services will be on April 28, May 26, June 23, July 28, August 25, September 22, October 27, November 24, and December 29. Mark your calendars!

Thursday Tanakh Study Group

Thursdays, 1:00 - 2:00 pm, Schuler Books and Music, 28th St., (in the back of the store).  We are studying the books of Kings, one chapter per week.

Jewish Mysticism/Zohar Study Group

Mondays, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Ahavas Israel library. This study group is slowly working its way through Daniel Matt's translation of the Zohar.

JTS iTunes U


The JTS iTunes U site features a wide variety of content. The site, accessible via Apple’s iTunes, makes public lectures, Torah commentaries, and select JTS courses available for free streaming and downloading.

The weekly Torah commentary podcasts are easy to find and subscribe to, as are recordings of public JTS lectures and events, such as the popular series of Library Book Talks that feature JTS faculty and other distinguished authors discussing their latest books.

Collections of lectures detailing issues in contemporary Jewish philosophy, theology, and ethics highlight how JTS scholarship engages with the challenges of the 21st century.

Introduction to Judaism

Taught by Rabbi David Krishef

Beginning Monday, November 6, 7:00- 8:15 p.m. 

Cost:  $70/members and B’nai Noah affiliates, $95/non-members (includes the cost of the SourceBook)

A basic introduction to Jewish history, beliefs, rituals, holidays, and life cycle celebrations. Taught in partnership with the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program of American Jewish University. The syllabus can be download here or call the office to have it emailed/mailed to you.

AJU MillerIntro


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