Texts and Traditions

Bioethics 101

The intersection of Jewish law, Jewish ethics, and general ethical principles.

Beginning of Life

According to Jewish law, human life begins when the child's head emerges from the womb.

Defining Death in Jewish Law

Traditional sources point to the cessation of breathing as the moment of death.


The Talmud maintains the prohibition on active killing, even with the terminally ill.

Artificial Insemination

Four texts dealing with non-traditional forms of insemination.

Modern Insights

Fertility Technology

Jewish authorities do not object to fertility technology, but they have some caveats.

Modern Views on Euthanasia

Contemporary Jewish thinkers have expressed a wide range of opinions on this issue.

Gene Therapy and Genetic Engineering

Many issues related to these topics have yet to be addressed in Judaism.

Organ Donation

In light of the Jewish obligation to save lives.


Rabbis raise (and in some cases, answer) moral questions about surrogacy.


The Right to Die

Jewish thinkers balance the desires to preserve life and alleviate suffering.

The Morning After Pill

A Jewish perspective.

The Cloning Debate in Judaism

Jewish ethicists approve of therapeutic cloning, but have trouble with reproductive cloning.

In Vitro Fertilization

Test-tube conception might be okay, but where should unneeded genetic material go?

Misgivings and Misconceptions

The Jewish community has a poor track record when it comes to organ donations.