My Jewish Learning

Jewish Bioethics Quiz

When Jewish thinkers consider issues like euthanasia, abortion, and organ donation, they articulate diverse positions on the relationship between Jewish law, Jewish ethics, and secular ethics. How much do you know about Jewish bioethics?

Question 1. Couples should be genetically screened
 Before they get married
 In the week after they get married
 After they have conceived a child
 Between their first and second children


Question 2. Nazis claimed that
 Jews were predisposed toward breast cancer
 Jews were predisposed to be very smart
 Jews were genetically inferior to non-Jews
 Jews all wanted to be blond


Question 3. True or false: In recent years, some liberal rabbis have suggested that active euthanasia be permitted in certain cases where the pain experienced by a terminally ill patient diminishes his/her ability to live in the image of God.


Question 4. According to Jewish law, is the morning-after pill permitted?
 Yes, because the fertilized egg does not count as a pregnancy until 40 days have passed
 Yes, because the fetus is not viable on its own, and thus doesn't count as a person
 No, because all forms of abortion are prohibited
 No, because abortions have to be performed by specially trained Jewish doctors in order for them to be sanctioned by halakhah


Question 5. According to traditional Jewish sources, when does death occur?
 When the heart stops beating
 When breathing totally and irreversibly ceases
 When a person says the Shema and closes his/her eyes for the last time
 Any of the above


Question 6. According to Jewish law, what is a goses?
 A terminally ill patient, who is expected to die within 72 hours
 Someone who has been given a terminal diagnosis, but whose life expectancy is unknown
 A corpse within one day after death
 A person who wants to die


Question 7. From a Jewish perspective, what is the best way of screening for genetic diseases?
 Carrier screening
 Pre-implantation screening
 Prenatal testing
 No screening is allowed at any point


Question 8. True or false: Jewish law always forbids organ donation.


Question 9. In the Talmud, the vital sign distinguishing life and death is
 the heart beating
 the ability to say the name of God


Question 10. Which of the following denominations allow organ donation?
 Modern Orthodox
 All of the above