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. According to Jewish law, actively hastening the death of a dying person is akin to what?
 Putting a stumbling block in front of a blind person
 Defiling Shabbat


Question 2. According to Jewish law, when does a fetus acquire the rights of a person?
 When it is conceived
 When its movements are perceptible by the mother
 When it reaches its due date
 When it is born


Question 3. What is the rabbinic position on stem cell research?
 The majority of contemporary halakhic authorities sanction it
 The majority of contemporary halakhic authorities prohibit it
 It is prohibited because equally good cells can be gathered from an umbilical chord
 It was forbidden by the rabbis of the Talmud, but has been permitted by contemporary Orthodox authorities


Question 4. 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 5. True or False: There is a case of genetic engineering in the Bible.


Question 6. According to most traditional Jewish authorities, who is legally considered the father of a child born via donor sperm?
 The man who raises the child
 The man who provides the sperm
 They are both considered fathers of the child
 The child is considered to have no father


Question 7. 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 8. According to the Talmud, when does a soul enter a baby's body?
 At conception
 After the first trimester
 When the child first answers Amen to a blessing
 No one knows


Question 9. According to Jewish law, which of the following is true of abortion?
 Life begins at conception, so abortion is tantamount to murder
 Traditional Jewish law does not consider a fetus to be a human being
 If a woman's life is endangered by her pregnancy she still must have the baby
 Abortion is permissible under all circumstances; the rabbis did not claim ownership over women's bodies


Question 10. True or false: In some situations, Jewish law actually requires a woman to have an abortion.