Jewish Sources and Discussion Related to the Genetic Engineering of Foods

Attached is an extensive source and discussion sheet for the question of whether jewish values support or oppose the genetic engineering of foods.

The topic has been divided into 6 Jewish themes, in my view each theme seems to give it's own opinion on how Judiasm views this topic, and the overall picture is complicated. But that is how it is with good Jewish debate.

Themes for Discussion:

1. Whose world is it? Do we have the right to manipulate Creation?

2. Importance of individual species in Jewish texts / Halacha (Laws) of Kilayim

3. Halacha (Laws) of Shatnez – the prohibition against mixing wool and linen

4. Kashrut – Can you create a treif tomato?

5. Human Health / Pikuach Nefesh

6. Precautionary Principle

How to use these sheets:

Option 1 – Divide into 6 groups. Assign each group a theme and distribute background & text sheets. Ask participants to read and discuss the background & texts, and answer the question provided. Ask one or two members of each group to present their topic and what they talked about or decided, using one quote from the sheet.

Option 2 – As a group, read aloud and discuss the entire document. After each theme, discuss the texts read and the question presented. Make sure to not spend too much time on any theme as there are up to 6 you will want to cover.

If you have the time and a small enough group of adults, I recommend Option 2 as it will allow everyone to look indepth at each of the themes.

Materials developed by Noam Dolgin,

All content is subject to the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. (Ie. Tell other where you got it from and don't sell it)

Thanks to Akiva Wolff for many of the sources and ideas.

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