Honors Programs and RIETS Host a Discussion on Genetic Testing and Jewish Law

Esti Rose
Esti Rose

On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College, the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Stern College for Women, the Business Honors and Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at the Sy Syms School of Business, and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) hosted “Genetic Testing: A Scientific and Halachic Perspective.”

The featured speaker was Esther Rose ’07S, a genetics counselor from JScreen, a program for Jewish genetic diseases headquartered at Emory University’s Department of Human Genetics. Sara Gdanski ’21S, a current honors student who has worked as a JScreen intern, developed the idea for the very successful event that drew approximately 200 participants.

Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz

Joining Rose was Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, director of the Semikhah [rabbinic ordination] Program at RIETS, and the panelists discussed scenarios involving reproductive genetic testing and how screenings might influence family planning.

“The session was incredibly informative and well presented,” said Yonatan Kurz ’23YC.  “Learning about the importance of genetic testing and the accompanying halachic [Jewish law] and practical implications made it a tremendously helpful and enlightening presentation.”

Dr. Eliezer Schnall, director of Yeshiva College’s Honors program, was excited by the turnout and looks forward to co-hosting more events that bring together the University’s honors programs.