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The Human Blueprint

The Human Blueprint

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Published by silvergleam
Yeshiva University Student Medical Ethics Society's 4th conference entitled "The Human Blueprint: Jewish Perspectives on Modern Genetics."
Yeshiva University Student Medical Ethics Society's 4th conference entitled "The Human Blueprint: Jewish Perspectives on Modern Genetics."

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Published by: silvergleam on Oct 19, 2009
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10/18/2009

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1
The Human Blueprint: Jewish Perspectives on Modern Genetics
Fourth Family Fuld Medical Ethics Conference
Sam:
B’Reshut Roshei Yeshiva, honored speakers, and esteemed guests. Hello and welcome tothe Fuld Family Conference, The Human Blueprint: Jewish Perspectives on ModernGenetics.I am Sam Weprin – “and I am Tali Bauman”-, and as co-presidents and conferenceorganizers, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation andsupport in the YU Student Medical Ethics Society’s 4
th
annual conference. We hope thattoday’s presentations will enrich your understanding of the medical and ethical issues inmodern genetics as they relate to Jewish law and Torah values.Before we begin today’s program we would like to take a moment to thank the Fuldfamily whose generous gift has made today possible.Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Anita Fuld are founders and supporters of the Shaare Tzedek Zohar PGD laboratory in Israel, which Tali and I had the unique privilege of visiting over Succot. There we were greeted by world class experts in the field of reproductivegenetics who assist families in Pre Implantation Genetics Diagnosis.The Fulds’ generosity has enabled over 400 participants here today as well as those joining us in Israel via webcast to partake in this unique event. We are especially honoredto have the Fulds joining us through this webcast. We would like to take this opportunityto express our profound hakaras hatov for making today possible.
Tali:
Yesterday, we read Parshat Bereishit, which discusses the creation of man. In perek aleph pasuk caf zayin, it is written: HEBREW Man was created in the image of G-d. Later, the Torah writes, G-d created man “afer minhaadama”, from the dust of the ground. This however is a seemingly simplistic view of the makeup of man. As science has proven, each and every one of us is composed of anintricate pattern of genetic information which makes us unique. One way to understandthe significance of man’s holiness as a tzelem elokim is to explore and delve into theintricacies and details of the human body. “Lo Machsevoti Machshetochaicham Ve’Lodarcaichem derachai” While We do not understand G-d’s thoughts and ways, what we doknow is that when G-d created man "V’henei Tov
Meod”,
and he was
very
good, asopposed to other creations which were merely good. Endeavoring to understand thewholesomeness of man through science and halacha allows us invaluable insight intowho we are as people formed in the very image of God.
Sam:
 
2Today we have been given tremendous tools and opportunities to help in the battleagainst genetic diseases. As will be presented today, there are many facets of moderngenetics: technology, law and science. We have the charge of ‘v’rapo yirapei,’ and “youshall certainly heal” and through the prism of Torah we utilize these technologies to helpmanage and prevent genetic diseases.This is one of the many goals of the Student Medical Ethics Society. We strive to promote education and awareness of medical ethics issues and halacha not only withinYU, but beyond the university walls as well.
Tali:
It is our obligation to study and continue to understand the development of humanitythrough the lens of medicine and halacha. Throughout the year, we provide programmingthat delves into various contemporary issues, whether they be end of life issues,contraception, stem cell research, or many other hot topics in medical ethics.With the support of Yeshiva University and the Center for the Jewish Future, thisconference can help individuals and families suffering from genetic diseases andhopefully will impact our participants to become active members of the Jewishcommunity in helping the continuation of the Jewish people.Today’s conference will be recorded and available online at yutorah.org and we knowthat this vital information will enlighten, enrich and guide Jewish communities for manyyears to come.
Sam:
We would like to thank the Center for the Jewish Future, under the leadership of theDean, Rabbi Kenneth Brander for its constant support and encouragement. Thank youRabbi Brander for your dedication for and cultivation of MES and your commitment toJewish medical ethics. A special thank you to Aliza Berenholz who has dedicatedcountless hours to ensure the success of today’s conference. Thank you, Aliza. We cannotexpress enough gratitude to and pride in our board and volunteers for their tireless hoursof hard work and dedication; Thanks for making us look good.
Tali:
At this time, we would like to introduce our mentor and conference chairman, Rabbi Dr.Edward Reichman. Dr. Reichman’s support, advice, and words of encouragement have been invaluable in planning today’s event. Sam and I have truly enjoyed cultivating arelationship with you throughout the past 6 months. Thank you for always being availableto speak to us and help mold us into the people we are today.
 
3Without further adieu, Dr. Reichman… 
Dr. Edward Reichman:
Thank you very much, Sam and Tali. I also want to echo their thanks to the CJF and mydear friend and colleage Kenneth Brander for his extraordinary vision. He is truly theman behind this kind of event. He has facilitated the leadership of so many of thestudents at Yeshiva University. Want to echo the thanks to the Fuld family without whomthis conference would never have been possible in the beauty you see today. Finally wantto thank Tali and Sam who I think are genetically engineered – done such a beautiful job.If every day is only Tov, how in the end could it be Tov Meod? Vilna Gaon and manyothers say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Every one of the people here,everyone who was involved are each extraordinary people but the aggregate of all these people today is truly. Had the pleasure of introducing this conference for the past four years. Every conference I’ve introduced with a story about dirt and today the entirecontest is about dirt.Story of a scientist who approached God and said we have so many developments in somany medical issues that we don’t need you anymore; we can do just about anything youcan do; in fact, we can create man. God said to the scientist: Is that so? How do you dosuch a thing? Scientist says we take some dirt from the ground, put in some enzymes witha pipette- and God says why don’t you show me. Scientist picks up some dirt and Godsays no, no, get your own dirt.Put into context all these medical advances into the halakhic world. Our previousconferences have related perhaps to some people but not to all. There is one criterion for today’s conference to make it relevant to you and that is chromosomes. So how many people by a show of hands have chromosomes? Wonderful. Not lost on you theassociation of Sefer Breishis- first session will be on Peru U’Revu, behavioral genetics,to determine if Chava and Kayin had criminal genes to perform their behaviors.Actually adapted many of the things that we learned from surveys on this conference, soyou will have a genetically perfect conference, removed all mutations.To conclude with an idea that God looked into the Torah and created the world. So inessence the Torah was the Divine Blueprint for the creation of the world. I would submitthat the converse is also true. Adam mistakla b’alma, bara oraisa. When we delve into theinner workings of the world in a conference like this to see the beauty and extraordinaryenhancements in a conference like this, we are bringing Torah to life, showing the gloryof God. Would like to begin our conference- Rabbi Brander would you like to addanything?Rabbi Brander: No, let’s just begin.

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