Rabbi Asher Bush and Rabbi Pinchas Weinberger’s eleventh grade halacha classes welcomed special guest speaker Dr. Nathan Fox on March 27. The class had studied a unit on genetic testing in halacha, and Fox, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine and high risk pregnancies, brought the unit to life by discussing his professional experiences to do with genetic testing and reproductive medical ethics.
Fox provided examples of both common and rare cases where genetic testing can be useful—for example, the Jewish community has near eliminated occurrences of the fatal Tay Sachs disease—and also pointed out some of the ethical and halachic issues that relate to tougher, more complicated cases.
A provocative, open question Fox left the class with is how and at what age/life stage to best bring genetic testing to the Modern Orthodox community, whose marriage-minded members do not always meet through pre-arranged shidduchim. The discussion noted that this question remains pertinent within our community, as the Dor Yesharim genetic testing system may sometimes seem to fit better for communities where young men and women meet in a more arranged and structured manner.