From Kilayim to Kabbalah to CRISPR

I participated in a conference on the new gene-editing technology known as CRISPR/Cas9 at Berkeley on June 18-19, 2017. Below are my remarks, building on the foundation of my 2015 responsum on genetic engineering. Gene Editing Ethics Workshop convened by Jennifer Doudna and Bill Hurlbut Panel on Catholic, Muslim and Jewish Perspectives (Texts displayed as…

Naso 5777: The Problem with Priests

[Written for JTS Torah Commentary]      Modern Judaism has a problem with the priesthood. The notion of hereditary holiness—that one segment of the Jewish people is set apart from others, given ceremonial privileges, and invited to bless the people—conflicts with our egalitarian ethos. The strange rituals of the priests, especially when they are invited…