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When Judaism Meets Science

 

“a rare masterpiece”
– Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, HUC

“careful research, passionate analysis, and good sense”
– Rabbi David Teutsch, RRC

“clear, engaging”
– Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman, Sinai and Synapses

“a tremendous tome”
– Rabbi Wayne Dosick, SpiritTalk Live!

“an absolutely fascinating book”
– Rabbi Richard Address, Jewish Sacred Aging

“scholarly, judicious, and fair–minded . . . and very ‘readable’”
– Ronald W. Pies, MD

“a fresh way to explore Jewish topics . . . useful in teaching adults”
– Rabbi Gail Shuster–Bouskila

“A must read! . . . careful thought and such literary excellence”
– Rabbi Jack Riemer

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Posts Tagged ‘science’

When Jews Argue in the Supreme Court About Abortion

Monday, November 29, 2021 @ 02:11 PM
posted by Roger Price
United States Supreme Court
(Credit: supremecourt.gov)

That Jews have disparate viewpoints on abortion is not news, but the argument has mostly been maintained and contained within the tribe. Every once in a while, though, it erupts into the public square, and the current consideration by the Supreme Court of the United States of the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Health, known as the Mississippi abortion case, is one of those times. What are Jews saying, and why?

The Context.

The extent to which abortion – the termination of the life of an embryo or fetus – occurs is not documented precisely in the United States. Since 1969, however, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has collected data on legally induced abortions from most, but not all, states. Its findings for 2018 disclose that 619,591 legally induced abortions were reported to it. Of these, 92.2% were performed during or before the 13th week of gestation. Another 6.9% were reported between weeks 14 and 20. Less than 1% were reported in or after week 21.

The Case.

The case before the United States Supreme Court arises from the enactment by the State of Mississippi in 2018 of the state’s Gestational Age Act (the “Act”) which prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for, and only for, medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. Because the ban prohibits abortions prior to the normal time for fetal viability (at about 22-24 weeks of pregnancy), the Act runs afoul of the Supreme Court’s previous holdings in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 883 (1992). As Mississippi acknowledges, the very purpose of the Act is to challenge Roe, Casey, and their progeny. To understand the legal issues in the case, then, we need to look first at the primary precedents.

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Cong. Agudat Achim Explores “When Judaism Meets Science”

Monday, April 5, 2021 @ 02:04 PM
posted by Roger Price
Cong. Agudat Achim

Cong. Agudat Achim (“CAA”) is a full service, egalitarian, and participatory congregation based in Schenectady, New York. For over 120 years, it has identified with the Conservative movement.

In late March, 2021, as part of CAA’s series on Judaism and science, three members of the congregations, each of whom also happens to be a scientist, interviewed your blogmaster, Roger Price, about various aspects of the interplay of Judaism and science. The interviewers were Andrew Gavens, a materials engineer, Advisor at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, and past president of CAA, Jay Yablon, a theoretical physicist at Einstein Centre for Local–Realistic Physics, patent lawyer, and also a past president of CAA, and Susan Sharfstein, a biochemical engineer and professor of nanobioscience at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Steven Jarrett, a retired physician and former Medical Director for the Capital District Regional Office of the NYS-DOH, also submitted questions.

The principal topics covered over the course of about one hour and twenty–five minutes include the motivation for and the process regarding writing “When Judaism Meets Science,” ethical issues associated with CRISPR technology and gene and germline editing, Moses as an author or, alternatively, a scientist, what, if anything, science says about God and the writing of the Torah, the historical accuracy of the Passover and Exodus stories,  how, if at all, the Torah and science agree on the creation of the universe and humankind, and, finally, how Judaism and science inform each other regarding artificial intelligence, possible life on exoplanets, and exotheology.  The full discussion can be accessed on YouTube by clicking here. Introductions begin at the 2:28 mark. Enjoy.

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz Explores “When Judaism Meets Science”

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 @ 05:01 PM
posted by Roger Price
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is a rabbi, educator, activist, and author. Not yet forty years old, Rabbi Yanklowitz has twice been named one of America’s Top Rabbis by Newsweek and has also been named by The Forward as one of the 50 most influential Jews and one of The Most Inspiring Rabbis in America. Rabbi Yanklowitz is the author of nineteen books on Jewish ethics and his writings have appeared in outlets as diverse as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the Atlantic among many other secular and religious publications.

In July 2013, Rabbi Yanklowitz became Executive Director, then later President and Dean, of Valley Beit Midrash, a center for Jewish learning, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. In January, 2021, as part of Valley Beit Midrash’s interest in the interface of Judaism and science, Rabbi Yanklowitz interviewed author Roger Price about his book When Judaism Meets Science. The interview, which runs about ten minutes, covers the unique nature of the book’s contents, the differences between the challenges modern science presents today to Judaism, and by extension the Jewish People, and previous challenges, one of the more serious consequences of the current challenge of modern science, and the topic that has elicited the most engaged conversation when the author meets with congregants around the country. That interview can now be seen and heard here:

Enjoy.

Rabbi Yanklowitz was ordained as a rabbi at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, received a second rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the chief rabbi of Efrat, and a third rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo of Jerusalem. He studied at the University of Texas as an undergraduate, received a master’s degree at Harvard University in Leadership and Psychology, and earned a Doctorate from Columbia University in Epistemology and Moral Development.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is also the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek (the Orthodox Social Justice movement), the Founder and CEO of Shamayim (Jewish animal advocacy), and the Founder and President of YATOM, (Jewish foster and adoption network). Rabbi Yanklowitz, his wife Shoshana, and their four children live in Scottsdale, Arizona. They are also foster parents.

When Judaism Meets Science can be purchased from various etailers, including Amazon, and also from the publisher, Wipf and Stock.

Rabbi Arnold Rachlis Explores “When Judaism Meets Science”

Sunday, September 6, 2020 @ 05:09 PM
posted by Roger Price
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis

Early in August, 2020, Rabbi Arnold Rachlis interviewed Roger Price regarding his book “When Judaism Meets Science.” Initially, the interview followed an Erev Shabbat service at Rabbi Rachlis’s congregation, University Synagogue, Irvine, California. Over the course of twenty–four minutes, Rabbi Rachlis’s questions and Price’s answers covered a number of issues discussed in Price’s book, including the challenges of contemporary science to Judaism, the rejection of science and facts, vaccinations, artificial intelligence and a Jewdroid, genetics and diseases, Jewish genetic markers, and neuroscience and freewill.

Rabbi Arnold Rachlis has served as the rabbi of University Synagogue since 1987, guiding it from a small havurah to a center that serves more than 600 families. Previously, he served as rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston, Illinois. Rabbi Rachlis was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1975, having previously earned a B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds an M.A. degree from Temple University and a Doctor of Divinity degree from RRC.

Now the entire interview, by itself, can be seen and heard here: https://vimeo.com/445649383/7bcc001c52

Enjoy!

For nine years, Rabbi Rachlis hosted Of Cabbages and Kings on ABC-TV, as well as a syndicated cable television show on contemporary Jewish issues, Hayom. He has appeared as a guest on NPR, CBS, CNN, and PBS. He was profiled in the award-winning documentary film, The Legacy, and has served as a Judaica consultant for Compton’s Encyclopedia. He has also published scholarly articles, opinion pieces, and poetry in a variety of publications, including Judaism, Reconstructionist, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Jewish Journal, and A Psychology – Judaism Reader.

Rabbi Rachlis has served in Washington, D.C. as a White House Fellow, an honor annually accorded to only a dozen national leaders, and as a Senior Foreign Affairs advisor in the State Department. Chosen by the White House to give the invocation for President Obama’s Town Hall meeting, he was selected as one of the 25 most influential leaders in Orange County. Rabbi Rachlis has also served as Chair of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a coalition of over 1000 synagogues and Jewish organizations across the country.

When Judaism Meets Science can be purchased from various etailers, including Amazon, and also from the publisher, Wipf and Stock.

Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman Explores “When Judaism Meets Science”

Sunday, August 9, 2020 @ 04:08 PM
posted by Roger Price
Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman

RABBI GEOFFREY MITELMAN is the Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses. There he seeks to bridge “the religious and scientific worlds, offering people a worldview that is scientifically grounded and spiritually uplifting.” Believing that “we need both religion and science as sources of wisdom, as the spark for new questions, and as inspiration and motivation,” Sinai and Synapses provides “tools and language for learning and living to those who see science as their ally as they pursue personal growth and the repair of our world.” These tools include “classes, seminars, lectures, videos and writings, [which help] create a vision of religion that embraces critical thinking and scientific inquiry, and at the same time, gives meaning to people’s lives and helps them make a positive impact on society.”

Rabbi Mitelman’s interview of author Roger Price concerning the latter’s new book, When Judaism Meets Science, covers a wide range of topics, including COVID–19, public health, and fake news, vaccines and kashrut, and artificial intelligence and a Jewdroid. Running about twenty–five minutes, without commercial interruption, it can be seen and heard here: https://sinaiandsynapses.org/multimedia-archive/when-judaism-meets-science/

     When Judaism Meets Science can be purchased from various etailers, including Amazon, and also from the publisher, Wipf and Stock.

“When Judaism Meets Science” at Beth Emet

Sunday, April 19, 2020 @ 11:04 AM
posted by Roger Price
Beth Emet – The Free Synagogue

Beth Emet – The Free Synagogue is a Reform congregation in Evanston, Illinois. In November, 2019, it hosted an interview of Roger Price, author of When Judaism Meets Science. The interview was conducted in front of a live audience by David Graham, then a litigator and partner with the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP. Previously, Graham was a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School and more recently, and repeatedly, was designated a “Best Lawyer” in commercial litigation. For several years, he also served as president of Beth Emet.

The program begins with a brief introduction by Marci Dickman, Beth Emet’s Director of Lifelong Learning. For the next forty–five minutes, Graham’s questions and Price’s responses cover a number of issues discussed in Price’s book, including the distinctive approaches of science and religion, the roles each plays today, the challenge of science to religion on matters such as the Passover story and genetically modified crops, the reaction of segments of the community to science’s challenges to religion, the problem with cognitive biases, and the need for critical thinking. Audience questions followed, and extended the discussion for another forty–five minutes. During this segment, comments were made concerning boundaries, abortion, the anthropic principle, the purpose of the Torah text, prayer as quotation and as affirmation, the need for humility, and the impact of writing a book. The entire session is available here, without editing or commercials: https://soundcloud.com/bethemet/roger-price

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Judeology Explores “When Judaism Meets Science”

Monday, March 2, 2020 @ 04:03 PM
posted by Roger Price

Judeology is a website dedicated to sparking Judaism “through science, technology, and the arts.” Recently it posted a podcast about what happens when Judaism meets science. One of the things that is unique about this podcast is that the host, Yaakov Schefres, is not a rabbi but an aerospace engineer. Over the course of just over a half hour, Yaakov and I engage in a wide ranging discussion about the different approaches and techniques of religion and science with respect to the big questions of the day. We talk about faith in religion and confidence in science, as well as about the evolution of Judaism and self–correction in science. We also explore descriptions of the Biblical text as history, science, an ethical guide, and a community bond. Finally, we address some contemporary issues, including abortion, assisted fertility techniques, and artificial intelligence.


I hope you enjoy this discussion. Of course, if you want to learn more, the book “When Judaism Meets Science” is available at your local etailer.


For now, listen here: https://www.yaakovschefres.com/judeology/

Rabbi Richard Address Explores “When Judaism Meets Science”

Sunday, October 27, 2019 @ 10:10 AM
posted by Roger Price
Rabbi Richard Address

RABBI RICHARD ADDRESS is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. There he develops and implements the Sacred Aging project which has been responsible for creating awareness and resources for congregations on the implication of the emerging longevity revolution that has begun to impact all aspects of Jewish communal and congregational life.

In winter 2018, Rabbi Address began hosting a weekly podcast, Seekers of Meaning. Rabbi Address’s interview of author Roger Price concerning the latter’s new book, When Judaism Meets Science, covers a wide range of topics, including creation, evolution, bio–ethics, fake news, the anthropic principle, a Jewdroid, and the Greenberg hurdle. Running about forty–five minutes, without commercial interruption, it can be heard here: https://jewishsacredaging.com/som-pod-roger-price-author-of-when-judaism-meets-science/

When Judaism Meets Science can be purchased from various etailers, including Amazon, and also from the publisher, Wipf and Stock.

Rabbi Wayne Dosick explores “When Judaism Meets Science”

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 @ 10:10 AM
posted by Roger Price
Rabbi Wayne Dosick

RABBI WAYNE DOSICK is the host of, among other programs, SpiritTalk Live!: Journeys into Mind, Heart, and Soul, a weekly Internet radio program, heard on HealthyLife.net. There he leads conversations about the “great questions of existence, in a quest to find meaning and worth in life, though intellectual inquiry and sacred spirit.” His conversation with author Roger Price concerning the latter’s new book, When Judaism Meets Science, can be heard on the following podcast:http://healthylifenet.mainstreamnetwork.com/media/STL082119.mp3

Rabbi Dosick is also an author of eight books and hundreds of essays and columns in Jewish periodicals. Teaching and counselling about matters of faith and spirit, ethical values, life transformations, and evolving human consciousness, he has spoken and conducted seminars, workshops, and has been a scholar-in-residence at more than 200 bookstores, synagogues, churches, schools, universities, hospitals and health care facilities, businesses and corporations, and community organizations throughout the country. Articles about Rabbi Dosick and his books have appeared in more than 90 newspapers and periodicals, and he has been interviewed on more than 150 radio and television shows, including “Good Morning America,” the Larry King Show, CNN, and NPR. More information about Rabbi Dosick can be obtained here: https://sites.google.com/site/rabbiwaynedosick/.

When Judaism Meets Science can be purchased from various etailers, including Amazon, and also from the publisher, Wipf and Stock.

A Solar Eclipse Deserves A Blessing

Thursday, August 3, 2017 @ 09:08 PM
posted by Roger Price

Credit: USAF/Museum of Aviation

We are on a fantastic journey, over which we have precious little control. As our universe expands, we are pushed deeper and deeper into space. We travel along, like some pebble carried with the tide. Our own galaxy, like hundreds of millions of others, rotates, and it does so at about 168 miles per second. On one of the spiral arms of our galaxy, our solar system has its own rhythms. Within the solar system, our home planet goes around our local star, the Sun, and our moon orbits around our home planet, even as the Earth and the Moon spin too.

Once in a while, in the midst of all this motion, the Moon travels between the Earth and the Sun in such a way as to block the light of the Sun from reaching us. It casts a shadow on our planet. The blockage may be partial or complete. We call this event a solar eclipse. In a total eclipse, when the Moon obscures the entire solar disk, the fullest form of the Moon’s shadow, the umbra, lasts no more than a few minutes in any one spot, but the effects are stark as darkness literally covers the Earth and the temperature drops.

We will ooh and ah as the eclipse begins, but we know that this too shall pass. All that was will be again and soon. Normalcy will return. One might think that it would be an occasion for a blessing, a b’rakha. After all, Jews seemingly have blessings, or b’rakhot, for every event and circumstance, from the sublime to the mundane, and from the time they arise to the time they go to sleep. And there are well recognized blessings for similar occurrences. For instance, when one sees a comet or lightening, there is Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheynu melekh ha’olam, oseh ma’aseh v’reyshit (Blessed is the Eternal One, Sovereign of the universe, maker of the works of creation). When one sees something beautiful like a tree or an animal, one might say Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheynu melekh ha’olam, she’kakha lo b’olamo (Blessed is the Source of wonder, Ruler of the cosmos, that such things are in the world). There are blessings on reaching the ocean, on smelling fragrant grasses and spices, even on witnessing an earthquake. But traditionally, there is no blessing for an eclipse. Why? To answer that question, we need to understand some science and some Judaism. read more