Resolution In Support of Stem Cell Research and Education

Whereas there is a grave shortage of organs available for transplantation, leading to thousands of deaths each year;

Whereas serious illnesses and conditions leading to disability and often death may be ameliorated or cured through new technologies;

Whereas the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards overwhelmingly approved a teshuvah “Stem Cell Research” (by Rabbi Elliot Dorff) which permits using human embryonic germ cells from aborted foetuses and embryonic stem cells from frozen human embryos originally created for procreation but now about to be discarded – “for research into creating cures for a number of human ailments”;

Whereas the teshuvah further permits creating stem cells for research by combining donated sperm and eggs in a petri dish, cloning, or by extracting a cell from an early embryo, under specific conditions;

Whereas the teshuvah limits itself to research for therapeutic purposes and not enhancement; and

Whereas the teshuvah also calls for education of our laity regarding donation of an aborted foetus or unused frozen embryos for the purpose of such life-saving research.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly publicly advocate for the use of human embryonic germ and stem cells for research in all appropriate ways;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly support the use of this technology for healing purposes; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly embark on an educational effort to educate our lay leaders and membership regarding the importance of fulfilling this act of hesed, which may lead to the mitzvah of pikuah nefesh.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, April, 2003