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SEXUAL ISSUES IN JEWISH LAW

Essays and Responsa

2005 - ISBN 0-929699-17-3

Contents

Judaism and Sexuality - Ernest I. Jacob ......................................................................................................1

Sexuality in Jewish Law and Tradition - Moshe Zemer ................................................................................19

"The Ministering Angels Told Me" - Alyssa Gray ........................................................................................31

The Other as Temptress - Leonard Kravitz ................................................................................................83

Controlling Passions - Mixed Results - Walter Jacob .................................................................................93

Is "Purity of Family" - A Relevant Mitzvah for Reform Jews ? Rachel Mikva .............................................117

The Quest for Designer Children - Lewis D. Solomon ................................................................................133

Selected Reform Responsa

Virginity and the Ketubah............................................................................................................................ 165

Marriage after a Sex-change Operation ........................................................................................................170

Sexual Relations Between Consenting Adults ................................................................................................175

Adultery and Marriage................................................................................................................................. 180

Artificial Insemination................................................................................................................................... 182

Artificial Insemination....................................................................................................................................184

The Transplanted Ovum............................................................................................................................... 188

Surrogate Mother ........................................................................................................................................192

Birth Control ...............................................................................................................................................196

Vasectomy ..................................................................................................................................................212

Abortion ......................................................................................................................................................213

When is Abortion Permitted .........................................................................................................................217

Jewish Involvement in Genetic Engineering ....................................................................................................223

Predetermination of Sex ...............................................................................................................................228

Sexuality of a Maturing Child ........................................................................................................................231

Contributors

Israel Bettan (1889–1957) was professor of Midrash and Homiletics at the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio. President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Chair of its Responsa Committee. Author of Studies in Jewish Preaching in the Middle Ages (1939), The Five Scrolls (1950).

Solomon B. Freehof (1893–1990) was rabbi of the Rodef Shalom Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Past President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the World Union for Progressive Judaism; he was past Chair of the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the author of twenty-six books including eight volumes of responsa, Stormers of Heaven (1931), Modern Jewish Preaching (1941), Preface to Scripture (1950), Reform Jewish Practice (1947, 1952), The Responsa Literature (1955), The Book of Job (1958), A Treasury of Responsa (1963), New Reform Responsa (1980), Today’s Reform Responsa (1990).

Alyssa Gray is Associate Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. She is a contributor to the New Encyclopedia Judaica and author of A Talmud in Exile: The Influence of the Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah on the Formation of Bavli Avodah Zarah (2005) and a series of essays and major studies.

Alexander Guttmann (1900–1994) was professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Hebrew Union College and the Lehranstalt für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin.. He was the author of Rabbinic Judaism in the Making (1970), Studies in Rabbinic Judaism (1976), and The Struggle over Reform in Rabbinic Literature (1977).

Leonard Kravitz is professor of Midrash and Homiletics at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He has served on the Medical Ethics Committee of the New York Federation of Philanthropies. Author of The Esoteric Meaning of Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed (1988), Commentary on the Ethics of the Fathers (1992) with K. Olitzky.

Ernest I. Jacob (1899-1974) was rabbi in Saarbrucken and Augsburg, Germany and Springfield, Missouri, where he was also professor at Drury University. Author and translator in the field of education and Bible, including Altassyrische Gesetze (1925), Israelitische Religionslehre (1933), Genesis as Interpreted by Benno Jacob (1974) along with numerous essays..

Walter Jacob is President of the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin/Potsdam; Senior Scholar of Rodef Shalom Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; President of the Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah and the Associated American Jewish Museums. Author, editor, or translator of thirty-six books including Christianity through Jewish Eyes (1974), American Reform Responsa (1983), The Pittsburgh Platform in Retrospect (1985), Liberal Judaism and Halakhah (1988), The Second Book of the Bible: Exodus Interpreted by Benno Jacob (1992), Die Exegese hat das erste Wort (2002), Pursuing Peace Across the Alleghenies (2005), Hesed and Tzedakah - From the Bible to Modernity (2006); Napoleon’s Influence on Jewish Law (2007), and more than twelve hundred published essays and sermons.

Jacob Z. Lauterbach (1873–1942) was Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati.; chair of the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He edited Mekhilta deRav Ishmael (1933-49) and was a contributor to the Jewish Encyclopedia.

Rachel Mikva is a member of the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. She is rabbi of the Community Synagogue of Rye, New York. She has edited the award-winning book, Broken Tablets: Restoring the Ten Commandments and Ourselves.

Lewis D. Solomon is the Theodore Rinehart Professor of Business Law at The George Washington University Law School. He is an ordained rabbi. He is the author of five Judaic books, including Jewish Spirituality: Revitalizing Judaism for the Twenty-First Century. This paper is adapted from Chapter 8 of his book, The Jewish Tradition, Sexuality and Procreation.

Moshe Zemer is Director of the Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah. He is a founder of the Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel and founding rabbi of the Kedem Synagogue-Bet Daniel, Tel Aviv. He is Av Bet Din of the Israel Council of Progressive Rabbis and Senior Lecturer in Rabbinic at Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem. He has also contributed numerous articles on halakhah in the Israeli press and scientific journals. He is author of The Sane Halakhah (1993).

 

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