September 27, 2018 Street posters: a study session on genetic ethics
I saw this poster in Hasidic Williamsburg during the Sukkos season (this time of year) and found it really ironic and interesting. It’s emblematic of the paradoxes of modernity and conservatism in contemporary ultra orthodoxy.
The poster announces a holiday lecture (in Israel) on several topics of faith, ie, a conversation on prophetic knowledge and if there are still prophets in the 21st century. There is also a section of the talk on Examining DNA in Halacha/Religious Law, and some of the questions that the lecturer planned to examine were:
1. Is there a source in chazal (the Jewish sages) for DNA?
2. Is it permitted to use DNA to examine an esrog (the citron for Sukkos) to find out what type of species it is? [paraphrasing – I’m not sure about the exact translation]
DNA is grounded on science that Hasidism rejects, yet the DNA itself is used in such unusual ways, like finding out the value of a citron based on its genetics. It’s a certain kind of race-genetics applied to fruit!