My Jewish Learning

Jewish Bioethics Quiz

When Jewish thinkers consider issues like euthanasia, abortion, and organ donation, they articulate diverse positions on the relationship between Jewish law, Jewish ethics, and secular ethics. How much do you know about Jewish bioethics?

Question 1. Which of the following biblical characters seems to have requested an assisted suicide?


Question 2. According to Jewish law, is the morning-after pill permitted?
 Yes, because the fertilized egg does not count as a pregnancy until 40 days have passed
 Yes, because the fetus is not viable on its own, and thus doesn't count as a person
 No, because all forms of abortion are prohibited
 No, because abortions have to be performed by specially trained Jewish doctors in order for them to be sanctioned by halakhah


Question 3. The concept of a surrogate mother is introduced in the Bible with which characters?
 Hagar and Sarah
 Hannah and Peninah
 Rachel and Leah
 Lot's Daughters


Question 4. Couples should be genetically screened
 Before they get married
 In the week after they get married
 After they have conceived a child
 Between their first and second children


Question 5. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are
 Lung diseases common in Sephardic families
 Asthma conditions common in the Hasidic community
 Breast cancer genes commonly found in Jewish women
 Screening procedures for Jewish genetic diseases


Question 6. In the Talmud, the vital sign distinguishing life and death is
 the heart beating
 the ability to say the name of God


Question 7. True or false: In some situations, Jewish law actually requires a woman to have an abortion.


Question 8. Which of these legal and ethical issues are still up for debate among Jewish authorities?
 If several people need a given organ, how do we decide who gets priority?
 Can organs be sold?
 Can organs be used without permission?
 All of these
 None of these


Question 9. True or False: All Jews are pro-choice.


Question 10. What is the rabbinic position on stem cell research?
 The majority of contemporary halakhic authorities sanction it
 The majority of contemporary halakhic authorities prohibit it
 It is prohibited because equally good cells can be gathered from an umbilical chord
 It was forbidden by the rabbis of the Talmud, but has been permitted by contemporary Orthodox authorities