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Solomonic Justice: Is Dual Motherhood a Halakhic Possibility?
October 20, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm MSTSuggested Donation: $18
ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Rabbi Ysoscher Katz is the Chair of the Department of Talmud at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Katz received ordination in 1986 from Rabbi Yechezkel Roth, dayan of UTA Satmer, and studied at Yeshivat Beit Yosef, Navaradok for over ten years. A graduate of the HaSha’ar Program for Jewish Educators, Rabbi Katz has taught at the Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls and SAR High School.
ABOUT THIS EVENT: Halakhic parenthood is once again in the news. Questions about the parentage of children born with the help of modern reproductive technologies, which have been simmering for a long time, have recently resurfaced. Israeli media outlets reported a decision of the Israeli Rabbinate in which they attempted to grapple with aspects of this complex question. And, as expected, a huge uproar ensued.
Breathtaking advances in reproductive science have been a boon to God’s first commandment, “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). They have enabled people who otherwise would be childless to enjoy the gift of parenthood. This, however, occurs at a high physical, psychological, and financial cost. Trying to conceive a child through these new technologies is a biologically taxing and emotionally draining process. That women who grapple with infertility willingly endure the grueling demands reproductive science imposes on their minds, bodies, and spirits borders on the heroic and is a testament to their dedication to the preeminent Jewish values of family and peoplehood. These revolutionary technologies, meanwhile, have thrown the question of halakhic parenthood into sharp relief, forcing halakhists to revisit first-principle assumptions about fatherhood and motherhood.
There are many examples, but one of the most vexing halakhic challenges raised by these innovative technologies is the need to determine the maternity of a child whose ovum stems from one woman but whose gestation occurs in the womb of another. Who is the halakhic maternal parent, the ovum-mother or the gestation-mother?