Jewish Journal

Dear Rabbi

by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson

Posted on May. 10, 2001 at 8:00 pm

Artificial Insemination

Dear Rabbi,

My sister is married to my husband's older brother. He was diagnosed with Kleinfelter's syndrome. They have been trying in vitro fertilization with donor sperm and even went into his testicles to retrieve sperm, but nothing has worked.

We have suggested using my husband's sperm, but his brother doesn't want to. What does Judaism say about donor sperm, and is this permitted?

A Loving Sister

Dear Sister,

Clearly, a matter of this complexity and personal import requires a personal response. Let me encourage your brother and sister-in-law to speak directly to a rabbi in their community.

I also need to remind you that different rabbis approach the sources differently, so other rabbis might not read them the same way that I do.

Given that premise, it seems to me that Judaism's first preference would be that the husband is the donor. When that is not possible, ironically, the second choice is a non-Jewish donor (to lessen the chances of the child later unintentionally marrying a sibling). Of course, as long as the mother is Jewish, so is the child.

A complication in having your husband being the donor is that his subsequent feelings about this child are impossible to predict or to restrict. However commendable his generous offer, it poses so many challenges that I would caution your sibs-in-law to use an anonymous non-Jewish donor.

God bless you all,

Rabbi Artson

A Muslim Wants Information

Dear Rabbi,

My name is Rie. I'm a university student from a Muslim country in Southeast Asia.

There are a lot of things I want to know about Judaism, from the concept of G-d to the Jewish way of life. I pray as an observant Muslim, but I keep asking myself whether Judaism is the true religion.

I'm very interested in visiting a synagogue, reading Torah and Talmud, meeting a rabbi and learn directly from him, spending time among Jews and having a Jewish friend.

I have so many questions. Why do so many people blame Jews? Why are Jews so different from Muslims and Christians? Is Hashem the same as Allah?

There is no encouragement from anybody here. I can access the Internet from my university, and I search for information about Jews.

If you have a friend in Singapore who can help me to solve my problem, I hope you can give me the address. I hope you can help me to solve my problem.


Dear Rie,

There are many ways to learn about Judaism: through books written by Jews, through Web sites about Judaism. But the best way is to find a living Jewish community and to speak with a rabbi. There is a synagogue in Tokyo, and there is one in Singapore. You might want to try to contact them.

Judaism is a beautiful and ancient way of serving God. It has withstood the test of time for thousands of years and will continue into the future, just as it has in the past. God has given us a Torah of truth, and mitzvot (commandments) that add holiness and joy to our lives. Non-Jews are welcome to learn about our faith and history and are welcome to convert if they choose, although we do not believe that God will love you more as a Jew. Judaism explicitly recognizes Islam as a monotheism and as a fine way to serve God. Indeed, there are so many similarities between Judaism and Islam.

May God assist you in your studies and your growth,

Rabbi Artson

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