More than any one single thing, parents want each of their children to grow up to be a mensch. I have asked parents and educators across the spectrum of Jewish observance and belief what they want most for their children, and this is the answer that comes up more often than any other. Interestingly, when I ask the same question to non-Jewish parents, I get the same answer, though they don't use the same word. Parents want their children to grow up to be knowledgeable, responsible, nonviolent and caring. They want their kids to be concerned for others, their families and communities; good team players, yet also possess good leadership skills; decent and ethical; to love justice; to feel compassion for others and to act on those feelings; and be the kind of person one can count on, an all-around complete human being. In other words: a mensch.
The explosive claim by Clonaid that a human being was successfully cloned has focused attention on the Raelian Movement, the quasi-religious sect that set up the genetic engineering company in 1997. Sharp-eyed viewers of television interviews with founder Rael may have noticed him wearing a necklace featuring a Star of David-shaped medallion, with a pinwheel filling the star. The design has been the official logo of the movement for more than a decade, but that's not always been the case; the original symbol was, incredibly, a swastika within a Jewish star. The change came after an emotional confrontation I had with Rael in early 1992.