FORT WAYNE, IN. — Zera Yaakov Messianic Congregation has successfully utilized CRISPR gene-editing technology to dramatically increase the proportion of Jewish members.
“Prior to this, we didn’t have many Jewish members at all,” said Rabbi Dean A. Strand. “I mean, there was Bob, whose great grandfather was Jewish. And then there’s the Martìnez family who suspect they might be Marranos, but let’s be honest, they don’t have much to go on. But now we consistently make a minyan.”
Rabbi Strand has personally benefited from the technology. “My dad was 100% Norwegian, my mom was Irish Catholic,” Strand said. “Now, in terms of my genetics, I’m the grand-nephew of the Sochatchover Rebbe.”
Strand hopes they can continue to leverage this technology to produce Leviyim and Cohanim as well.