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Are "Gedolim Stories" Good for Chinuch? [1]

Creatures in the Nation-State


How We Judge the Judges



How does the importance of personal character, the ethical quality of the individual, compare as between a secular judge—say a U.S. federal judge or a state court judge—and a religious authority, specifically a rabbinic leader or decisor? To put the question a little more narrowly, how much does a person’s moral character count, both in theory and as a practical matter, in attaining and keeping such a position?

Emile Zola's Moral Outrage




Émile was a popular name for Jewish boys in the twentieth century because of the important role that the French writer, Émile Zola, played in the Dreyfus Affair during the 1890s. To commemorate the 108th anniversary of Zola’s death (September 29, 1902) I would like to tell how Émile Zola was the quintessential whistle-blower of his day and use this case as a model for a discussion of Jewish thinking on the subject of the exposure of ethical wrong-doing in public or private life.

The Educational Imperative

The current religious educational system encourages people to accept the authority of  the major Torah scholars of the generation and to obey them unquestioningly, thereby creating a culture of dependency and submission. We must return to and deepen appreciation of independent thought, personal freedom and individual empowerment. Talmudic tradition and adjudication teach us that no Rabbi, no matter how great, is sacred nor should he be revered as a Lord over us.

Jewish Business Ethics in a Secular Society


Ethics of the Agunah Problem



It can be posited that the basis of Jewish ethics is the belief that God created the world, giving humans the gifts of time and of freedom of choice, while creating humankind in the divine image. Without freedom of choice and a sense of time, humans are but slaves, subjugated to a master who is in control of their time and actions.

Breaking the Silence

On the Sunday before Rosh Hashanah in 2009, an audience of 225 individuals attended a Jewish community-wide Healing Service in Baltimore, Maryland. The Healing Service was convened as a gathering for survivors of domestic, sexual, physical, verbal, and all forms of abuse; family members and friends of survivors; mental health and physical health professionals; clergy; educators; and all who wanted to learn how to “break the silence” that surrounds and permeates abuse and trauma in a community. The Healing Service was designed and sponsored by the Shofar Coalition, a program of CHANA and the ASSOCIATED Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

Mussar: A Jewish Psycho-Ethical Model for Our Time

Mussar: A Jewish Psycho-Ethical Model for Our Time 

By Mel Gottlieb


God sent the fiery serpents against the people and they bit the people….God said to Moses: “Make yourself a fiery serpent and place it on a pole, and it will be that anyone who was bitten will look at it and live.” Moses made a serpent of copper and placed it on the pole; so that if the serpent bit a man, he would stare at the copper serpent and live. (Bemidbar21:4–10)

Economic Growth and the Moral Society

The premise of economic growth has come under question, in many parts of the world today, from a variety of directions. We are aware, of course, that moral thinking in practically every known culture enjoins us not to place undue emphasis on our material concerns. But today there is more to it than that. With heightened sensitivity to the strains that industrialization often brings, including the possibility of permanent climate change, many people in the higher-income countries now question whether further economic expansion is worth the costs. In the developing world, where the advantages of rising incomes are more evident, some people question whether economic growth, and the policies that promote it, are just vehicles for exploitation by foreigners.

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