Articles

Jewish Law and the Delicate Balance Between Meaning and Authority

The quest to understand the rationale that underlies the mitzvoth assumes that we should strive to articulate the spiritual messages of the halakha. By affirming our commitment to those laws whose reasons we may find personally or ethically challenging, we ensure that the Torah is, in fact, the source of our value system, and not simply an ancient text that validates the contemporary zeitgeist.

Inside Out

Moral education must be systemic and systematic. Educators must set the goals and the stage at the very outset, and keep coming back to them and reinforcing them. Children often do not listen to what we say because our words are drowned out by what we do.

The Jewish Imperative to Cultivate Courage

As is true with all virtues, cultivating courage takes practice. We must come out of our comfort zone to grow. We must learn the art of when to listen and when to speak, when to act and when to hold back, when to paddle to ride a wave, and when to sit back to enjoy the calm waters. Courage allows us to move forward perpetually, and with the knowledge that meaning is found through navigating the tribulations of living a full, active life. 

Emile Zola's Moral Outrage: The Ethics of Whistle-blowing Today and Then

Whistle-blowing in our daily professional life is a real issue.  Examples of purposeful misrepresentation, hypocrisy, and malfeasance can be found.   These are problems for individual conscience to solve when confronting injustice and evil.  Can we rely on our own conscience to choose correctly and to  regulate the personal impulses that might drive ourselves or others to commit  unfair, unjust, and even,  criminal actions?

Ideal and Evolutionary Morality in the Torah:Traditional Commentary in an Age of Humanism

One of the overarching goals of the Torah is to refine people’s moral character. Many laws and narratives overtly focus on morality, and many others inveigh against the immorality and amorality of paganism. The biblical prophets place consistency between observance of God’s ritual and moral laws at the very heart of their message.

When Leadership Fails: Talking to Our Children about Moral Failures in Our Leaders

The challenge of how to respond to the exposure of our children to morally questionable behavior on the part of some religious and political leaders presents an opportunity to clarify our thinking about our responsibility to foster the moral education of our children through direct discussion as well as awareness of some of the more subtle ways that children internalize our values.