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Saturday, Sunday, and Monday: Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 7 W. 83rd Street, New York, NY 10024

Friday night: Romemu, 165 W. 105th Street, New York, NY 10025

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Ethics [clear filter]
Sunday, February 17


Midat Sodom and the Housing Affordability Crisis
Midrashim (Biblical commentaries) state that the city of Sodom was overthrown because of its hostility to hospitality. American cities limit new housing in a variety of ways; is this policy analogous to the ways of Sodom? If so, what are the ethical implications of this policy? What arguments justify these policies?


Michael Lewyn

Michael Lewyn teaches property, land use and environmental law at Touro Law Center, where he is a professor and the Director of the Institute on Land Use and Sustainable Development. Most of his scholarship focuses on urban and suburban development, including urban walkability and... Read More →

Sunday February 17, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Room 8 (5th Floor)


The Story of Rabbi Plimo and Satan (Qiddushin 81a-b): The Emotion of Disgust in Jewish Ethics
The emotion of disgust has received increasing attention in social, political, legal and moral discourse in recent years. This session focuses on the Talmudic story of Satan’s encounter with Rabbi Plimo as an entry point to exploring the role of disgust in Jewish Ethics. Following a close reading and analysis of the story, we will study other rabbinic and medieval sources to understand how disgust functions both as a moral challenge and a moral asset in the quest for holiness.

avatar for Jeffrey Rubenstein

Jeffrey Rubenstein

Jeffrey L. Rubenstein is the Skirball Professor of Talmud in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies of NYU. He received his B.A. in Religion from Oberlin College, his M.A. in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also received rabbinic ordination, and his Ph.D... Read More →

Sunday February 17, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Room 5 (5th Floor)


Brain Death and Organ Donation In Halacha
Are you really dead when your heart is still beating? Don't we need our organs for resurrection? Are Jews allowed to be autopsied? Educate yourself now, before a tragedy, not when you are in shock over the death of a loved one. In this session, we will learn 1600 year old Talmudic texts to shed light on the 21st century phenomenon in which a person’s heart can beat even though the brain is dead. Some rabbis view a beating heart as a sign of life and prohibit organ donation. Come learn why!

avatar for Robby Berman

Robby Berman

Robert Berman is a graduate of Harvard University (MPA), Baruch College (MBA), Yeshiva University (BA), Gruss Kollel, and Yeshivat Hakotel. He has been published in New York Magazine, The Jerusalem Post, Jewish Week, Moment Magazine, Ha’aretz, Times of Israel, and the Jerusalem... Read More →

Sunday February 17, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Board Room (4th Floor)


Impact/Intent: What Matters in the Ethics of Speech?
When the intent and impact of our speech don't align, for which are we responsible? In this class we will consider this question both in the context of our relationships and of social issues such as freedom of speech, hate speech, and verbal harassment. We will deepen our understanding of the complexity of the ethics of speech through conversation, philosophical frameworks, and study of Jewish texts on the topic of Ona'at Devarim (Verbal Oppression) and Lashon HaRa (Malicious Language).

avatar for Sarah Mulhern

Sarah Mulhern

Sarah Mulhern serves as a Shalom Hartman Institute of North America faculty member, where she does research, writes curriculum, and oversees programs for rabbinical students and graduate students. She was ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, where she also earned a... Read More →

Sunday February 17, 2019 11:15am - 12:15pm
Room 11 (5th Floor)


Won't You Be My Neighbor? The Right to Privacy in Jewish Sources
We will explore Jewish legal perspectives on how to build one's physical home in a way that respects one's neighbors’ needs. The Rabbis questioned what it takes to be a good neighbor and how to balance the values of privacy in an environment of close community and shared space. These conversations touch not only on the physical architecture of one's home, but also on how to construct a society. They explore fundamental questions about what and why to share and the moral and spiritual values of privacy.

avatar for Dena Weiss

Dena Weiss

Dena Weiss is the Rosh Beit Midrash at Hadar, an institution for higher Jewish learning based in NYC, where she teaches Talmud, Midrash, and Hasidut. Dena earned her BA in Religious Studies from NYU and a MA in Theology from Harvard Divinity School. She has also studied at Midreshet... Read More →

Sunday February 17, 2019 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Eisner Auditorium (6th Floor)


Should Justice Be Blind? Jewish Reflections on Judicial Impartiality, Legislative Favoritism, and Substantive Justice
Recent political fights in the U.S. and around the world have raised fundamental questions about our legal system: Should judges be impartial arbiters or attentive to the situation of the litigants and the societal implications of their rulings? Is law ideally a set of neutral principles, or is it a tool for protecting the weak? Judaism has grappled with these questions since its inception, and in this session we will mine our ancient texts for insights into these contentious questions.


William Friedman

William Friedman is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University, writing on Legal Reasoning in Tannaitic Law. He received rabbinic ordination from Daniel Landes. Although he has learned and taught at many Jewish learning institutions, the Pardes Beit Midrash has been his home for more... Read More →

Sunday February 17, 2019 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Room 11 (5th Floor)