fbpx Reconstructionists Featured at Society for Jewish Ethics Conference | Page 3 | Reconstructing Judaism

Reconstructionists Featured at Society for Jewish Ethics Conference

News

The Reconstructionist movement is being well represented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Society of Jewish Ethics, taking place Jan. 6-9 over Zoom. In fact, in terms of the number of presenters —at least three — the movement will have a greater presence at this year’s virtual gathering than at any time since the first conference was held in 2003. 

The Society for Jewish Ethics is the primary academic organization dedicated to the “promotion of scholarly work in the field of Jewish ethics, including the relation of Jewish ethics to other traditions of ethics and to social, economic, political and cultural problems.” As in the past, the annual meeting is being held concurrently with conferences run by the Society for Christian Ethics and the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics, enabling participants in each event to attend programs at the others. 

“What is so exciting about the conference program this year is that it reflects the degree to which Reconstructionist rabbis and leaders are contributing to the advancement of Jewish ethical thought and scholarship at the highest levels, and this despite the fact that we do not have an academic program that trains doctoral candidates,” said Rabbi Mira Wasserman, Ph.D., who directs the Center for Jewish Ethics and is an assistant professor of rabbinic literature at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. 

RRC's Center for Jewish Ethics has been an institutional sponsor of the Society of Jewish Ethics since the conferences’ inception. Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., a former president of RRC, was an early president of the Society for Jewish Ethics.  

Armin Langer
Armin Langer
Armin Langer, an RRC student, scholar, author and interfaith activist, is delivering a paper titled “Abram went down to Egypt to live there, for the famine was severe - Traditional and contemporary Jewish perspectives on climate migration” as part of a session called Paradigms for Ethical Thinking in the Contemporary Era. Langer will also discuss other textual examples of climate-induced famine and migration, including in the Book of Ruth, when Naomi is forced to resettle in Moab because of a drought.  

Rabbi Miriam Geronimus
Rabbi Miriam Geronimus
Two Reconstructionists are presenting as part of a panel called “Family Matters: Rethinking Assumptions.” Minna Scherlinder Morse, an editor and project manager, is set to deliver “Kavod, Kinship, Complexity and Care: Jewish Foundations for a More Ethical Approach to Adoption. Morse, a longtime member of Adat Shalom in Bethesda, Md., has written about these issues in Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations and on a recent episode of the platform’s podcast. Rabbi Miriam Geronimus, RRC ‘21, will give a talk titled “Queering Jewish Parenting: Expanding How We Understand What it Means to Be a Parent.” Geronimus, the founder of the Cleveland Jewish Collective, based her paper on research she did for a senior year RRC ethics course. 

“Jewish ethics is an academic field that has broad relevance, offering guidance to all who seek to live life in accordance with Jewish values, and Reconstructionists are at the forefront, bringing Jewish values to bear on urgent, contemporary issues. At the conference, Reconstructionist thinkers will address climate migration, racial justice, queer family ethics, and critical adoption studies,” added Wasserman. “These are issues that matter in our lives and in our world. I'm particularly moved by how  Reconstructionists are helping to shape the field of Jewish ethics through research, study, activism, and intellectual exchange.” 

Registration fees are $75 for those employed full-time, and free for everyone else, including students and retirees. The plenary on Jan. 9 at 4 p.m. EST is open to all. More information can be found here: https://www.societyofjewishethics.org/event-details/ 

Assistant Director of Media and Development Communications, Reconstructing Judaism

Related Resources

Author Interview: Guide to Jewish Practice

Interview with Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., about the issues addressed in the new Guide to Jewish Practice

Article

Tikkun Olam, Unpacked

What is tikkun olam? In this extended article, Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz digs deep into the sources, underpinnings, and implications of “world repair.”

Article

Making Decisions on Controversial Issues

How can congregations best handle controversial issues and explore the values underlying disagreements about issues? 

Article

Truth, Deception, and Interpersonal Relationships

Study sheet and leader’s notes on the Jewish sources, ethics and interpersonal consequences of lying and truth-telling.

Document

The Torah Process: How Jews Make Decisions

Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz explores the role of text study in Reconstructionist congregations’ decision-making process, with several case studies. This article is excerpted from the Guide to Jewish Practice

Article

Attitudes, Beliefs and Values Shaping Jewish Practice

A list of traditional and contemporary values shaping the process of Values-Based Decision Making. This article is excerpted from the Guide to Jewish Practice

Article

Values-Based Decision Making

Values-based decision making (VBDM) provides a way for individuals and groups to think through and express their policies, procedures and behavior, informed by Jewish values and contemporary insights. It has been used within the Reconstructionist movement for more than 20 years and is most recently embodied in A Guide to Jewish Practice.

Article

Raising Future Decision Makers: Ten Keys to Ethical Choices in Everyday Life

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized expert in the field of moral education and has written extensively on that topic. In this recording of a community teaching call, he discusses raising ethical children of character and share ten keys to leading your children to ethical choices in everyday life:

Spoken Audio
News and Blogs

Spirituality and Mental Health

Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D., explains why spirituality can be such an important aspect of mental health. 

News

Where Prayer Meets Justice

To Rabbi Jill Jacobs of T’ruah, rich vibrant Judaism demands breaking down the boundaries between prayer and justice. 

Article

The Role of Text Study in Congregational Values-Based Decision Making

Overview of the centrality of Jewish texts in congregational conversations around Jewish values

Article

A Jewish Approach to Discipline

Jewish values and practical strategies for improving classroom discipline in supplemental religious schools

Article

Parsing the Meeting of Jacob and Esau

Text study and discussion questions on the reunion of Jacob and Esau after decades of separation

Article

A Guide to Talking about Israel in your Congregation

Rabbi Toba Spitzer shares detailed guidelines and best practices on communal discussions around Israel.

Article

Understanding Transgender Issues in Jewish Ethics

Drawing on the surprisingly sophisticated classical Jewish perspective on sex and gender, Rabbi David Teutch advocates for celebration and inclusion of transgender people as a fundamental issue of justice.

Article