This course examines Jewish approaches to ethical issues, with special attention to how they evolved from ancient times to the present. In doing so, we will uncover the historical roots of contemporary Jewish ethics as well as follow the twists and turn in how these approaches developed.

We will survey Jewish ethics broadly, as well as focus on ethical issues that have arisen from the ongoing pandemic. The topics that we will explore include responses to poverty and injustice, safeguarding life, human dignity, medical ethics, business ethics, humility, family relations, and numerous other issues. Our exploration of Jewish ethics through the ages will also include a broad survey of Jewish history and introduction to the key texts of the Jewish tradition – from the Hebrew Bible and classical rabbinic literature, to contemporary Jewish prayer books. This course also provides an entry into the study of religious ethics. All texts will be read in English translation.

There are no prerequisites. No knowledge of Hebrew or prior coursework in Jewish Studies is required. All readings and assignments will be available on the course’s Canvas website.