Teaching Jewish Law in American Law Schools - Part II: An Annotated Syllabus
13 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2007
Ordained Rabbi, and professor of law, Samuel J. Levine, presents an annotated syllabus illustrating the structure of a course in Jewish Law. The syllabus is in outline form, organized according to different stages of the course, together with annotations describing the purpose of the materials included in each section. Course sections include: An introduction to the sources and structure of Jewish law; legislation; interpretation, including ritual and civil law; issues in Jewish law that parallel issues in the American legal systems; intersections of Jewish law with other legal systems; and a modern application of Jewish law in the Israeli legal system. Among the comparative issues addressed in the course are criminal law and capital punishment, self-incrimination, abortion, and the duty of confidentiality. The more complex and practical issues addressed involve conflicts law, including "get laws" - a Jewish form of divorce supervised by a rabbinical court - and "kosher laws" - Jewish dietary laws. The course also includes an international law component, comparing Jewish law with the law governing the modern State of Israel and how, despite its overall secular nature, certain areas of Israeli law would violate American notions of separation of church and state. Finally, the course addresses the rescue and absorption of Ethiopian Jews into Israel.
Keywords: Jewish law, syllabus, course, legal system
JEL Classification: K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation