Human Rights in Judaism

44 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2022

See all articles by Michael J. Broyde

Michael J. Broyde

Emory University School of Law

Shlomo Pill

Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law; Emory University School of Law

Date Written: March 8, 2022

Abstract

This paper focuses on how Judaism recognizes the inherent equality and dignity of all people, a central tenet underpinning modern human rights thinking and doctrine. As this chapter explains, classical rabbinic approaches to the coercive enforcement of Jewish law suggest that Judaism recognizes and prescribes the protection of various material human rights such as rights to life, property, education, housing, clothing, fair employment conditions, freedom of contract, and equal treatment under the law. At the same time, rabbinic practice also offers respect for private religious conscience and dissent from Jewish ritual norms. Unlike some other religious-legal traditions that seek to compel their members to comply with ritual norms and punish religious dissent with force, Judaism has avoided doing so. Instead, rabbinic practice has tolerated private religious dissent by Jews, and has focused on using ordinary tools of group membership and association to cultivate Jewish communities of like-minded individuals who publicly respect the norms and values of rabbinic law. In doing so, rabbinic authorities have largely succeeded in carving out what can be viewed as a sphere for private freedom of religion and conscience within a normative Jewish framework.

Keywords: human rights, judaism, religious freedom, jewish law

JEL Classification: K00, Z12

Suggested Citation

Broyde, Michael J. and Pill, Shlomo, Human Rights in Judaism (March 8, 2022). CSLR Research Paper No. 7.2022-AFF, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4084883 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4084883

Michael J. Broyde (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Shlomo Pill

Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law ( email )

3100 Cleburne Street
Houston, TX 77004
United States

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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