Jewish Values: People and Projects

One of the goals of my project is to connect people throughout the world who are working to develop, disseminate and implement ideas on Jewish values, Torah worldview and character development. Below is a list of people who have done significant work in this area as well as a number of relevant projects. Needless to say that this is not nearly comprehensive. If there are other people or projects who you feel should be on this list, please let me know on rabbiknopf@yahoo.com.

People

Nachum Amsel

Rabbi Nachum Amsel is the author of The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values, The Jewish Encyclopedia of Moral and Ethical Issues and You Be the Judge.For his doctoral research, Rabbi Amsel adapted the character development research of Dr Lawrence Kohlberg, using traditional Jewish sources and using creative educational methodologies.

He has taught thousands of educators how to use his methodology through courses and workshops. He is the author of over 200 detailed lesson plans using his methodology for a programme called LAVE (Life And Values Education).

Steve Bailey

Dr Steve Bailey is co-founder of Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles and is a researcher author and consultant in Jewish education, specialising in moral education.He is the author of Educating for Menschlichkeit, A Kohlbergian Model for Jewish Day Schools; Educating for an Ethical Jewish Community and the Handbook for Moral Education in Jewish Schools.

Scot Berman

Rabbi Scot Berman is Headmaster of Bnei Akiva Schools – Or Chaim and Ulpanot Orot.He is the author of “So What?!?” Talmud Study Through Values Analysis

Jack Bieler

Rabbi Jack Bieler taught in Yeshivat Ramaz and the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy over the course of decades. He recently retired as the rabbi of Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring.Rabbi Bieler is the author Day Schools as Moral Thermostats and of Sensitising Day School Teachers to Issues in Values Education which was adapted from a paper presented at the Educators’ Council of America Conference in 1990

Yitzchak Blau

Rabbi Yitzchak Blau is the Rosh Kollel at Yeshivat Orayta.His articles include Is Courage a Jewish Value? and The Implications of a Jewish Virtue Ethic. He is the author of Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada.

Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the founder of This World: The Values Network, an international organisation dedicated to advancing universal Jewish values in the media and culture and to affirming the Jewish people as a “light unto the nation”.In 2006, Rabbi Boteach hosted the television series Shalom in the Home, a reality show in which he counseled families and gave advice about relationships. In 2007, he was honoured by the National Fatherhood Initiative with their most prestigious award for his effort on Shalom in the Home and promoting the importance of a caring father in the contemporary family.

Yuval Cherlow

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow is the head of the Amit Orot Shaul Yeshiva and was among the founders of the Tzohar organisation, which seeks to build bridges between the secular and religious worlds.Rabbi Cherlow is an expert in ethics and a member of various ethics committees in Israel, such as the Supreme Helsinki Committee on Medical and Genetic Experiments Involving Human Subjects. In addition, Rabbi Cherlow serves as the head of the Ethics and Religion Desk at the Jerusalem Center for Ethics.

Rabbi Cherlow has authored many books and articles dealing with public morality and reviving the Torah in contemporary life. His articles include Media Ethics in Time of War.

Shimon Cowen

Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen is the director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilization. Through seminars, conferences and a scholarly journal entitled Judaism and Civilization, as well as through formal teaching, Rabbi Cowen has explored interfaces between traditional Judaism and the arts, sciences and values of general civilisation. He is the Chair of the Social policy committee of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia and is a Patron of the Family Association of Australia.

He is the author of a number of books, including Jewish Thought in Context – Studies in the relationships of Jewish and secular thought; Perspectives in the Noahide laws – Universal Ethics; The Rediscovery of the Human – Basic Texts of Viktor E. Frankl and Politics and Universal Ethics. He was the editor of The Journal of Judaism and Civilization and Interface: Exploring…universal ethics…society, culture and the sciences.

He is also the author of a number of academic articles, including “Beauty: a Torah view” (Generation Magazine, 1984); “The concept of a person: reflections on Judaism and psychotherapy”, (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol. 1, 1998); “A statement of the Noahide laws”, (Journal of Judaism and Civlization, Vol. 3, 2000-2001); Translation of Viktor Frankl, “Ten theses concerning a ‘person'”, (Journal of Judaism and Civlization, Vol.3, 2000-2001); “Judaism and aesthetics”, (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol.3, 2000-2001); Translation, “The Maharal of Prague on the Noahide laws”, (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol. 4, 2002; “Rationality and the Noahide laws”, (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol. 3, 2000-2001); Contribution to colloquium on “Spirituality and psychotherapy”, Title of contribution: “Universal Religion, Viktor Frankl and Gordon Allport”, (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol.4, 2002); “Sovereignty, persons and the Noahide laws”, (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol. 5, 2003)“Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy and Universal Values”, The International Forum for Logotherapy, Spring 2005; “The Noahide laws, politics and peace”, (Bulletin in the Noahide laws, Vol.1,2005; “The halachic study of the Noahide laws”, (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol.6, 2004); “The human being in the image of G-d”, (Bulletin in the Noahide laws, Vol.2, No. 1, 2006); “Viktor Frankl: person, philosopher and therapist”, (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol. 7, 2006); “Universal, traditional values and legislative redefinition of marriage and parenthood”, Position paper of the Ad Hoc Interfaith Committee on current proposed legislation in Victoria, Australia, with Commentary (Melbourne, Institute of Judaism and Civilization, 2008); “Universal, traditional values and abortion legislation” Position paper of the Ad Hoc Interfaith Committee on the decriminalization of abortion before the Parliament of Victoria, Australia (Melbourne, Institute of Judaism and Civilization, 2008); “Letters to Parliament: legislation and Noahide law., Three proposed legislative revolutions: redefining marriage, the permission to take life and the concept of parenthood” (Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Vol. 8, 2009); “‘Rights’ as a weapon of culture war”, (Quadrant, October 2009) and “Reverence for G-d”, (Bulletin in the Noahide laws, Vol 5, no. 3, 2010).

He has also delivered a number of papers, including “Affluence in context”, (Living Legacy Conference at Imperial College, London, 2001); “Universal values and human personality” (Congress of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Hobart, 2003); “Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy and universal values”, (World Congress of Logotherapy, Dallas, Texas, 2003) and “Democracy and Values”, (Conference on Religious Freedom Under a Bill of Rights, Canberra 2009). He also hosted a regular weekly radio programme, entitled “Ethics and Society”.

Cary Friedman

Rabbi Cary Friedman is an instructor at Yeshiva University’s High School for Boys. He is also a police trainer specializing in stress-management and ethical decision making and is the Co-Founder of the Center for Tactical Resilience and Ethical Policing.Rabbi Friedman is the author of five books including Marital Intimacy, Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement and Wisdom from the Batcave.

He is the presenter of the Honest to G-d programme which explores the profound and fascinating world of business Halacha with a purposeful emphasis on practical Halacha.

Yehonosan Geffen

Rabbi Yehonosan Geffen is a writer and educator in Jerusalem who has been teaching Torah there for many years. He has written extensively for the Hamodia newspaper.In a fascinating online series, he discusses the commandments in the Torah that focus on our relationships with other people. He discusses both the laws and philosophy of these commandments to discover how the Torah’s teachings can still be highly relevant to the world we live in today.

Yoram Hazony

Yoram Hazony is an Israeli philosopher. He is currently President of the Herzl Institute, a research and educational hub established in Jerusalem in 2013. He is also Director of the John Templeton Foundation’s project in Jewish Philosophical Theology and a member of the Israel Council for Higher Education’s commission reviewing the General Studies and Liberal Arts programmes on all of Israel’s universities and colleges.He is the author of The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture and of a regular weblog on philosophy, Israel, Judaism and higher education called Jerusalem Letters.

Joan S. Kaye

Joan S. Kaye teaches Ethics and Social Justice at Pepperdine University and is the presenter of what has been described as ‘the most popular ethics course for Jewish teens in North America’.She is the co-author of Why Be Good? Sensitivities and Ethics in Rabbinic Literature.

Steven Kepnes

Dr Steven Kepnes holds the Finard Chair in Jewish Studies at Colgate University.His articles include Theology and Ethics in Modern Orthodoxy.

Barry Kislowicz

Rabbi Barry Kislowicz heads the lower and middle schools of Fuchs Mizrachi School in Cleveland.His articles include Appropriating Kohlberg For Traditional Jewish High Schools and Building Moral Communities.

Marc Kramer

In addition to being the Executive Director of RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network and the initiator of a two year intensive program of Judaic studies for Professional leaders in community day schools, Dr Marc N. Kramer is consultant to the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services of New York. In this capacity, he develops and implements psycho-educational and psycho-social programs that explore the intersection of traditional Jewish text, contemporary social issues and normative mental health. He is interested in helping others develop coping mechanisms and life skills, rooted in sacred text and bolstered by caring communities.

His ‘next big thing’ is to explore ways to maximize and incentivize Jewish family growth in the context of broadening the community’s understanding of what it means to be a Jewish family.

Rabbi Elyakim Krumbein

Rabbi Elyakim Krumbein has been teaching at Yeshivat Har Etzion since 1981. He is the author of Mussar for Moderns, an introductory course in mussar for the contemporary Jew.

Samuel J. Levine

Samuel L. Levine is an ordained rabbi and a professor of law at Touro University. He has written and spoken thoughtfully on the interaction of legal practice and Jewish ethics. His talks include Can Lawyers Be More Ethical. His articles include The Broad Life of the Jewish Lawyer: Integrating Spirituality, Scholarship and Profession and Teshuva: A Look at Repentance, Forgiveness and Atonement in Jewish Law and Philosophy and American Legal Thought.

Gila Manolson

Gila Manolson is the author of a number of books on Jewish sexual ethics.Her most recent book, Hands Off! This May Be Love is targeted at a Christian readership.

Yehudah Mirsky

Yehudah Mirsky is Associate Professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.His articles include Tikkun Olam: Basic Questions and Policy Directions; The Political Morality of Pacifism and Nonviolence: One Jewish View; Tikkun Olam’s Practical Meaning and Potential Significance; Disabilities; The Stranger Among You and Doing Social Justice.

Alan Morinis

Alan Morinis is a leading figure in the contemporary revival of the Mussar movement. He founded the Mussar Institute which is based in Vancouver.The process through which he discovered the movement is described in his book Climbing Jacob’s Ladder. His other books on Mussar include Everyday Holiness, Every Day, Holy Day and With Heart in Mind.

Aryeh Nivin

Rabbi Aryeh Nivin is a teacher of Personal Development and a Professional Life Coach. He also runs telephone phone conference calls that specialize in Jewish Personal Development.

Rabbi Nivin combines Torah, personal growth and practical methods to present guidance on such topics as spirituality, self-esteem, community and purpose. You can find out more about Rabbi Nivin’s classes here.

Zev Rosenfield

Daniel Rothner

Daniel Rothner is the founder and director of Areyvut and is a board member for Tzedakah, Inc. His articles include The Jewish Philosophy of Philanthropy.

Gidon Rothstein

Rabbi Dr Gidon Rothstein has served in the community rabbinate and in educational roles at the high school and adult level.He is the author of We’re Missing the Point: What’s Wrong with the Orthodox Community and How to Fix It. He has also responded to many questions on Jewish Values Online.

Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks is one of the outstanding scholars of Jewish ethics in our generation. He is the author of numerous articles on morality and ethics as well as many books, including To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility. This year, Rabbi Sacks’ weekly parsha articles focus on Jewish ethics.

Danny Siegel

Danny Siegel is an author and lecturer who focuses on Tzedakah and Jewish values. He is the author of 29 books, 18 of which discuss tzedakah, tikkun olam and Jewish values (three of which are children’s books).

Meir Tamari

Dr. Meir Tamari is a seminal figure in Jewish business ethics and was among the first individuals to give university courses, write scholarly works and establish study centres in this field.In 1987, Tamari published his landmark work, With All Your Possessions: Jewish Ethics and Economic Life. This was followed by The Challenge of Wealth: A Jewish Perspective on Earning and Spending Money, Al Chet: Sins in the Marketplace and Jewish Values in our Open Society: A Weekly Torah Commentary.

In 1992, Tamari founded the Center for Business Ethics and Social and Responsibility, now known as the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem. . He continues to serve as the honorary head of the Center.

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Projects

Areyvut

Areyvut’s mission is to infuse the lives of Jewish youth with the core Jewish values of Chesed, tzedakah and tikkun olam so that they become thoughtful, giving member of the Jewish community of tomorrow.Areyvut offers Jewish day schools, congregational schools, synagogues, community centres and individual families with a variety of opportunities to empower and enrich their youth by creating innovative programmes that make these core Jewish values real and meaningful to them.
Areyvut

Aspen Center for Social Values

The Aspen Center for Social Values is a network of socially-minded individuals seeking practical ideas to solve pressing social challenges. Its mission is to leverage the unique assets of the Jewish tradition to promote serious thought about – and to bring a fresh and unique voice to – social and societal challenges that confront the world today.
Aspen Center for Social Values

Ayeka

Ayeka educates rabbis, teachers and professionals in bringing Jewish wisdom from our minds to our hearts to our souls and to our lives.Their educational approach blends classic Jewish sources with reflective experiential exercises and intimate chavruta. Educators are empowered with the tools to create meaningful and personal experiences for their students, enabling them to become their best, most authentic selves.
Ayeka

Bema’aglei Tzedek

Bema’agalei Tzedek (Circles of Justice) seeks to integrate the values of tzedek, justice, into the social discourse, legislation, and daily life of the State of Israel. Bema’aglei Tzedek focuses on initiatives that pursue tzedek (justice) as opposed to chesed (kindness). Bema’agalei Tzedek’s programmes include: the Tav Chevrati (the Social Seal), a certificate granted free of charge to restaurants that are accessible to people with disabilities and treat their workers ethically; Employment Watchdogs – a project that empowers high school students to advocate on behalf of custodial workers in their schools.
Bema’aglei Tzedek runs many initiatives and programs across Israel in their pursuit of a just Israel; Ongoing educational programmes incorporating Jewish text study, an in-depth understanding of current socioeconomic issues in Israeli society and practical social activism.
Bema’aglei Tzedek

Center for Jewish Values

The Center for Jewish Values was founded in 2001 by Rabbis Tzvi Muller and Paysach Freedman. The Center researches, teaches and promotes specifically the interpersonal mitzvot. It has introduced the study of the interpersonal mitzvot to thousands of people worldwide through the use of study forums, innovative materials and varied media. The Center has published many books on this topic.Its flagship programme is the Linas HaTzedek Kollel Network, a group of kollelim across Israel which study the interpersonal mitzvot. In North America, the organisation has organised study groups for laymen to study these mitzvot. In 2010, the Center launched an Israel-based programme to equip American men with knowledge of Business Halacha prior to their entering the workplace in their native cities.

The Center inspired the founding of the Ahavas Yisrael Women’s Project, an international network of women’s study groups which meet to focus on improving love of one’s fellow.

Center for Jewish Values

Emor Forum

The Emor Project seeks to nurture meaningful discussion about matters of Halacha, Jewish thought and Jewish spirituality. Their primary tool for doing this is their weekly question, discussion and response.The goal of Emor is to facilitate a deepening of the reader’s understanding of Jewish law, thought and spirituality and also develop their ability to express and discuss their views on these crucial issues.

Emor Forum

The Halacha Education Center

The Halacha Education Center, founded by Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon, aims to inspire students and communities to connect to Jewish tradition. The HEC creates innovative Jewish educational materials and orchestrates programming for Jewish learning institutions in Israel, Latin America, Spain and North America.

Amongst these curricula are those dealing with ethical and spiritual issues. These topics explore numerous relevant Torah texts whilst employing an insightful methodology to communicate the ideas to students. The center provides online sample editions of their curricula on The Spirit of the Law and The Power of Words.

Jewish Values Challenge

Robyn Faintich’s Jewish Values Challenge card set offers people of all ages a chance to explore and discuss the values they find important. Each card lists one of 58 values. The cards and the games that use them create a variety of ways for teens to reflect on and define their own values, while considering them in a Jewish context.

Jewish Values Challenge

Jewish Values Online

This website offers perspectives on challenging questions relating to Jewish values. Some of the respondents do not represent a traditional Jewish worldview.

Jewish Values Online

Kirva

The Kirva Institute is dedicated to bringing people into closer, healthier relationships with others, themselves and God for the sake of the repair of the world. Through consultation, training, practice groups and curriculum development, Kirva engages people in processes that deepen self-awareness while strengthening connections with others and God.

Kirva supports the work of community activists, business leaders, therapists, educators and others who are working to repair the world by enabling them to develop richer spiritual lives based in the wisdom of Jewish sources.

Kirva’s programmes include learning and practice groups in which students learn classic Jewish teachings and approaches to integrated growth and action; consultation and curriculum development for educational institutions and organisations and short-term seminar and retreat for social justice activists, Jewish communal professionals, clergy and professional groups such as therapists.

Kirva

Meaningful Life Center

The Meaningful Life Center is dedicated to personal, societal and global transformation through presenting the universal wisdom of the Torah as a blueprint for life. The Center offers a wide variety of live and published programming for people at all levels.

Meaningful Life Center

Tebah

Tebah Educational Services was founded with the recognition that present day Judaism requires a greater focus on elucidating the intended meaning of the Biblical text as well as the values and guidelines for living that arise from a more complete understanding of it.Tebah’s function is to develop, facilitate and publish various types of educational material as well as school curricula that promote this goal.

Tebah

Telem

TELEM forges a compelling connection between community-based social action and Judaism. TELEM integrates volunteer service with classroom learning and reflection.

Telem

Tikvah

The Tikvah Center is an educational center in midtown Manhattan that offers opportunities to study Jewish thought and history, war and statesmanship, economics and public policy and social thought with renowned thinkers and public figures.Tikvah hosts American Judaism Workshops for advanced professionals that focus on the most pressing challenges facing American Judaism today. These workshops convene accomplished professionals to study important essays on the place of Judaism in the American public square and also to offer their own ideas for making Judaism stronger in America.

Tikvah runs a summer programme called The Jewish Idea: A Summer Fellowship for College Students. This programme follows a curriculum that asks fundamental questions about the human condition, the meaning of the family, the virtues of statesmanship and the good society.

Tikvah also offers a summer programme for high school students and recent graduates where students learn about the most enduring precepts of political economy, social thought and political philosophy, all in conversation with the uniquely Jewish contributions to our understanding of the human person and the human good.

The Tikvah Fund supports a number of publications including those that provide long form monthly essays on philosophical and political questions at the core of the modern Jewish condition and a book series which offers engaging, concise and authoritative treatments of the most important Jewish ideas.

Tikvah

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