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Ethics and Values

Ethics and Values

Jewish tradition is imbued with values that bear on every important decision we face. What are my obligations to my community? How should I handle charitable giving in a world overwhelmed by human need?  How do I navigate decisions on issues ranging from sexual ethics and gender identity to end-of-life decisions? The Reconstructionist movement has developed an approach to Jewish values-based decision-making for those Jews who do not see themselves as bound by halakha (traditional Jewish law), but want to live lives of integrity and spiritual meaning. 

More on Ethics and Values

Hagar: The Immigrant Worker

This provocative Rosh Hashanah sermon draws parallels between Hagar, Sarah’s mistreated servant, and today’s immigrant workers.

Sermon

The Book of Ruth: A Torah of Lovingkindness in the Face of Death

Rabbi David Gedzelman explores the Book of Ruth with an eye toward structures of covenantal openness, societal protection and compassion towards the other.

Spoken Audio

Judaism and Journalistic Ethics - Video with Transcript

Video and transcript of conversation on journalistic ethics and Jewish values

Video

Jewish Tradition and Journalistic Ethics Audio

Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., discusses the role of the free press in the Jewish community and American society, and what Jewish values can teach us about journalistic ethics.

Spoken Audio
News and Blogs

Jewish Values and Journalistic Ethics

Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., discusses the role of the free press in the Jewish community and American society, and what Jewish values can teach us about journalistic ethics.

News
News and Blogs

Each of us can work to preserve dignity in the public square

[Our religious traditions] all believe in the importance of these values: speaking the truth, the sanctity of human life, and the obligation to treat every person with dignity.

News

Love, Enemies and Evil: Beshalakh Text Study

  In this text study for Parashat Beshalakh, Rabbi Toba Spitzer examines the fate of the Egyptians at the Red Sea and our tradition’s ethical sensitivity to their plight.

Document

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