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Whizin Prize Essay Explores the Place of Obligation in Modern Jewish Thought

The Center for Jewish Ethics, affiliated with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, sponsors an annual essay contest to encourage innovative thinking on contemporary Jewish ethics. The prize was established in 2004 through the generosity of Bruce Whizin, a philanthropist with an abiding interest in Jewish ethics. Rabbinical students and graduate students are eligible to submit work for consideration.   

This year, The Center for Jewish Ethics is recognizing the work of Daniel Mackler, a writer and Judaic studies teacher who is set to begin a doctoral program in Jewish thought at New York University. 

Mackler’s essay is titled “Phenomenology of Hiyuv Out of the Sources of Ethics: Joseph Soloveitchik and Mara Benjamin.” It’s a scholarly exploration of the religious experience of obligation, bringing together a traditional and a feminist perspective.  

Rabbi Mira Wasserman, Ph.D., who directs the Center for Jewish Ethics, noted that the institution is proud to award the Whizin Prize to a promising and rigorous thinker who joins breath of knowledge with fresh insights. Winners were chosen by a panel of three scholars who judged entries in a double-blind process. Submissions were judged on such criteria as writing quality, use of sources and contemporary relevance.   

The winning essay from this year and past years can be found at www.reconstructingjudaism.org/center-jewish-ethics/whizin-prize-essays 

Bryan Schwartzman

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