Ellen Dannin | Reconstructing Judaism

Ellen Dannin

Ellen Dannin, a thought leader on labor and privitization, has taught and written primarily about American and New Zealand labor and employment law. She also writes about privatization of government services and public infrastructure. Her most recent law school position was as the Fannie Weiss Distinguished Faculty Scholar and professor of law at Penn State Dickinson School of Law. She is a former member of the Ann Arbor Havurah, Dor Hadash in San Diego, and Congregation T’chiyah in Detroit.

Blood

While Jewish dietary law forbids the consumption of blood, Ellen Dannin suspects that the Torah’s message goes deeper than the rareness of a steak.

D'var Torah

Tamar the Hidden

Delving into the story of Tamar’s deception of Judah, Ellen Dannin explores the power she exercises in calling a powerful man to moral accountability.

D'var Torah

Connecting the Dots

Jacob and Esau, estranged for years, reach reconciliation in Parashat Vayishlakh. But as Ellen Dannin notes, Jacob’s fearful nature renders this healing tragically incomplete.

D'var Torah

Isaac, Digger of Wells

Isaac’s life repeats many of the events that marked his father’s life. Was he stuck in rut? Or was his redigging of his father’s wells fruitful? 

D'var Torah

Avraham, Happiness, and God's Open Hand

Our lives are filled with both blessings and hardships. Ellen Dannin suggests Avraham’s approach as a model for making sense of this tension.

D'var Torah

Tamar and Judah

The Joseph story is interrupted by the brief but portentious episode of Tamar and Judah. 

D'var Torah

Drawing Close to Sacrifice

What would it mean to approach the difficult passages of Leviticus by embracing them, rather than explaining them away? Ellen Dannin investigates.

D'var Torah

Why Be Good?

Examining Moses' lifelong struggles to lead the Israelites, Ellen Dannin explores his inner motivations. Why be good if not motivated by a reward? 

D'var Torah

The Dress of the High Priest

Just weeks after the dramatic exodus from Egypt, we find ourselves reading about the High Priest's luxurious garments: the ultimate power suit?

D'var Torah

Living the Good Life

What is the Jewish view of “living the good life”? Ellen Dannin explores the lessons of Parashat Ekev

D'var Torah

Moses Died With A Promised Land

In Moses's imperfections, Ellen Dannin sees not a tragically fallen leader, but an almost perfect example of humanity. 

D'var Torah

Filling the Earth with God's Presence

“Holy, holy, holy! All the earth is filled with the presence of the Lord of Hosts.” Or it could be, if we made room for that presence. Making room for God is a task set for us by all of Jewish teaching, and it is one whose details are included in Parashat Mishpatim.

D'var Torah

Future Prayer

Isaiah’s words to us on Yom Kippur call us to action.

D'var Torah

Our Akeidah, Our Binding

A reflection on the Akeidah—the Binding of Isaac. Has our society really moved past sacrificing our  children to contemporary idols? 

D'var Torah