Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., was the founding director of the Center for Jewish Ethics of RRC and is a widely known author and organizational consultant. His most recent book is A Guide to Jewish Practice: Shabbat and Holidays. Teutsch edited this second volume in the proposed three-part series from the RRC Press; the book opens vistas of meaning that will inspire readers to shape their own approaches to each milestone of the Jewish calendar. In 2011, volume one of the series, A Guide to Jewish Practice: Everyday Living, won the Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award, the National Jewish Book Award for Contemporary Life and Practice.
Teutsch’s previous contributions to the Guide series were published in 2000 [Kashrut], 2005 [Bioethics], 2005 [Tzedaka], 2006 [Ethics of Speech], 2007 [Organizational Ethics and Economic Justice], 2009 [Community, Gemilut Hesed and Tikun Olam], and 2010 [Family and Sexual Ethics and Everyday Spirituality].
He also is the author of Making a Difference: A Guide to Jewish Leadership and Not-for-Profit Management(2009) and Spiritual Community: The Power to Restore Hope, Community and Joy (Jewish Lights, 2005). He is the editor in chief of the groundbreaking seven-volume Kol Haneshamah prayer book series (Reconstructionist Press, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001) and of Imagining the Jewish Future (SUNY Press, 1992).
Teutsch is a past president of the Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics and of the Society of Jewish Ethics. He has served as a member of the Professional Advisory Council of the United Jewish Communities Renaissance Pillar and as a board member of the National Havurah Committee and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. He previously served as rabbi at Ramat Shalom in Spring Valley, NY; director of program administration for the National Jewish Resource Center (now CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership); and director of special projects and vice president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation.
A graduate of Harvard University, Teutsch received his Master of Hebrew Letters and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City and earned his Ph.D. at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where his work focused on organizational ethics. He served as president of RRC from 1993 to 2002, following appointments as executive vice president and dean of admissions.
Teutsch regularly contributes articles and reviews to various Jewish publications. From 1982 to 1986, he served as the executive director of the Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot (which later became the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation).
[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.
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.
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.