Capital Punishment in Jewish Law
In the pre-modern era, Jewish tradition had to handle criminal law for our community - both adjudicating law and issuing punishment. Some violations of law even carried the death penalty. Jewish legal tradition and Jewish courts throughout the ages took a wide range of approaches to the application of capital punishment. In this three part […]
Please Give Us More About Soferut. Originally Published January 28-29, 2022.
Along the way to answering the question a couple weeks ago about whether a sofer must also be a rabbi, we did learn a few miscellaneous interesting facts about the soferut business. For one thing, as anyone who just looks at a Torah scroll - during an aliyah, for instance - can see, there are […]
What Jewish Person in the Labor Movement was Born this Week? Originally Published January 21-22, 2022.
Born on January 27, 1850, in London, Samuel Gompers would go on to become a primary force behind the American labor movement. The oldest of five boys, Samuel left school at age 10 to apprentice as a shoemaker. Soon he joined his father making cigars. In 1863, the family moved to the Lower East Side […]
Must One Be a Rabbi to Become a Sofer? Originally Published January 14-15, 2022.
One need not be an ordained rabbi to serve as a sofer, but one must nevertheless absorb and deploy a great deal of knowledge and skill. A sofer (סופר) is a scribe (the female sofer is a soferet) who transcribes onto parchment the words of sifrei Torah and tefillin and mezuzot. The acronym formed by […]
Jews, the First Amendment, and Abortion Rights, January 30
Join us for an online program as Dr Rachel Kranson, Director of Jewish Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, discusses the intersection of Jewish tradition, the freedom of religion, and America's legal battles over abortion. This talk will take place over Zoom on Sunday, January 30, from 2:00 - 3:30 pm. To register, go to […]