Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

Jewish Ethics: Do Torah and Morality Always Go Together?
The Foundry Church - Community Commons

Rabbinic texts are rich in the rabbis' ethical wrestlings with a range of topics from how to divide scarce resources, when it's permissible to defend oneself with force, and what to do if one ox gores another. Join us at third of this four-part lunch and learn series in which we will dive into the rabbis' ethical debates and shed light on our own.

The Hadar Institute is an educational institution that empowers Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing communities of Torah learning, prayer, and service.

Topic for this Lunch & Learn: Humiliation: Judaism's Fourth Cardinal Sin?
Ask a knowledgeable Jew, and they are likely to tell you that Judaism has three cardinal sins that one should sooner die than commit: idolatry, sexual immorality, and murder. But fascinatingly, many legal authorities insist that there is actually a fourth: it is preferable to die rather than humiliate another person. In this session, we’ll explore the biblical roots of this idea and study some of the thinkers who insist that it has the status of normative Jewish law-- and we'll also consider some very good reasons why they may be wrong.   And, of course, we'll ask: just why is human dignity so central to Jewish theology and practice?

Class Dates:

March 5 - click on the ticket button to the right to register!
May 7 - click here to register for this class only.


$25 for one class, includes dessert and drinks
$45 for 2 class series, includes dessert and drinks

If you'd like to have lunch included with your ticket, we will be ordering a kosher vegan lunch from Shouk. Please choose the ticket option that includes lunch on the following page.

$36 for one class, includes lunch, dessert, and drinks
$67 for 2 class series, includes lunch, dessert, and drinks

Click on the ticket button to the right to register!

March Lunch & Learn Instructor Bio:

rabbi shai held headshot Rabbi Shai Held–theologian, scholar, and educator–is President, Dean, and Chair in Jewish Thought at Hadar, where he also directs the Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas.  Previously, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakhah at the Jewish Theological Seminary.  He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel.  A 2011 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Rabbi Held has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.  He holds a doctorate in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought, in biblical theology, and in the history of Zionism.  Rabbi Held's first book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, was published by Indiana University Press in 2013; The Heart of Torah, a collection of essays on the Torah in two volumes, was published by JPS in 2017.


Time: 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

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Related Links


Jewish Ethics: Do Torah and Morality Always Go Together? 01/22/2019