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Thou Shalt Be a Mensch: The Jewish Line Between Law and Ethics
March 4, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm$18
In perhaps no other religious tradition does Law hold more central place than it does in Judaism. In their founding code, The Mishnah, the rabbis mapped out a system of laws that are meant to regulate nearly every sphere of human life. Yet of out 63 tractates there is one – Avot – that does not seem to dictate legal obligations, but simply to advise good behavior. What is the role of this exceptional volume in the larger work of the Mishnah, and what does it tell us about the relationship between Law and Ethics in Judaism?
ABOUT THIS SPEAKER: David Kasher is an Associate Rabbi at IKAR, a non-denominational spiritual community in Los Angeles. He received his BA in Political Science at Wesleyan University, holds a J.S.D. from Berkeley Law, and received his Rabbinic Ordination at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Kasher grew up bouncing back and forth between the Bay Area and Brooklyn, hippies and hassidim – and has been trying to synthesize these two worlds ever since. After graduating from college, he studied for several years in yeshivot in Israel before heading off to rabbinical school. He was ordained in 2007, and returned to Northern California, where he became the Senior Jewish Educator at Berkeley Hillel. He was part of the founding team at Kevah, a non-profit specializing in Adult Jewish Education, and worked from 2012 to 2018. He has served on the faculty of Berkeley Law, the Wexner Heritage Program, Reboot, and BINA: The Secular Yeshiva, and also taught at Pardes, SVARA, The Hartman Institute, Dorot and various Limmuds. Rabbi Kasher is a teacher of nearly all forms of classical Jewish literature, but his greatest passion is Torah commentary, and he spent the last five years producing the weekly ParshaNut blog and podcast (www.parshanut.com), exploring the riches of the genre.