• Live
  • Participation by invitation only
  • Hebrew

Pursuing Justice: Society and Economy in Jewish Sources

The Israel Democracy Institute
4 Pinsker Street, Jerusalem

While Jewish sources deal with social and economic issues extensively and thoroughly, the theory that underlies the discussion of these issues in traditional sources has yet to be adequately explained. On Wednesday June 26, 2013, IDI's Human Rights and Judaism project hosted a conference that explored whether it is possible to engage traditional Jewish sources in the contemporary debate on the nature of distributive justice and to involve them as active participants in shaping Israeli society today.

This Hebrew event was broadcast live on the IDI website.

This conference was made possible by the generous support of
an anonymous donor operating in Israel and
The Ruderman Family Foundation


9:00 a.m.–9:15 a.m.

Prof. Yedidia Stern, Vice President for Research, Israel Democracy Institute; Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University


9:15 a.m.–9:45 a.m.
Opening Address 

Dr. Benny Porat, Israel Democracy Institute; Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Social-Economic Constitution of the Bible: Founding Principles


9:45 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Session One: The Self, The Other, and the Collective

Chair: Dr. Einat Albin, Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Prof. David Heyd, Department of Philosophy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“Two are Traveling in the Desert”: Life Takes Precedence over Ethics

Rabbi Ido Rechnitz, Mishpetei Eretz Institute, Ofra
Freedom as a Duty and Economic Safety Net

Dr. Yael Wilfand, Department of Jewish History, University of Haifa
“A Horse to Ride Upon and a Slave to Run Before Him”:  Personal Needs Versus Uniform Criteria for Charitable Giving


11:45 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
Session Two: The Modern Period

Chair: Rabbi Dr. Joseph Isaac Lifshitz, Shalem College

Prof. Fania Oz-Salzberger, Faculty of Law and the Haifa Center for European and German Studies, University of Haifa
Social Justice and Political Hebraism: The Seventeenth Century Reads the Hebrew Bible

Prof. Daniel Gutwein, Department of the History of the Jewish People, University of Haifa
Herzl: The Zionist Revolution as a Negation of the Jewish Economic Ethos

Dr. Einat Rimon, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies
“Social Justice” and Jewish Economic-Social Vision in Zionist Thought


2:15 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Session Three: Credit and Taxes

Chair: Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Lau, Head of IDI’s Human Rights and Judaism in Action project and Rabbi of the Ramban Synagogue, Jerusalem

Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, Jerusalem College of Technology
The Institution of Credit in Jewish Law

Mr. Adi Libson, Researcher, Israel Democracy Institute; Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University
Transforming Welfare Policy: The Tannaitic Reconstruction of the Second Tithe as a Model for Welfare Policy


3:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Concluding Remarks

Prof. Hanoch Dagan, Senior Fellow, Israel Democracy Institute; Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University