The Center for Jewish Ethics of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College was established in 1994 to address Jews' struggle for ethical learning and their need for guidance as they encounter the ethical demands of contemporary life. The Center advances its goals through a number of interrelated strategies, including:
- training future rabbis as teachers and ethical guides;
developing methods for Jewish moral decision making, such as use of narrative-based, values-based and case-based approaches;
constructing coalitions to further moral inquiry and strengthen ethical action in Jewish life;
publishing study guides, books and other resources for dealing with ethical questions;
- providing speakers and consultants on topics of concern to the ethics program; and
- engaging in other activities aimed at encouraging ethical practice in Jewish life.
Four ethics courses are offered through the Center. One is taught each semester in a two-year rotation. These survey family and sexual ethics, speech ethics, biomedical ethics, and organizational and business ethics.
The Center is also the host and cofounder of the groundbreaking yet pluralistic Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics , which mounts an annual conference and a journal that includes the conference’s proceedings. To support scholarship on ethical issues, the Center runs an annual essay contest, awarding the Whizin Prize .
In addition, the Center provides consultation for Reconstructionist rabbis and congregations as well as organizations in the broader Jewish community. The Center’s director, Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., is a sought-after consultant and speaker.