RRC Ethics

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New Volume Is Published

Volume One of Series Illuminates Practice of
Values-Based Decision Making in Everyday Life

CONTACT: Shira Dicker

WYNCOTE, PA—(August 1, 2011) —“We want to find our own way, shaping our lives as thinking, contemporary individuals within the context of the richness of Jewish practice and ideas,” Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., writes of Jews today in his introduction to A Guide to Jewish Practice: Everyday Living (RRC Press/September 2011/$39.95).  The new volume by the director of the Center for Jewish Ethics of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College —the first of a three-part series—is an essential tool for Jewish living, offering access to the traditions, rituals, values and beliefs that are vital to all who want Judaism to play a major role in their lives.

The most comprehensive work of its kind to be published outside of the confines of the Orthodox world, the volume collects and builds upon seven decades of outstanding scholarship in the Reconstructionist movement. It features commentary by many leading lights of the Jewish world—Rabbis Mordechai Liebling, Sandy Sasso, Sid Schwarz and Sheila Peltz Weinberg, as well as Ruth Messinger, Marilyn Price and others. The new Guide introduces the principle of values-based decision making to a wide audience.

The work becomes available through RRC, in stores and on Amazon September 15, inviting various story angles for the High Holiday season that begins with Rosh Hashana on the eve of September 28. For instance, at this time what are liberal Jews expected to observe, and what do Reconstructionist Jews believe?

Moreover, the book's central theme—how to lead a life of integrity and meaning—naturally lends itself to articles or interviews in the period leading up to the Days of Awe.

Prior to publication the work has garnered high acclaim from religious leaders across the denominational spectrum. Stating that the book has his “highest endorsement,” Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion says, “Everyday Living: A Guide to Jewish Practice will be an indispensable addition to the library of all who seek individual and communal guidance and insight from the sources of Jewish tradition in virtually every area of life.” Praise for the volume also comes from Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and distinguished professor of philosophy at American Jewish University; Moses Pava, director of Yeshiva University’s Syms School of Business; and Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter Shalomi, leader of the Jewish Renewal movement.

Teutsch explains that the RRC Guide is intended for all Jews who take Judaism seriously yet do not consider themselves bound by halakhah (rabbinic law).  It can be read in its entirety or used in sections for study groups; and it can serve as a resource when an issue arises, he says.  

About the Contents

  • This first volume of A Guide to Jewish Practice covers the following topics: 
  • Everyday Spirituality
  • Ethics of Speech
  • Family and Sex Ethics
  • Community, G’milut Hesed and Tikun Olam
  • Organizational Ethics and Economic Justice
  • Tzedaka
  • Bioethics
  • Kashrut
  • Decision Making

Each of these topics is rich in information, conversation and commentary. A Guide to Jewish Practice will eventually include two additional large volumes covering Jewish holy days and the life cycle. 

About the Author

Rabbi David A. Teutsch Ph.D., is the Director of the Levin-Lieber Program in Jewish Ethics and the Louis and Myra Wiener Professor of Contemporary Jewish Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.