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Mendelson Scholar Dr. Deborah Barer - Decision Making in the Talmud and Today

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 2 Cheshvan 5781

7:30 PM - 9:00 PMZoom

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Join us as our October Mendelson Scholar, Dr. Deborah Barer, teaches in correlation with the MakomDC 2020-2021 theme, Ve-Dibarta Bam — Torah That Speaks To You & Me: Learning, Living and Exploring in Adas Israel’s Virtual Biran Beit Midrash.  Dr. Barer will focus her teaching on facing challenging decisions, what happens when the rules are not clear, or when applying them would lead to an undesirable outcome? How should we make decisions in these cases? A series of Talmudic narratives about rabbis acting lifnim mi-shurat ha-din offer a possible response. The Talmud uses this enigmatic phrase, which literally means “within the line of the law”, to indicate that a rabbi has done something different than what Jewish law (halakhah) would lead us to expect. Using their behavior as a model, this talk will explore the circumstances that might prompt a rabbi to act lifnim mi-shurat ha-din, and what these stories can teach us about making decisions in our own lives.

Deborah Barer is Assistant Professor of Ancient Judaism at Towson University, where she teaches courses in Religious Studies and Jewish Studies. Her research focuses on Talmudic decision-making and its application to contemporary issues in Jewish law and ethics. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

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Thu, October 29 2020 11 Cheshvan 5781