Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard

Guilty or not guilty? The arguments made in a court of law are often complicated, but the decisions made often aim at certainty and finality.

In Fordham Law School’s annual Wolff lecture, Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard, scholar-in-residence at the school’s Institute for Law, Religion & Lawyer’s Work, will explore how the Jewish legal system as a whole and over time appreciates and values multiple positions and approaches to both cases and issues of law.

“Undecided Verdicts: Jewish law’s respect for doubt, uncertainty and ambiguity”
Monday, Jan. 12
6 p.m.
Costantino Room, Fordham Law School
150 West 62nd St., NY NY

Rabbi Blanchard, who is also the director of organizational development for CLAL—the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and the Meyer Struckmann Professor of Jewish Law at Humboldt University School of Law in Berlin, will dwell on texts mostly from the Babylonian Talmud.

They deal with issues as varied as the meanings of weapons and war, the Sabbath, and sexuality. In civil, family and religious law these texts illustrate an open and tolerant quality, he said.

“The corpus of Jewish law texts constitutes a sort of spiritual document that, properly understood, reveals the hidden depth in human experience,” he said.

“More importantly, it also shows us the wisdom available in the details of what is probably the activity that most defines what it is to be human—creating meaningful culture,”

Respondents for the lecture will include Arthur J. Jacobson, Max Freund Professor of Litigation & Advocacy at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University and Alyssa Gray, the Emily and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics and Associate Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. It will be moderated by Ethan J. Leib, professor of law at Fordham Law School.

It is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the center’s website, or contact [email protected] or (212) 636-7699.


Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.