Courses

Social Justice
10 Sessions

Teshuvah and Criminal Justice: An Exploration of Second Chances

Organization: Hadar Institute

What do Jewish sources say about starting anew after breaking the law, and how can that inform our understanding of modern day criminal justice? 

In this course, we’ll do a deep dive into teshuvah (repentance) and the rehabilitation process after one has committed various types of offenses. We’ll ask whether it’s ever too late to turn over a new leaf, and what the consequences should be for a communal leader who speaks or acts inappropriately. For example, what should happen to a shochet, a community butcher, who fraudulently sold his customers non-kosher meat? What about a politician convicted of bribery who wants to return to public office? Should the damage to someone’s reputation or employment ever be permanent? 

Rooting ourselves in Jewish texts, we’ll explore complex real-life cases together. In doing so, we’ll see firsthand how approaching these moral questions through a lens of Jewish tradition can offer unique insights.  

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