At the CJL we foster rigorous academic discussions about ancient texts, the nature of Jewish law, and law in general, while we also reflect seriously on the relationship between the academy and public life. “Ancient Traditions” are studied by distinguished academics and promising graduate students in accordance with the highest standards of academic discourse. At the same time, we are constantly considering the possibilities that ancient traditions may have for helping society re-think some of its most pressing “New Conversations.”  I invite you to browse through our website to experience the many events, programs, and conversations facilitated by the CJL. You may not be surprised to find a complex philological discussion of a rabbinic text at one event, while another event will probe the question of what Jewish law has to say about military ethics in the twenty-first century.

Housed at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, CJL has become, since its inception in 2007, a focal point for bridging disciplines and sharing resources across the Yeshiva University community, from the law school, to the graduate school in Jewish studies, to the rabbinical school, to the undergraduate programs. In addition to our unique position at YU, we have continued to refine and expand our role as a major locus for the study of Jewish and comparative legal theory in America.

A generous donation from the Tikvah Fund has enabled us to annually host Tikvah Fund Visiting Scholars in Jewish Law and Thought, in addition to our annual Meyer Visiting Scholar in Comparative Jewish Law. Our reading group, colloquia, works-in-progress series, conferences, publications, and other continued programs have been enriched by the participation of scholars and graduate students from top universities in North America, Israel, and Europe. On this website, you will find syllabi, articles, and digital media from all of these programs.

Our two-year graduate fellowship program in Jewish law and legal theory has introduced legal theory to PhD candidates in the field of Jewish studies from Columbia, Yale, Princeton, NYU, CUNY, University of Pennsylvania, and JTS. The fellowship culminates in an international graduate conference for our second-year students and students of Mishpat Ivri at Hebrew University and the Tel Aviv Law School. Our undergraduate fellowship selects eight talented undergraduates for participation in a rigorous and innovative program that bridges academic study and contemporary issues.  On this website, you can “meet” our talented fellows and read more about what they learn in their education at the CJL.

In addition to our academic programs, we continue to create opportunities for non-academic professionals to participate in the exciting conversations taking place at the CJL. We continue to host annual public panels on contemporary issues such as American exceptionalism and military ethics. Our annual Meyer public lecture on Jewish law is a popular event enriched by the wisdom and perspective of the broader community. On this website, you will find media from these public events and information about upcoming events.

Our flourishing Center continues to explore new frontiers and cutting-edge projects. We are in the process of developing new courses, new degree programs, innovative publications, and exciting collaborations with other institutions. Please read about all these initiatives-in-progress on our website.

Suzanne Last Stone
Director, Yeshiva University Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law