2 Chi.-Kent J. Int'l & Comp. L. 1 (2002)

handle is hein.journals/chkjicl2 and id is 1 raw text is: 


V The  Journal of International and Comparative Law at Chicago-Kent: Volume 2, 2002


                 Teaching Jewish Law in American Law Schools-Part II:
                                     An  Annotated Syllabus

                                          Samuel  J. Levine*



                                        INTRODUCTION

         In recent years, American  legal scholarship has increasingly turned to the Jewish legal

system  as a source of comparison  and  contrast for questions that arise in American legal

discourse.'  Concomitantly,  a growing  number   of American  law  schools have  introduced into

their curriculum a course  in Jewish Law.  By  some  estimates, approximately   thirty American  law

schools  include courses in Jewish  Law  as part of their curriculum. 2 A number  of different models


* Research Professor of Law, St. John's University School of Law; LL.M., Columbia University; J.D., Fordham

University; Ordination, Yeshiva University; B.A., Yeshiva University.
        The syllabus presented here is a variation of the syllabi I have used in the Jewish Law courses I have taught
at St. John's University School of Law and Fordham University School of Law. I gratefully acknowledge that in
compiling these syllabi, I gained from the advice and assistance of friends, colleague, and mentors, many of whom
shared with me the syllabi they had used in teaching Jewish Law. In addition, I thank Abraham Abramovsky, with
whom  I taught the course at Fordham.
        I also note the recent appearance of a Jewish Law textbook for use in American law schools. See MENACHEM
ELONET AL., JEWISH LAW (MISHPATIvRI): CASES AND MATERIALS (1999). Although Professor Elon's book represents a
groundbreaking achievement and is a valuable source for any course in Jewish Law taught in an American law school,
the book differs from my own syllabus in its emphasis on Jewish law in the context of modem Israeli law, an approach
more consistent with the international law model that I incorporate into my syllabus to a considerably more limited
degree.
1 See sources cited in Chad Baruch and Karsten Lokken, Research of Jewish Law Issues: A Basic Guide and
Bibliography for Students and Practitioners, 77 U. DET. MERCY L. REv. 303 (2000); Samuel J. Levine, Jewish Legal
Theory and American Constitutional Theory: Some Comparisons and Contrasts, 24 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 441,442-
43 nn. 3-11 (1997) [hereinafter, Levine, Jewish Legal Theory]; Samuel J. Levine, Teaching Jewish Law in American
Law Schools: An Emerging Development in Law and Religion, 26 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 1041 (1999) [hereinafter,
Levine, Teaching Jewish Law: An Emerging Trend]; Suzanne Last Stone, In Pursuit of the Counter-Text: The Turn to
the Jewish Legal Model in Contemporary American Legal Theory, 106 HARv. L. REv. 813, 817-19 nn. 14-28 (1993).
2 See Edward H. Rabin, Symposium: The Evolution and Impact of Jewish Law, Foreword, 1 U.C. DAVIS J. INT'L L. &

POL'Y 56 (1995); Jeffrey I. Roth, Fraud on the Surviving Spouse in Jewish and American Law: A Model Chapter for a
Jewish Law Casebook, 28 CASE W. RES. J. INT'L L. 101, 101 n.1 (1996).
        According to the findings of a recent survey compiled by the Institute of Jewish Law, Touro College / Jacob
D. Fuchsberg Law Center, American law schools that offered courses in Jewish Law in 1999 and 2000 included:
University of California at Davis, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Catholic University, Chicago-Kent College of


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