Truth, Lies, & Gossip: Speech Ethics in Jewish Law
Centre City Lunch & Learn Series with Rabbi Adam Zeff begins Wednesday, October 4 (meets monthly Oct-March)
Torrents of speech pour over us every day, from family, friends, and colleagues, as well as from public figures through the media. Troublingly, in this moment, all limits and boundaries on speech seem to have washed away in the flood of words. Lies are told with impunity, unsubstantiated gossip drives quick action, and even the nature of truth itself seems to be embattled. According to the Torah, God created the world with speech, and Jewish law takes human speech equally seriously – some mes as a matter of life and death. A whole literature of laws on speech ethics carefully considers both how we should monitor our own speech and how we should react to the words of others. In this class we will survey this body of law and explore how the boundaries that Jewish tradi on places on speech might help us judge and make sense of the words we hear every day.
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit for PA lawyers is available through Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis for an additional $100 for the full year or $75 for any three sessions. CLE fees must be paid separately.
6 Sessions (OFF-SITE): Wednesdays 12:15-1:30pm
Oct 4; Nov 1; Dec 6; Jan 3; Feb 7; Mar 7
GJC Members $150 / Non-Members $200 / addi onal CLE fees may apply
(Lunch & texts included) Hosted by Jim Meyer at Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis (1600 Market St, Ste. 3600) This course is supported by a gift from Sandy & Jim Meyer in memory of their parents.
Rabbi Adam Zeff has served as Rabbi at the Germantown Jewish Centre since 2010, after previously serving as Assistant Rabbi (2007-2010) and Student Rabbi (2002-2007). In his pre-rabbinic life, he was a cultural anthropologist who lived in South India for several years studying the connections between music, media, and society. Music has long been an important part of his life as a singer and instrumentalist in eastern and western musical traditions, and he has performed with many different ensembles in the U.S., Europe, India, and Israel. A native Californian, he spent a “gap year” in Israel before coming east for college, and he received a B.A. in Anthropology from Yale University in 1990, a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, and rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in 2007. He has taught cultural anthropology at Penn and at Drexel University, and a liturgy course at RRC. At GJC, Rabbi Zeff loves telling stories, teaching Torah, singing and playing music, working for justice, and talking, laughing, and learning with the people around him. He is active in religious dialogue with Christian and Muslim clergy and is on the Executive Committee of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia. As someone who grew up Reform, experimented with Orthodoxy in college, studied at a Reconstructionist seminary, and is a member of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbi Zeff is comfortable in a wide variety of Jewish settings and modes of worship and practice. His core conviction is that diversity in Jewish life and in the wider world is the truest expression of the divine. He and his wife, Cheryl, a public health physician, live in Mt. Airy and have three sons, Zeke, Avi, and Mati.