Does Jewish tradition have clear ideas about economics—issues like taxes and trade, wealth and poverty, business and entrepreneurship? And what does Jewish history teach us about the nature of capitalism, socialism, and other ways of organizing economic life? While some Jewish thinkers have argued that free market economics are exploitative or unjust, this class will explore an array of mainstream Jewish sources—from the Bible, the Talmud, and other commentators—that point us in a different direction: toward limited government, private property, and economic liberty. We will explore how Jewish ideas helped shaped the emergence of free market societies in the West, and ask what guidance the Jewish way of thinking might offer in our current age of economic turmoil.
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Meet the Instructors
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. His current research focuses on the history and practical implementation of classical education in a Jewish setting, and he is both writing a book on the subject and implementing a pilot program for the first integrated classical curriculum in a Jewish school in decades, which was recently featured by The Wall Street Journal. He is also writing a book on Judaism and the history of economic freedom. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Dr. Rocklin was a Resident Research Fellow at the Tikvah Fund and a synagogue rabbi in Connecticut. He is also a Chaplain in the Army National Guard with the rank of Major, as well as the President of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty. He holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from Yeshiva University, rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University’s affiliated theological seminary, and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His writings have appeared in a number of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, National Review Online, The Forward, and Mosaic.
Yehoshua (Jason) Bedrick is director of policy at EdChoice. Previously, he was a policy analyst with the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. He also served as a legislator in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and was a research fellow at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, where he focused on educational choice. Bedrick received his Master’s in Public Policy, with a focus in education policy, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the Rabbinical College of America and a B.S. in Business Administration from Babson College.