Centre for Continuing Education

Ethics of Jewish Living Course

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Learn about Jewish culture the smart way with Jewish Culture courses at CCE, The University of Sydney.

In partnership with the Department of Hebrew, Biblical & Jewish Studies
Course materials developed by The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning - a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For specific enquiries regarding the program, please contact Jillian Fine on 0410 497 870 or email.

This interactive Jewish Studies course, developed and led by the Melton Centre at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is a comprehensive, sequential series of text-based lessons. Understanding Jewish ethics is the essence of understanding Judaism. Participants will explore how Judaism views human behaviour and debates practical dilemmas in life. The course is organised thematically and has been tailored to suit the interests of Australian learners. Topics include Respect for Human Life, Justice, Civil Disobedience, Organ Transplants, Humility, Ecology, and Business Ethics.

Course content

This ethics of Jewish living course covers the following topics:

  1. Equity and Justice: Moral Awareness without Judaism.
  2. The Significance of Human Life.
  3. The Imitation of God.
  4. Personal Virtues.
  5. For You, or for Me.
  6. Jewish Approaches to Making Ethical Decisions.
  7. Power of the Spoken Word.
  8. Donating Organs during One’s Life.
  9. Donating Organ’s after Death.
  10. Suicide.
  11. Honouring Ageing Parents.
  12. Sexual Desire and the Institutions of Marriage.
  13. Ethics in Marriage.
  14. Ethics in Divorce.
  15. Abortion.
  16. Gender-Related Ethics.
  17. Homosexuality.
  18. Euthanasia and End-of-Life Decisions.
  19. Fertility Management.
  20. All for One, or One for All.
  21. Taking a Trip to Israel.
  22. Gemilut Chasadim.
  23. Ransoming Captives.
  24. Tzedakah Priorities.
  25. Making an Honest Living.
  26. Jews and Gentiles.
  27. Stem Cell Research.
  28. Environmental Ethics.
  29. Animal Experimentation.
  30. A Code of Jewish Living.

Course outcomes

At the end of this ethics of Jewish living course, participants will:

  1. Be able to recognise that there is a unique Jewish approach to Ethics which is based on a 4,000 year tradition.
  2. Learn that Jewish ethics is inseparable from Jewish law – ethical questions require a legal response.
  3. Be able to identify different schools of thought within the Jewish ethical tradition and know where they diverge from one another.
  4. Gain an appreciation of the complexity of grappling with ethical questions and will recognise that not all ethical dilemmas can be ‘solved’.

Course Delivery

This ethics of Jewish living course is delivered as a seminar with group discussion. Two topics will be taught per session, each for an hour’s duration.

Course reading

Participants are required to bring their own Tanakh (Bible) to each session. Any scholarly translation is acceptable. Two recommended editions are:

  • Jewish Publication Society Tanakh
  • New Revised Standard Version Tanakh


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Certificate of completion