Jewish Law Conference to Be Held March 5


For the first time in almost 20 years, the Yale Law School will be hosting a conference on Jewish Law on Sunday, March 5. Titled “Jewish Law in the Modern State,” the Conference will address topics including the intersection of Jewish practice and Western law; Robert Cover and Jewish legal theory; and the meaning of citizenship. 

Speakers and panelists include: Ambassador David Saperstein (President Obama’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom), Professor William Forbath ’83 (Texas Law), Alyza Lewin (counsel in the Zivotofsky case), Professor Michael Helfand ’07 (Pepperdine), and Yale’s own Professors Elli Stern and Steven Fraade. Panel moderators include YLS Professors Anthony Kronman ’75 and Eugene Fidell.  

The organizers believe that studying Jewish law can provide a new lens through which to understand a variety of legal topics from family and international law to statutory and constitutional interpretation. By hosting this conference, they hope to spur interest in Jewish law among our peers at the law school, provide a forum for cross-disciplinary investigation of and engagement with the law, and begin the process of building out an infrastructure for Jewish legal studies at YLS.


  • 9:00 AM: Opening Keynote “Uses and Abuses of Jewish Law in American Legal Theory” (Professor Suzanne Last Stone)
  • 10:15 AM: Panel 1 “Jewish Legal Theory” (Professor Leora Batnitzky, Professor Yonatan Brafman, Professor Steven Fraade; Moderator: Professor Tony Kronman)
  • 1:45 PM: Panel 2 “Border Crossings: States and Citizenship” (Professor William Forbath, Alyza Lewin, Professor Eliyahu Stern; Moderator: Professor Paul Franks)
  • 3:45 PM: Panel 3 “Jewish Practice & Western Law” (Professor Norma Baumel Joseph, Professor Michael Helfand, Professor Frederick Lawrence; Moderator: Professor Eugene Fidell) 
  • 5:30 PM: Closing Keynote “Uses and Abuses of Jewish Sources in American Politics” (Ambassador David Saperstein)

For more information and to register please go to our website. Please contact Dani Abada ( and Aaron Levine ( if you have any questions.