Confronting Scandal: How Jews Can Respond When Jews Do Bad Things

Confronting Scandal: How Jews Can Respond When Jews Do Bad Things

by Erica Brown


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"We can battle insensitivity, immorality and dishonesty in our lives individually and collectively as a people. We have a wonderful road map in the Torah and its traditions. It is time to think seriously about our reputation in the world and what we can do to enhance it, not because we want to look good but because we want to be good."
—from Chapter 6.

What should we do when we see other Jews behaving badly?

Most Jews are good, upstanding people who live by a strong moral code and follow Isaiah's words to be a light to others. But when Jews in the public sphere make headlines for being caught in scandals, their actions can provoke anger, shame and a sense of betrayal in the larger Jewish community.

In this insightful and timely book, Jewish scholar Dr. Erica Brown presents an intentional, disciplined framework to explore the emotions provoked in the Jewish community by reports of Jews committing crime. She proposes that we transform our sense of shame into actions that inspire and sustain a moral culture. Drawing from the Hebrew Bible, Talmud and our centuries-long Jewish commitment to ethics, she outlines ways you can activate and operate your personal moral compass, and shows how you can empower yourself with sacred obligation, responsibility, kindness and knowledge to increase Jewish pride.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683360124
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 08/01/2010
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Dr. Erica Brown, an inspiring writer and educator, is scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She consults for the Jewish Agency and other Jewish non-profits, and is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation. She is an Avi Chai Fellow, winner of the Ted Farber Professional Excellence Award, and the recipient of a Covenant Award for her work in education. She is author of Confronting Scandal: How Jews Can Respond When Jews Do Bad Things; Inspired Jewish Leadership: Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and Spiritual Boredom: Rediscovering the Wonder of Judaism and coauthor of The Case for Jewish Peoplehood: Can We Be One? (all Jewish Lights). She contributed to We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet, Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef and All These Vows—Kol Nidre (all Jewish Lights). She lectures widely on subjects of Jewish interest and leadership. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and can be reached at

Table of Contents

Introduction: Above the Law? 1

1. Airing Dirty Laundry 25
2. Jews in Crime Who Are Doing Time 43
3. Thou Shalt Not Shame 65
4. Oy! Hypocrisy! 85
5. Is Repentance Possible? 107
6. When Jews Do Good Things 129

Notes 156
Acknowledgments 164
Suggestions for Further Reading 165

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