Books For Life Newsletter
Volume 1, Number 1

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Dear friends,

Shalom U-vrakhah! I would like to personally welcome you to the first issue of "Sefer Ha-Hayim - Books for Life" Newsletter. As many of you know, I have founded a new publishing house named Yashar Books and among its first projects is the publication of this newsletter that will feature news, ideas, and insights from and about the world of Jewish books. I hope that you enjoy this first issue and ask that you send me feedback on how to make this a more enjoyable and informative newsletter.

Thank you,

Gil Student
President, Yashar Books

Find out more about some of the other people at Yashar Books at

Vol. 1, No. 1


1. Welcome to Yashar Books
2. Book Excerpt
3. Author Profile
4. Forthcoming Books

1. Welcome to Yashar Books

Discover Yashar Books, the new publisher of Orthodox Jewish books for today's reader and thinker. "Books for Life" will keep you up-to-date about new and rediscovered books that inform and inspire the mind and soul. "Books for Life" is a forum for scholars and students, the seekers and the simply inquisitive, all those who share a love of ideas. As new books become available, we will highlight the authors and give you previews, excerpts and exclusive interviews.

Yashar Books is dedicated to providing open access to the world of classical and contemporary Jewish ideas. Its goal is to publish affordable books of original Jewish scholarship and authoritative popularizations of Jewish classics.

2. The Pursuit of Justice and Jewish Law: Halakhic Perspectives on the Legal Profession by Michael J. Broyde

This issue's featured book is The Pursuit of Justice and Jewish Law: Halakhic Perspectives on the Legal Profession by Michael J. Broyde, a newly revised and expanded edition of Broyde's 1996 classic examining the issues and contrasts between Jewish and secular law. Broyde fearlessly tackles controversial issues that are vital to the professional life of every Jewish lawyer... as well as anyone caught up in the American legal system.


Professional Confidentiality

Jewish law requires one to inform a Jew of harm that might befall him and which could be avoided; this is based on the verse: "Do not stand by while your brother's blood is being shed." As has been noted by many, this obligation applies not only to saving lives, but also to preventing monetary losses. Thus, if there had been no secular regulation of this area and no contract between the lawyer and the client, a lawyer who learned that his client was planning to cause monetary loss through impropriety could be halakhically obligated to inform the potential victim, and thus prevent the loss...

In such a situation [of conflict between Jewish law and secular legal ethics] a lawyer must tread gingerly. The obligation to rescue a fellow Jew from harm is a very serious one. However, there is no obligation to rescue one from harm if the rescuer will suffer significant financial harm. As Rabbi Alfred Cohen has stated:

"Our research shows that the majority of halakhic authorities accept the position that a person whose livelihood depends upon maintaining the confidentiality of revelations made to him, need not jeopardize his position by telling those secrets. Although keeping silent might violate the negative mitzvah [commandment] of not standing by and allowing another Jew to be harmed, yet as long as he is not violating the commandment by doing any action and, were he to act he would endanger his own livelihood, then he is permitted to remain silent."

When a lawyer knows that he will be disciplined by his fellow lawyers and thus lose his ability to earn a living, most agree that the obligation to rescue is suspended. For the same reason, the obligation to rescue is also suspended in a case where a lawyer will not be disciplined but will lose a significant percentage of his clients, (as his particular clients do not wish the services of a lawyer who reports clients' legal violations to the authorities), Lawyers concerned with Jewish law should, however, realize that the Model Rules enforce a regulation that can be contrary to Jewish law, and should work to see it changed -- at the very least -- to mandate disclosure in cases of harm to a third party.

In addition, there is the issue of the lawyer's agreement (explicit or implicit) with the client not to reveal the client's information improperly. Indeed, the essence of that agreement is to conduct oneself according to the secular legal rules. People would not discuss their legal problems absent such an agreement, and it is part of every private lawyer's contract with a client. Particularly when the client's violation poses no threat to the physical integrity of another, it is quite possible that the lawyer's contract binds him to keep silent.

In a case of future physical harm to another, in this author's opinion, a lawyer should report whatever plans of a client needed to prevent the violent act, since it is unlikely that such a person will, in fact, be disciplined or otherwise 'suffer a serious loss, and thus his silence cannot be justified by a fear of loss of livelihood. It appears that such disclosure would be compelled by Jewish law. (However, it is important to add that a survey of the various casebooks and hornbooks, as well as Westlaw reports, shows no occasion where a lawyer was disciplined for disclosing information improperly when Jewish law would compel the disclosure.)


Michael J. Broyde

Michael J. Broyde is Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and the Academic Director of the Law and Religion Program at Emory University. His primary areas of interest are Law and Religion, Jewish law and ethics, and comparative religious law. Besides Jewish law and family law, Professor Broyde has taught Federal Courts, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Secured Credit, Bankruptcy and other courses. He received a juris doctor from New York University and published a note on the Law Review. He clerked for Judge Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. In addition, Professor Broyde is ordained (yoreh yoreh ve-yadin yadin) as a rabbi by Yeshiva University and is a dayan on the Beth Din of America, the largest Jewish law court in America. He is also the founding rabbi of the Young Israel of Atlanta synagogue and the dean of the Atlanta Torah Mitzion Kollel.

Professor Broyde published more than sixty articles in various aspects of law and religion and Jewish law, including "Error in Creation of Marriage in Modern Times under Jewish Law," Dinei Israel 22: 39-65 (2003). He has also published a number of articles in the area of Federal courts, including an article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy on the impeachment process. His first book, The Pursuit of Justice and Jewish Law, was published by Yeshiva University Press and his second, Human Rights and Judaism, by Aronson Publishing House. He is the author of a recent article in the Connecticut Law Review entitled "Cloning People: A Jewish View;" His most recent book is Marriage, Divorce and the Abandoned Wife in Jewish Law: A Conceptual Understanding of the Agunah Problems in America, 2003.

To order The Pursuit of Justice and Jewish Law: Halakhic Perspectives on the Legal Profession by Michael J. Broyde, click here: http://www. (Publication date December 2004. Orders received before December 15, 2004 will receive a 10% Advance Reservation Discount. Orders placed in Hebrew Bookstores will receive a special Bookstore Discount of 20%. Print and bring this newsletter to your favorite bookstore to be eligible.)


A related title currently in production, "Moral Issues of the Marketplace in Jewish Law," by Dr. Aaron Levine, focuses on issues in business ethics that arise from the intricacies and subtleties of Jewish business law. Dr. Levine is a distinguished rabbinic and economic authority on matters of Jewish business ethics and has published a number of books and articles on this theme. His latest book is an extension of his previous work that provides case studies relevant to everyday life and analyzes them from the perspectives of Jewish and secular law.

Other works in progress are Maimonides: A Man for All Ages, a two-volume work in preparation to mark the Jewish year 5765 (2004-2005) which is the 800th anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Moses Maimonides (11351204, physician and philosopher, considered the foremost Jewish scholar of the Middle Ages). The State of Israel has declared 5765 the Year of the Rambam (Maimonides). In conjunction with the Maimonides Heritage Center of Great Neck, New York, Yashar Books will publish a collection of articles by such leading Orthodox scholars as Dr. Arthur Hyman, Rabbi Shalom Carmy and the late Prof. Isadore Twersky. The essays are scholarly, yet clear and understandable to the non-specialist. The work is a unique opportunity for scholars to present somewhat obscure topics to non-academics in a format that will offer readers a clear window into the otherwise esoteric field of Maimonidean studies.

BETWEEN THE LINES OF THE BIBLE: Recapturing the Complete Meaning of the Text, by Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom, promises to be a major contribution to understanding the Bible. Rabbi Etshalom utilizes the modern tools of literary Biblical analysis to deepen understanding of the book of Genesis. In the process, he debunks many of the arguments and methods of Bible critics. Other books in progress include a translation and analysis of an 18th century defense of the Oral Torah, a study of the history and methodology of classical biblical commentators, fascinating academic biographies of famous Torah personalities and sociological studies of the Orthodox Jewish community.

For more information and orders, come to the reading room at Yashar Books,, 1548 E. 33rd St., Brooklyn, NY 11234, Phone: , Fax: ...,

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