The Jewish Law Institute Distinguished Lecture Series
In 2011, the Institute established the Jewish Law Institute Distinguished Lecture Series. Distinguished Lecturers include prominent law professors, lawyers, and rabbinic scholars, who address the interplay between Jewish law and the American legal system.
2021 - 2022, Judge Rachel (Ruchie) Freier
On January 12, 2022, Judge Rachel (Ruchie) Freier, a Touro alum, presented the Jewish Law Institute Distinguished Lecture in an online event moderated by Dr. Alan Kadish, President of the Touro College and University System, and Professor Levine. Judge Freier presides in New York City and is a member of the Jewish Law Institute Advisory Board.
2020-2021, Rabbi Michael Levy
On September 14, 2020, Rabbi Michael Levy, President, Yad HaChazakah-The Jewish Disability Empowerment Center, presented the Jewish Law Institute Distinguished Lecture as part of the day-long virtual conference, "Jewish Law in Comparative Context." His speech was titled, "Leave your Stereotypes at the Door--The Importance of Context in the Halls of Congress and the Garden of Torah."
On March 6, 2019, the Jewish Law Institute hosted the Honorable Elyakim Rubinstein, former Vice President of the Supreme Court of Israel and former Attorney General of the State of Israel. The title of the lecture was “Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Israel." In addition to delivering the Distinguished Lecture, Justice Rubinstein met with a number of judges, professors, and students throughout the day, and served as a guest speaker in Professor Levine's class on Jewish Law.
On May 2, 2018, the Jewish Law Institute hosted David Nimmer, a foremost expert in copyright law. Mr. Nimmer is of counsel to Irell & Manella LLP, Professor from Practice at UCLA School of Law, Distinguished Scholar at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, and a member of the Jewish Law Institute Advisory Board. The title of the lecture was "Jewish Copyright: Hatam Sofer and Beyond."
On Nov. 1, 2017, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Louis H. Kornreich, former Chief Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine, Of Counsel at Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer and Nelson, P.A., and a member of the Jewish Law Institute Advisory Board. The title of the lecture was "Truth and Reconciliation in Jewish & Civil Law."
On February 15, 2017, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Rabbi Moshe Sokol, Ph.D., Dean of Lander College for Men, whose lecture was titled “Is Jewish Law Compatible With Democracy? Legal and Philosophical Perspectives.” The lecture was attended by Touro Law faculty and students, as well as members of the public, and was followed by wide-ranging questions and comments from the audience.
On September 26, 2016, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Judge Karen "Chaya" Friedman, Associate Judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, whose lecture was titled "Law & Order: A Judge's Insider Story." Judge Friedman is a member of the Jewish Law Institute's Advisory Board. The lecture was presented at Lander College for Women, and the audience included students and faculty from both Touro Law Center and Lander College.
On April 1, 2016, Professor Russell Pearce, who holds the Edward & Marilyn Bellet Chair in Legal Ethics, Morality, and Religion at Fordham University School of Law, delivered a lecture on the topic: "Destabilizing the Business-Profession Binary: Louis Brandeis on Professionalism and Identity." The lecture was presented as a Keynote Address at the national conference, Louis D. Brandeis: An Interdisciplinary Retrospective, hosted by Touro Law Center and the Jewish Law Institute on March 31-April 1, 2016.
On October 7, 2015, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Professor Keith Sharfman, Professor of Law and Director of Bankruptcy Studies at St. John’s University School of Law. Professor Sharfman lectured on the topic of "Religious Arbitration in Bankruptcy." The audience for the lecture included Touro Law faculty and students, as well as visitors. Following the lecture, Professor Sharfman was given a tour of Touro Law Center’s Bankruptcy Clinic.
On March 10, 2015, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Benjamin Brafman, Esq., a prominent criminal defense attorney, for a reception and a public lecture. The reception, which was co-sponsored by Touro Law’s Jewish Law Students Association, honored Mr. Brafman for his efforts in support of various charitable causes and organizations, within the Jewish community and beyond. The lecture, titled “Litigating in the Public Eye,” was co-sponsored by Touro Law’s Criminal Law Society, and attracted a large audience of students, faculty, and visitors.
On September 4, 2014, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik, Director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and Rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel in Manhattan. The Lecture was co-sponsored by Lander College for Women – the Anna Ruth & Mark Hasten School. The title of the lecture was “Jews, Christians and the Hobby Lobby Decision.”
On April 10, 2014, the Jewish Law Institute hosted the Honorable Kermit V. Lipez, Senior Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Judge Lipez delivered his lecture at the Awards Banquet for the First Annual Moot Court Competition in Law & Religion, hosted at Touro Law Center on April 10-11, 2014. The title of the lecture was "On Being a Jewish Judge."
On Wednesday, October 30, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Robert Sugarman, Esq., a retired Partner of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Mr. Sugarman is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Past National Chair of the Anti-Defamation League. His lecture explored "the Intersection of Large Law Firm Practice and Jewish Values."
On April 10, 2013, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Professor Oren Gross, the Irving Younger Professor of Law and the Director of the Institute for International Legal & Security Studies at the University of Minnesota Law School, and the Nomura Visiting Professor of International Financial Systems at Harvard Law School. Professor Gross is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of international law and national security law, and he served as a senior legal advisory officer in the international law branch of the Israeli Defense Forces' Judge Advocate General's Corps. Professor Gross lectured on the topic of "Emergency Measures in Jewish Law."
On September 21, 2012, the Jewish Law Institute hosted Rabbi Yona Reiss, Dean of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Reiss, who holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and serves as a Rabbinic Judge on the Beth Din of America, discussed the role of Jewish Courts within the American legal system. The lecture, titled “A Comparative Look at Jewish Law and Civil Procedure,” was well attended by practicing lawyers, who received credits for their Continuing Legal Education.
On March 20, 2012, the Jewish Law Institute continued the Lecture Series with a public lecture by Nathan Lewin, Esq., a nationally renowned advocate of religious liberties, on the topic: “The Legal Profession and the Orthodox Jewish Lawyer -- Change Over Half a Century.” Mr. Lewin, who has argued 28 cases in the United States Supreme Court, discussed his personal and professional experiences as an Orthodox Jewish lawyer practicing at the highest levels of the legal profession.
On October 10. 2011, the Institute inaugurated the Distinguished Lecture Series with a lecture by Professor Sanford V. Levinson, who holds the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Professor Levinson, who is one of the most well-known law professors in the United States, spoke about “Divided Loyalties: The Problem of ‘Dual Sovereignty’ and ‘Constitutional Faith,’” addressing Jewish law, American constitutional law, and the legal system of the State of Israel.