ANNANDALE, NJ - Rabbi Eli Kornfeld of Chabad of Hunterdon will offer Crime and Consequence, a new six-session course by the acclaimed Jewish Learning Institute of Hunterdon County. The course will explore 3,000 years of Jewish perspective on conviction, sentencing, and criminal rehabilitation.
Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 5. at 7:30 p.m., participants in the course will challenge their thinking, ponder the implications of ancient Talmudic wisdom for complex modern cases, and get to the heart of the most pressing injustices facing our criminal justice system today.
“DNA testing is proving that we’ve been convicting innocent people,” said the Rabbi. “When we incarcerate first-time offenders, we’re turning them into hardened criminals. Known murderers are able to walk free on a technicality. How can we stand by and remain silent to these serious flaws in our criminal justice system?”
“I believe the first step is for us, as a community, to acknowledge the issues and explore possible solutions,” Kornfeld said. “And can you think of a better place to look for guidance than Judaism’s wisdom of the ages?”
Participants in the course will probe foundational questions: What is the goal of criminal punishment — to gain retribution for the victim, to keep criminals off the streets and safeguard from future crime, to set an example and instill the fear of law, or to rehabilitate the criminal and reintroduce him to society? Should we consider testimonies given in exchange for a reduced sentence as reliable evidence?
The course also boldly addresses society’s most serious sentencing questions: Is life-without-parole a justifiable penalty? May we sentence a person to death? When would these options be warranted? Is there a better way?
“Crime and Consequence is for people who care deeply about humanity, who are enraged at injustice, and who are fascinated by real-life catch-22 scenarios,” said the Rabbi. “Participants in the course will uncover the humanity within all people—including criminals, question judicial practices that seem unethical and unfair, and explore effective crime deterrents.”
Crime and Consequence is accredited in NY, NJ and Pa. for attorneys and other law professionals to earn continuing education credits. Like all JLI programs, this course is designed for people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.
The course fee is $99 which includes text books. Lesson one will be offered as a trial at no cost. Interested students may call 908-238-9002 or visit http://www.jewishhunterdon.com/jli for registration and for other course-related information.