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Meet the Board
President: Rabbi Jonathan Crane, PhD, Emory University
Jonathan K. Crane is the Scholar of Bioethics and Jewish Thought at Emory University’s Center for Ethics. He holds a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Wheaton College in Massachusetts (1995), a M.A. in international peace studies from the University of Notre Dame (1997), a M.Phil. in Gandhian thought from Gujarat Vidyapith in India (1998), a M.A. in Hebrew literature and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in New York (2003), and a Ph.D. in religion from the University of Toronto (2009). He has served Jewish communities in China, India, and North America and he has presented at conferences and taught around the world about Judaism, interfaith relations, Gandhian philosophy, and a variety of ethical issues. He serves on the board of the Society for Jewish Ethics and his most recent publication is “Open-Source Covenant” in Jewish Theology in Our Time edited by Elliot J. Cosgrove (2010).
Vice President: Rabbi Geoffrey Claussen, PhD, Elon University
Geoffrey Claussen is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University. He holds a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Carleton College, and his M.A., rabbinic ordination, and Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Prior to joining the Elon faculty, he taught at Oberlin College and served as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Claussen’s research focuses on the nineteenth-century Musar movement, a pietistic movement which sought to place concerns with moral character at the center of Jewish thought and practice.
His recent articles include:
- “Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv on Love and Empathy” (Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, 2010)
- “The American Jewish Revival of Musar” (The Hedgehog Review, 2010)
- “God and Suffering in Heschel’s Torah Min-Hashamayim” (Conservative Judaism, 2010)
- “Jewish Virtue Ethics and Compassion for Animals: A Model from the Musar Movement” (CrossCurrents, 2011)
Secretary/Treasurer: Moses Pava, PhD, Yeshiva University
Dr. Moses Pava is the Alvin Einbender Professor of Business Ethics and Professor of Accounting at Sy Syms School of Business, where he has taught since 1988.
Dr. Pava’s research interests include business ethics, financial accounting, corporate social responsibility, and the interface between religion and business. His work in these areas is frequently cited in both academic and professional literatures.
He has written numerous books and articles on these topics including Leading with Meaning, Business Ethics: A Jewish Perspective, The Search for Meaning in Organizations, and Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Performance, which was named by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Business Book Selection.
In 2009, Dr. Pava published Jewish Ethics as Dialogue: Using Spiritual Language to Re-Imagine a Better World (Palgrave MacMillan), which is intended to give readers the tools to discuss and think more systematically about ethical lapses in the business world. In this book, he cites both traditional and modern Jewish texts, from scholars such as Rabbis Joseph Soloveitchik and Irving Yitz Greenberg, as well as secular views from thinkers such as the 20th-century American philosopher and activist John Dewey.
His recent public lecture on “The Great Financial Meltdown of 2008–2009: Jewish Ethics and Business Ethics” focused on business and social responsibility.
Dr. Pava serves as editor of the annual series research in Ethical Issues in Organizations published by Elsevier. He also serves on three editorial boards of Business Ethics Quarterly and the Journal of Business Ethics and is a frequent contributor and reviewer for these journals.
Dr. Pava has lectured at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Stanford Law School, Hebrew University, New York University and many other prestigious business schools worldwide. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University and a B.A. from Brandeis University.
Past President: Rabbi Aaron Mackler, PhD, Duqusne University
Dr. Mackler's research interests focus on substantive and methodological concerns in health care ethics, as well as theological ethics and Jewish theology. A special concern is dialogue between Jewish and Roman Catholic views.
Dr. Mackler has spoken on theology and health care ethics for professional societies and other audiences. He served as ethicist for the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, and taught as Visiting Assistant Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Dr. Mackler is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, for which he is Chair of the Subcommittee on Biomedical Ethics. He currently serves as an ethics committee member for Pittsburgh Mercy Health System.
Julia Watts Belser is Assistant Professor of Judaism in the Religious Studies department at Missouri State University. She studies rabbinic literature and Jewish ethics through the lens of ecological criticism, queer-feminist perspectives, disability studies, and postcolonial thought. She received her Ph.D. from the Joint Program in Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union, as well as rabbinic ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion, California. Her first book, Covenantal Ecology: Rabbinic Responses to Drought and Disaster, is currently under publisher review. She is presently working on a second book, Fashioning Catastrophe: Gender, Sexuality, and Ecology in Talmudic Disaster Tales. Other projects in progress include Jewish feminist environmental justice, responses to climate change, and the intersection between disability studies and environmental ethics.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, Belser was a Research Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard Divinity School in the Women’s Studies in Religion Program. She has taught at the Graduate Theological Union, the University of California, Davis, the Leaven Center for Spirituality and Social Change, Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality, and the Masorti Lehrhaus in Berlin, Germany. She co-authoredA Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities, published by the Hesperian Foundation and distributed to grassroots women’s groups and health workers around the world. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in Midstream: A Journal of Jewish Thought, Kalliope: A Journal of Women’s Art and Literature, and Fireweed: A Feminist Quarterly.
Aaron S. Gross is a professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego and holds graduate degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of California, Santa Barbara's Department of Religious Studies. At USD he is developing a broad array of courses in the study of Jewish traditions exploring the systems of knowledge, forms of expressivity, religious practices, and inter-religious engagements of Jewish communities in different historical periods and geographic regions. He co-chairs the Consultation on Animals and Religion at the American Academy of Religion. His forthcoming edited volume, Animal Others and the Human Imagination, aims to make a major contribution to the growing new literature of Animal Studies. His articles have appeared in the Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal, Shofar, and Tikkun. Gross founded Farm Forward in 2006 and serves as its Executive Vice President. He has spent more than two years in South Asia (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka) doing research or nonprofit work.
Gross’s research centers on contemporary American Jewish thought and practice (especially food practices) with a comparative interest in South Asian (Jain, Buddhist, Hindu) traditions. Theoretically he focuses on the significance of animals and the category “animal” for the study of religion, with attention to ethical considerations and how thinking about what it means to be human is bound with ideas about animality. His work owes a special debt to the thought of Jacques Derrida.
Rabbi Dr. Noam Zohar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy of Bar ILan University, where he is the chairman of the Graduate Program in Biotechnology. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Rabbi Dr. Zohar is among the world's foremost authorities on Jewish bio-medical ethics. His books include Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics (SUNY Press) and The Jewish Political Tradition, which he edited with the renowned philosopher Michael walzer. Rabbi Dr. Zohar received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, and has been a Faculty Fellow of the Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions. He has also been an advisor for Religious Policy to Israel's Minister of Education, and has served and continues to serve on the ethics committe of several hospitals. He has published over two dozen articles on the philosophical and religious implications and impacts of scientific advances in medicine and biology.
Laurie Zoloth, a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, is Director of Brady Program in Ethics and Civic Life at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, and was the founding director of The Center for Bioethics, Science and Society at Northwestern University`s Feinberg School of Medicine. She teaches in the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program, in the Jewish Studies program and as of Professor of Religious Studies. From 1995-2003 she was a founder and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University. She has been on the founding national boards of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanites, the Society of Jewish Ethics, the International Society for Stem Cell Research, The Society for Scriptural Reasoning, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Bioethics Advisory Board, and NASA’s International Planetary Protection Advisory Committee. She served for two terms as member of the NASA National Advisory Council, the nation's highest civilian advisory board for NASA, for which she received the NASA National Public Service Award in 2005.
In 2000, Professor Zoloth was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Virginia in the Department of Religion and The Center for Medical Ethics. She is also co-founder of The Ethics Practice, a group that has provided clinical ethics consultation and education services to health care providers and health care systems nationally. She received her BA in Women's Studies and History from the University of California at Berkeley, her BSN from the University of the State of New York, her MA in English from San Francisco State University, her MA in Jewish Studies and her Ph.D. in Social Ethics at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She has published extensively in the areas of ethics, family, feminist theory, religion and science, Jewish Studies, and social policy in The Hastings Center Report, The Journal of Clinical Ethics, The Kennedy Institutes Journal of Bioethics, Theoretical Medicine, The Cambridge Quarterly, The HEC Forum, Medical Humanities Review, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Tikkun Magazine, Judaism, The Journal of Religious Ethics, and has authored chapters in 27 books. Her current research projects include work on the emerging issues in medical and research genetics.