Jewish Legal Study Available at TU

Law students and others have a unique opportunity to study Jewish law through resources now on loan to the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Interest in study Jewish law is increasing as resources become available to law schools, according to Beth Mobley, associate director and head of special collections for the Gould Law Library, Touro Law Center, Huntington, N.Y.
Mobley formally introduced the Lillie Goldstein Judacia Collection at the University of Tulsa College of Law, and outlined the importance of the traveling library during the Mid America Association of Law Libraries regional meeting.
The collection is on loan at TU through the academic year which ends in June 2007.
Mobley’s Tulsa visit also is the first time she has had the opportunity to see the exhibit first-hand in the seven years since it was introduced.
There always has been an interest in studying Jewish law, she said. But it has been limited to 25 law schools with the resources to support this course of study.
Now, with the traveling library, additional law schools can offer the curricula for at least one school year.
The TU College of Law is the seventh to participate in the program since it was introduced seven years ago. The next stop is the American University, Washington, D.C.
TU law school officials made the decision to open the collection so it can be viewed by the public, she said. Some universities restrict that availability to law students only. Scholars at the universities often take the opportunity to study data for research papers.
Jewish law permeates laws in many countries throughout the world, she continued. It is the civil and religious foundation of Jewish life. These rules go back to the time of Moses, making up the first five books found in the Torah.
Many Anglo American laws of today are based on concepts from those early Jewish laws, Mobley continued. Even the U.S. Supreme Court references them, among the most notable are the Miranda Decision and Griswold vs Connecticut.
‘‘My role is talking about the Lillie Goldstein collection,’’ she said. These include the Torah, the laws of Moses, and Tanakh, which is questions posted to noted rabbis and their answers.
These answers are the responsa or the equivalent of case law in the American legal system, Mobley continued. This is some of the information that can be found in the volumes at TU. Some books are written in Hebrew, but there also are many in English.
Two books, one by Professor Samuel Levine from Pepperdine University, the other, A Living Tree, by Rabbi Elliot Dorf are among the most used in the collection.
Response to the Lillie Goldstein collection has been well received, she said. The question often asked is why such volumes are made available to so many others.
There are 631 laws of the Torah, still a viable part of Jewish life, Mobley said. Many of these laws are recognized throughout the world even today.
For example, the GET law on Jewish divorce is recognized in New York.
Some consideration has been given to duplicating the current traveling library, she said, but that will be an expensive project.
Just handling the current loaned library is very labor intensive, Mobley said. Books must be carefully packed, and because they vary in size, cannot just be casually put into cartons.
But it is an honor to meet the law school mission to promote Jewish law, she said.

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