Mark E. Washofsky
Dr. Mark E. Washofsky Ph.D. is the Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Jewish Law and Practice at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati. Dr. Washofsky has been a member of the HUC-JIR faculty since 1985, most recently serving as Professor of Rabbinics, and specializes in the literature of the Talmud and Jewish law. He received his rabbinical ordination (1980) and Ph.D. (1987) from HUC-JIR. He succeeds his teacher and mentor, Dr. Ben Zion Wacholder, as holder of the Freehof Chair on July 1, 2006.
Dr. Washofsky chairs the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American rabbis, which was founded in 1906 by Kaufmann Kohler and empowered by its most prolific writer, Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof. His extensive publications include Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice, Revised edition (URJ Press, 2010), Reform Responsa for the Twenty-First Century (CCAR, 2010), and essays and articles on medieval halakhic literature, the application of legal theory to the study of Jewish law, Jewish bioethics, outreach and conversion, among others.
The Solomon B. Freehof Professorship of Jewish Law and Practice was established in honor of Dr. Solomon B. Freehof by The Allen H. and Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust.
- Ordained, HUC-JIR (1980)
- Ph.D., HUC-JIR (1987)
- The Talmud, The Halakhah, and Reform Judaism
- Cloning and Human Stem Cell Research: Some Jewish Perspectives
- The Responsa Literature: How Jewish Law Responds to the Challenges of Every Age
- Reform Responsa for the Twenty-First Century: Sh'eilot Ut'shuvot. New York: CCAR Press, 2010
- Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice. Revised Edition. New York: URJ Press, 2010
- (with W. Gunther Plaut). Teshuvot for the Nineties: Recent American Reform Responsa. New York: CCAR Press, 1997
- "The Woodchopper Revisited: On Analogy, Halakhah, and Jewish Bioethics," in Walter Jacob, ed., Medical Frontiers and Jewish Law (Pittsburgh: Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, 2012), pp. 1-62.
- "Torture, Terrorism, and the Halakhah," in Walter Jacob, ed., War and Terrorism in Jewish Law. Pittsburgh: Solomon B. Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, 2010, 13-50.
- "Faith and Fertility in Reform Jewish Thought," in Eric Blyth and Ruth Landau, editors, Faith and Fertility: Attitudes Towards Reproductive Practices in Different Religions from Ancient to Modern Times. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009, 225-245.
- "Narratives of Enlightenment: On the Use of the 'Captive Infant' Story by Recent Halakhic Authorities," in Walter Jacob, ed., Napoleon's Influence on Jewish Law (Pittsburgh: Rodef Shalom Press, 2007), 93-147.
- "On the Absence of Method in Jewish Bioethics: Rabbi Yehezkel Landau on Autopsy,"in Alyssa Gray and Bernard Jackson, eds., Jewish Law Association Studies XVII (2007), 254-278.
- "Halachah, Aggadah, and Reform Jewish Bioethics: A Response," CCAR Journal 53:3 (Summer, 2006), 81-106.
- (With Harvey Gordon). "Jewish Bioethics," in John F. Peppin, Mark J. Cherry, and Ana Iltis, eds., The Annals of Bioethics:
Religious Perspectives in Bioethics. (Leiden, Netherlands: Taylor and Francis, 2004), 131-146.
- "Against Method: Liberal Halakhah Between Theory and Practice" in Walter Jacob, ed., Beyond the Letter of the Law: Essays
on Diversity in the Halakhah. Pittsburgh:Rodef Shalom Press, 2004, 17-77.
- "You Shall Love the Ger: On 'Outreach' and the Halakhah," CCAR Journal (forthcoming).
- "Taking Precedent Seriously: On Halakhah as a Rhetorical Practice," in Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, eds., Re-Examining
Reform Halakhah (New York: Berghahn Books, 2002), 1-70.
- "Halakhah in Translation: The Chatam Sofer on Prayer in the Vernacular," CCAR Journal 51:3 (Summer, 2004),
- "Responsa and the Art of Writing: Three Examples from the Teshuvot of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein," in Peter S. Knobel and Mark
N. Staitman, eds., An American Rabbinate: A Festschrift for Walter Jacob. Pittsburgh: Rodef Shalom Press, 2001, 149-204.
- "Conversion to Judaism: The Question of Motivation," in Stephen J. Einstein and Lydia Kukoff, eds., Introduction to Judaism:
Instructor's Guide and Curriculum. New York: UAHC Press, 1999, 88-105 and 156.
- "Is Old Age a Disease? The Elderly, the Medical System, and the Halakhah," in Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, eds. Age
and Aging in the Halakhah, Tel Aviv and Pittsburgh, Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, 1998, pp. 43-82.
- "Abortion and the Halakhic Conversation: A Liberal Perspective," in Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, eds., The Fetus and
Fertility in Jewish Law. Tel Aviv and Pittsburgh, Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, 1995, pp. 39-89.
- "Reinforcing our Jewish Identity: Issues of Personal Status," CCAR Yearbook 104 (1994), pp. 51-57.
- "Responsa and Rhetoric: On Law, Literature, and the Rabbinic Decision," Pursuing the Text: Studies in Honor of Ben Zion
Wacholder, London, Sheffield Press, 1994, pp. 360-409.
- "Halakhah and Ulterior Motives: Rabbinic Discretion and the Law of Conversion", in Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, eds.,
Conversion to Judaism in Jewish Law, Tel Aviv and Pittsburgh, Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, 1994, pp. 1-47.
- "Medieval Halakhic Literature and the Reform Rabbi: A Neglected Relationship," CCAR Journal, Fall 1993, pp. 61-74.
- "Minhag and Halakhah: Toward a Model of Shared Authority on Matters of Ritual", in Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, eds.,
Rabbinic-Lay Relations in Jewish Law, Tel Aviv and Pittsburgh, Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, 1993, pp. 99-126.
- "The Proposal for a National Beit Din: Is It Good for the Jews?", in Michael Shapiro, ed., Divisions Between Traditionalism
and Liberalism in the American Jewish Community, Lewiston, NY, The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991, pp. 35-54.
- "The Study of Talmud and Halacha: A Survey of Some Recent Scholarship", Journal of Reform Judaism, Spring, 1991, pp. 1-16.
- "The Search for a Liberal Halakhah: A Progress Report", in Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, eds., Dynamic Jewish Law, Tel
Aviv and Pittsburgh, Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, 1991, pp. 25-52.
- "Morality and Choice: A Response to Daniel Callahan", in Barry S. Kogan, ed., A Time to Be Born and A Time to Die: The Ethics
of Choice, New York, Aldine de Gruyter, 1991, pp. 73-82.
- "Nancy Cruzan and the `Right to Die': A Jewish Perspective," Midwest Medical Ethics, Fall, 1990, pp. 5-10.
- "R. Nissim b. Reuben Gerondi and the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides," Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish
Studies, Hebrew section, Jerusalem, 1990, Division C, v. 1, pp. 187-194.
- "The Commentary of R. Nissim b. Reuben Gerondi to the Halakhot of Alfasi: A Study in Halakhic History," Hebrew Union College
Annual, v. 60, 1989, pp. 191-258.
- "Halakhah and Political Theory: A Study in Jewish Legal Response to Modernity," Modern Judaism, October, 1989, pp.
- "AIDS and Ethical Responsibility: Some Halakhic Considerations," Journal of Reform Judaism, Winter, 1989, pp. 53-65.
- "A Fitting Response: A Jewish Perspective" (on discontinuation of heroic therapy in terminal cases), in Second Opinion,
published by The Park Ridge Center, An Institute for the Study of Health, Faith and Ethics, v. 7, March 1988, pp. 34-39.
- "R. Asher b. Yehiel and the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides," in David R. Blumenthal, ed., Approaches to Judaism in Medieval Times
III, Atlanta, Scholars Press, 1988, pp. 147-157.
- (with Howard L. Apothaker) "Patrilineality and Presumption," Journal of Reform Judaism, Summer, 1984.
- "The Recalcitrant Husband: The Problem of Definition," Jewish Law Annual, v. 4, Leiden, Brill, 1981.
- "Abortion, Halacha, and Reform Judaism," Journal of Reform Judaism, Fall, 1981