HUC-JIR Professor Publishes Translation of ‘The Laws of Evidence’

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rabbi Stephen M. Passamaneck, Professor Emeritus of Rabbinic Literature at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, has written a book translating The Laws of Evidence. Published in April by Deborah Charles Publications, it features Shulhan ‘Arukh Hoshen Mishpat, Hikhoth ‘Eduth, part of a larger digest of Jewish law and practice that dates back to the 16th Century.

First printed in Venice, the Shulhan ‘Arukh became the pre-eminent guidebook and resource for Jewish law in the 17th Century, beside the Babylonian Talmud. The four-volume set originally compiled by Rabbi Joseph Caro covers everything from daily and festival ritual to kashruth to marriage and divorce. The Laws of Evidence is concerned with civil, criminal, and commercial practices.

Rabbi Passsamaneck, who has translated other portions of Shulhan ‘Arukh and will enter his 50th year at HUC-JIR in 2013, said that it was a delight to work on the book. A scholar of Talmud and medieval Jewish legal material, he spent his early career writing on maritime and insurance law in Jewish sources. Since 1976, when he first affiliated with law enforcement agencies as a chaplain, he has written almost exclusively on law enforcement and administration of justice in Jewish sources.

Rabbi Passamaneck was trained and sworn as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff and served as a line Reserve for 11 years. He was elected President of the Jewish Law Association and has also been an officer of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. The 1994 recipient of the International Conference of Police Chaplains’ highest honor, the John A. Price Award for excellence in chaplaincy, Rabbi Passamaneck retired as a law enforcement chaplain in 2011. The Jewish Law Association dedicated a Festschrift to him in 2007.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu