HUC-UC Ethics Center Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems

Established in 1986, the Hebrew Union College-University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems (HUC-UC Ethics Center) is dedicated to the study of contemporary moral problems on the basis of values that are at the heart of Judeo-Christian and secular ethical traditions. It provides a forum for open discussion and reflection on important moral dilemmas that arise in modern life, and promotes the incorporation of ethical values in personal life, professional practice, and community development.

The HUC-UC Ethics Center was founded to serve the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and University of Cincinnati (UC) communities. Its core mission focuses particularly on the professional schools (UC College of Law, UC College of Medicine, and UC College of Nursing) and the graduate programs of both institutions of higher education.

The Ethics Team
Grant to the HUC-UC Ethics Center
Board of Directors
With Gratitude
The Ethics Team

Jonathan Cohen - Director
Associate Professor of Talmud and Post-Talmudic Halachic Literature; Director, HUC-UC Ethics Center; Director, The Starkoff Institute of Ethics

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, an Israeli-born scholar, was appointed Assistant Professor in Talmud and Halachic Literature at HUC-JIR, Cincinnati, in July 1998, and Director of the Hebrew Union College-University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems in January 2001. In November 2003, he was awarded the Rabbi Michael Matuson Professorship for Emerging Scholars, he was named Affiliate Member of the Laboratoire Des etudes sur les Monotheismes of the French CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) in August 2005 and he was promoted to Associate Professor of Post-Talmudic Halachic Literature in July 2006. Dr. Jonathan Cohen sits on the Ethics Committee at the Jewish Hospital of Greater Cincinnati, he is a Board member and co-founder of the Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics and a member of the Jewish Law Association and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

Dr. Jonathan Cohen's interests include history of law, law and religion, and, in particular, the evolution of Jewish law in Christian Europe. He read law at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and earned his Ph.D. (Law) from the University of Liverpool. His research focused on the evolution of restitution as a civil remedy in medieval Jewish law. At the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, he was the first David Patterson Junior Fellow in Jewish Law. Dr. Jonathan Cohen has written on the status of married women in Jewish households, on the evolution of Jewish welfare law, modern Jewish commercial law, on rabbinic perceptions of Jewish solidarity, and on Jewish law (halachah) and modernity.

Under Dr. Jonathan Cohen's leadership, the Hebrew Union College-University of Cincinnati (HUC-UC) Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems has provided continuing education programs for professionals, as well as public lectures, panel discussions, conferences and symposia. He coordinates an M.A. and Ph.D. program that focuses on Jewish Law and Ethics and teaches joint comparative law courses offered to HUC-JIR and UC College of Law students.

Learning, Writing, and the Law: A Methodological Introduction to the Study of Medieval Responsa, forthcoming.

"Personal Identity and Communal Interest: Samson's Suicide in Rabbinic Rulings", forthcoming.

Editor, Studies in Jewish Commercial Law, The Jewish Law Association, Binghamton, New York, forthcoming (2005).

"The Standard of Holiness in Jewish Law", The Solomon B. Freehof Institute for Progressive Halakhah, forthcoming (2005).

"Survey of Halakhic Issues: Modern Judaism", Modern Judaism: An Oxford Guide, Oxford University Press, forthcoming (2005).

"Charitable Contributions, Communal Welfare Organizations, and Allegiance to the Community According to Rashba", Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 72, 2002, pp 85-100.

Carri Wasserberg - Assistant to the Director
Carri Wasserberg joined the Ethics Center in December 2007. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before moving to Israel for a year and a half where she completed the graduate studies program at the WUJS Institute-Arad and worked for Celebros LTD. Upon her return to the States, she worked in synagogues in Milwaukee and Chicago. Carri moved to Cincinnati with her family in 2006. Before joining HUC-UC Ethics Center, Carri worked at Isaac M. Wise Temple. At the HUC-UC Ethics Center Mrs. Wasserberg coordinates programs and oversees events, manages the Ethic Center office and writes grants.


Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics (ACJB)
The Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics was co-founded by HUC -UC Ethics Center in collaboration with Kalsman Institute, HUC-JIR; Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania; Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; University of Judaism; the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary; and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel to explore new expressions of Jewish healthcare ethics. The Coalition advocates the development of a variety of methodologies that bring clarity and authenticity to difficult life choices. The ACJB seeks to broaden and deepen bioethical conversation in Jewish life and to create models of cooperation across the spectrum of Jewish practice.
For more information please contact: or see the ACJB website.

Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE)
The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics was founded in 1991 with support from Indiana University and Lilly Endowment to create an organization encouraging interaction among various institutions from businesses to academic schools to not-for-profits, which are dedicated to communication and joint projects in the area of practical and professional ethics. APPE supports publication and interdisciplinary research and the study and teaching of practical and professional ethics.
For more information see APPE's website.

A Brief History of Hebrew Union College - University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems

HUC-UC Ethics Center was founded in 1986 as a joint project of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and the University of Cincinnati (UC) as a national resource center for the exploration of critical ethical and moral issues, focusing on their dimensions in law, medicine, religion, and other professional as well as non-professional areas.

Professor of Jewish Philosophy Rabbi Barry Kogan, Ph.D., was its first director from 1988-1996. During his administration, HUC-UC Ethics Center's activities included national conferences, lectures and symposia, numerous academic publications, as well as courses taught by visiting faculty and faculty from both founding academic institutions. During his tenure, HUC-UC Ethics Center addressed issues such as the AIDS crisis, public education, corporate ethics, and the changing role of the family in society.

Since 2000, director Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., has led the HUC-UC Ethics Center. Under his leadership, the HUC-UC Ethics Center has provided continuing education programs for professionals, as well as public lectures, panel discussions, conferences, and symposia. It now offers the only graduate level program in comparative law and applied ethics in the United States.

Over the years, our governing board has drawn from faculty and administration from HUC-JIR and UC, as well as representatives from business, government, various professions, and the community. Several members of the Board of Directors have served since HUC-UC Ethics Center's inception.

HUC-JIR was founded in Cincinnati in 1875. It is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR prepares rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals at its four campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. In addition to training professional leadership to serve the Jewish community, HUC-JIR's School of Graduate Studies offers graduate and postgraduate degree programs to scholars of all faiths. With its four centers of learning HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise renowned library, archive, and museum collections, biblical archaeology excavations, and academic publications. Today, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is an international seminary and university of graduate studies offering a wide variety of academic and professional programs. In addition to its Rabbinical School and School of Graduate Studies, HUC-JIR includes Schools of Education, Jewish Communal Service, Sacred Music, and Biblical Archaeology.

The University of Cincinnati is a public institution of learning and research. Its distinguished faculty is known worldwide for its excellence in teaching, creativity, and research. In support of this mission, the University of Cincinnati strives to provide the highest quality learning environment, world-renowned scholarship, innovation and community service, and to serve as a place where freedom of intellectual interchange flourishes. The University of Cincinnati offers many pathways for success by providing a balance of educational excellence and real-world experience. Within a dynamic community, the university nurtures rich cultural experiences and the intellectual exchange of ideas.

Since its founding in 1819, UC has been the source of many discoveries creating positive change for society, including co-op education, the oral polio vaccine, the first electronic organ, the first safe anti-knock gasoline, and the first antihistamine. Each year, this public, comprehensive university graduates 5,000 students, adding to more than 200,000 living alumni around the world. UC is the largest employer in the Cincinnati region, with an economic impact of more than $3 billion.

Grant to the HUC-UC Ethics Center

The HUC-UC Ethics Center was awarded a grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) in 2004 to increase the HUC-UC Ethics Center's programming capability by strengthening fundraising and grant writing efforts.

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation is a charitable organization that builds and preserves endowment funds, identifies opportunities to enhance the quality of community life, and responds with grants addressing six key areas: arts and culture, community progress, education, the environment, health, and human services. Formed in 1963, GCF provides philanthropic leadership to eight counties in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana region.

Board of Directors

James B. Reynolds-Chairman
William A. Friedlander Bartlett & Co.

William R. Burleigh
The E. W. Scripps Company

Thomas G. Cody
Federated Department Stores

Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D.
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Rabbi Kenneth E. Ehrlich
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D.
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Robert Faaborg, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati

William A. Friedlander
Bartlett & Co.

Richard E. Friedman
University of Cincinnati

Robin E. Harvey
Baker & Hostetler, LLP

Manuel D. Mayerson
The Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation

Neal Mayerson, Ph.D.
The Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation

The Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Ph.D.
Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Donald J. Stone
The Donald J. Stone Lecture Fellowship

Harris K. Weston
Dinsmore and Shohl

Nancy L. Zimpher, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati