Jewish Collective Rights: An International Comparison


Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs




For residence at Northeastern University, Humanities Center


This project is about the persistence of collective rights in the modern world and proposes to rethink the trajectory of comparative legal history as it relates to religion and state development. I focus on Jewish collective rights, historically and to the present, as a way to explore how states and religious communities negotiate the conflicting rights of religious groups and individual citizens. Religious autonomy, religion in public space, education, family law, and public health are all issues that have become battlegrounds over how to apply concepts such as tolerance and freedom of conscience. The study considers cases in Europe, North America, Israel, and elsewhere that Jewish collective and individual rights have been at odds, and how different legal systems have resolved or managed them.

Jewish Collective Rights looks at issues with great current public interest, including the meaning of religious freedom and the question of how to regulate religious autonomy in democratic states. Over the course of the fellowship year, I will engage journalists and members of the public seeking to understand the current fault lines in religious conflict not only around the world but in American courts as well.