Mitzvot in the Real World

Halakhic Questions in a Classroom


  • 613 Mitzvot and the Sea of Talmud
  • What is Halakha and what role does it have in modern Judaism?
  • Recent questions on Jewish law
  • Assignment: Sources of Mitzvot
  • Mezuzah and Public Displays of Jewishness
  • Jewish dietary laws and modern food technology
  • Israel and the Diaspora Jew
  • What is a Jew?
  • Assignment: Identifying through Mitzvot
  • Gambling
  • Tattoos & Body Piercings
  • Smoking & Deliberate Health Risks
  • Assignment: Jewish Recovery Programs
  • ‘Gun Control,’ ‘Every Jew a .22’… How should Jews defend themselves?
  • Embarrassment and Lason Hara
  • Digital Jewish space: Building a Kehillah online
  • Placing a stumbling block before the blind
  • Redeeming captives & responses to human trafficking
  • Assignment: Love your neighbor as yourself
  • Leket, Peah and land ownership
  • Did Ben-Gurion chop down his fathers’ olive trees: stewardship and progress
  • Assignment: Greening our community Jewishly


  • Explore the Sea of Talmud
  • Develop logical reasoning skills
  • Debate with peers
  • Navigate Jewish legal resources online
  • Apply study of Mitzvot to contemporary news


  • Meets weekly via webcam
  • Students debate applications of mitzvot via peer-to-peer discussion forums
  • Reading assignments to prepare for class (approximately 20 minutes/week)
  • Ages 13-16
Rudy Stoler

Instructor: Rudy Stoler

History: This course has been taught for years at Beth Shalom Congregation in Columbia, Maryland. The halakhic perspective for this course relies heavily on traditional sources (Talmud, Mishneh Torah, Shulchan Arukh, etc.) as well as responsa from the institutions and leaders of Modern Orthodox and Masorti Judaism.