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Constitutional Concerns: From Hanukkah Lights to Reproductive Rights

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Sunday, December 4, 2022
9:30 am - 12:15 pm ET
Online and in-person

Main Line Reform Temple 
410 Montgomery Ave, Wynnewood, PA 19096

2 substantive credits
*All courses are free for MLRT members seeking CLE credits.
Nonmembers seeking CLE credits must pay $36/substantive credit hour.
Includes breakfast.
All online CLE participants must keep cameras on.

Join us as we offer two CLE courses on fascinating and timely constitutional topics:

9:30 am - 10:30 am
Chabad Menorahs and the American Public Square
Dr. Zev Eleff
In the 1970s, Americans of all types noticed the appearance of "Chabad Menorahs" in public spaces throughout the United States. The Jewish Hasidic (sometimes called Lubavitch) group had launched a campaign to furnish and mount large, multipronged candelabras to increase awareness of the Hanukkah festival during America's busy wintertime holiday season. While the Christian Right supported the placement of Christmas trees in the public square and welcomed the Jewish contribution to its cause, liberal leaders associated with the American Civil Liberties Union and most Jewish groups opposed Chabad’s seasonal initiative. They argued that Menorahs were a religious item and therefore violated the “Establishment Clause” canonized in the First Amendment. Moreover, Jewish groups explained that Chabad had threatened the very tenet of American life that had made the Jewish experience in the United States so “exceptional,” compared to life in Europe—namely, Church-State separation. Ensuing legal battles in the 1980s raised the matter to the Supreme Court. All told, the episode shines a light on the dynamics of American Jewish life and how its various stakeholders found partners and parallels to influence the wider American faith community.   

10:30 am - 11:00 am
Bagel Break

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Dobbs and Beyond
Mitchell Berman

Professor Berman will discuss the Supreme Court’s decision this past summer in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which a 6-3 majority overruled Roe v. Wade to hold that the Constitution does not protect a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.  Berman will critically assess the Court’s reasoning in Dobbs and explore what the decision augurs for the future both of legal abortion in this country and of the jurisprudence regarding unenumerated constitutional rights, including the right to same-sex marriage.

Mitchell Berman is the Leon Meltzer Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, where he serves as Co-Director of the Institute for Law & Philosophy.  He also holds appointments as Professor of Philosophy and as Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, at the Wharton School of Business.  The winner of multiple teaching awards, Berman writes in American constitutional law and theory, general jurisprudence, criminal law theory, and the philosophy of sport.  He lives in Philadelphia’s western suburbs with his wife, their teenage daughter, two rescue dogs and a cat, and, occasionally, two college-aged sons.

More information: Mindy Cohen, 215-635-7300 x155, or

register here

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