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date: 23 October 2020

(p. xxi) Acknowledgments

(p. xxi) Acknowledgments

The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics is the brainchild of Dr. Michael Szenberg, Coeditor of the Oxford University Press Handbook Series on Economics. Because economic theory in the Talmud is one of his many research interests, Dr. Szenberg proved extremely helpful from the outset in the design of this project. My profound gratitude goes to Dr. Szenberg for his prudent advice on the editorial issues that came up over the project; most of all, however, I am grateful for his enthusiastic encouragement throughout the project.

Putting together The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics was a prodigious undertaking. Without very significant assistance, the project would have been beyond reach. I have many to thank.

First, my thanks to my friend Leon M. Metzger. Professor Metzger’s expertise in finance and economic issues, his extensive experience as an arbitrator in Jewish courts, and his superior editorial skills were great assets for this project. As associate editor, Professor Metzger put his mark on this volume.

The editorial assistants for this volume, with the exception of shaul Moshe seidler-feller, are all former students of mine at Yeshiva College. Their common denominator is a very strong background in economics and Jewish studies. In scholarship, character, and dedication to the task at hand, this group is representative of Yeshiva College at its best.

David Sidney, chief editorial assistant, has been engaged in this project from its inception. David’s primary responsibility was editing and helping in the making of the Glossary. What he actually did was much more. For a number of the chapters, David had penetrating questions and incisive comments for the authors. David’s work has brought a number of the ideas presented in this volume to a higher level of precision and organization.

Nathan Hyman assisted in the colossal tasks of copyediting and compiling the indices of this volume. He went considerably beyond these parameters by providing a number of the contributors with suggested improvements in both language and content. When the going got tough, Nathan’s alacrity and effusive enthusiasm for the project gave me a much-needed lift.

Daniel Tabak’s task was to ensure that the transliterations were put in uniform style. Daniel did much more. He carefully read a number of the chapters and presented the contributors with challenges and calls for clarification.

Shaul Moshe Seidler-Feller was officially involved with transliterations, ensuring uniformity in the presentation of authorities and in sundry stylistic matters. In many ways, Shaul went the “extra mile.” He not only completed the task (p. xxii) with extradinary speed, but also proved a wizard in spotting missing information and subtle inconsistencies.

Kudos to Uri Westrich for his very capable and meticulous assistance in the preparation of the indices for this book.

A special thanks to my daughter, Aliza, for her editorial suggestions in respect to my own work in this volume. Special thanks also to my son Efraim for his technical assistance.

My thanks to Rabbi Shalom Carmy, Dr. Ephraim Kleiman, Rabbi Dr. Shnayer Z. Leiman and Dr. David Srolovitz for their comments and or advice.

For the past thirty-seven years, I have been employed as a Professor of Economics at Yeshiva University. My profound appreciation to Mr. Richard M. Joel, President of Yeshiva University, for his tireless efforts to create a hospitable environment for scholarship and intellectual growth.

The bulk of the contributions for this volume is aimed at offering direction and even outright prescriptions for marketplace conduct and public policy. These works therefore loosely fall into the branch of Jewish scholarship that is concerned with the application of Jewish law to modern society, popularly called Mishpat Ivri—lit. Jewish/Hebrew jurisprudence. The distinctive contribution of the Mishpat Ivri chapters of this volume is that economic theory and economic analysis are applied to Jewish law as it relates to modern business practice and public policy. The participation in this volume of scholars of international repute is eloquent testimony that this field and related fields are vibrant academic research areas.

Thirty-seven years ago, when I first began my research into the interface of economics and Jewish law, the application of Jewish law to modern society through the lens of economic analysis and economic theory was a relatively virgin area of research, with few practitioners.1 My gratitude therefore only increases over time to Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, former President and now Chancellor of Yeshiva University and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva’s affiliate, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), who encouraged my work greatly in those early years. Over the span of twenty years from 1980 to 2000, I published four books in Rabbi Lamm’s series, The Jewish Library of Law and Ethics.

My debt of gratitude to the Provost of Yeshiva University, Dr. Morton Lowengrub, for the stipend he arranged for the initial stage of this project.

The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics has benefited greatly from the professionalism of the Oxford University Press staff. My gratitude to the people who have shepherded (p. xxiii) this project through the publication process: Executive Editor, Terry Vaughn, Associate Editor, Joe Jackson, Lisa Stallings, Academic Team Leader, and Copy Editor Susan Dodson.

Aaron Levine

Samson and Halina Bitensky

Professor of Economics

Yeshiva University

New York, April 23, 2010 (p. xxiv)


(1) In this early period researchers in the field of Economics and the Talmud included Robert Aumann, Barry Gordon, Zvi Ilani, Ephraim Kleiman, Yehoshua Liebermann, Roman A. Ohrenstein, Jacob Rosenberg, Aharon Shapiro, and Meir Tamari.