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“Synagogue Scholars” Lecture Examines the Ten Commandments and American Law

Do the Ten Commandments provide the moral underpinning of American law?

Legal scholar Dr. Paul Finkelman will address that question and others as B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany resumes its popular “Synagogue Scholars” lecture series.

            Finkelman will deliver his talk, “The Ten Commandments: Are They the Moral Foundation of American Law?” during the congregation’s Shabbat service Friday, November 22. The service and program begin at 8 p.m. and are open to all who wish to worship and learn. B’nai Sholom is located at 420 Whitehall Road, Albany.

                A B’nai Sholom congregant, Finkelman is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy and senior fellow in the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. Finkelman is an expert in constitutional history and constitutional law, freedom of religion, the law of slavery, civil liberties and the American Civil War, and legal issues surrounding baseball. He provided the chief expert testimony in the Alabama Ten Commandments monument case. The author or editor of more than 25 books and 150 scholarly articles, his op-eds and shorter pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and Huffington Post, and he has been named among the nation’s most cited legal historians. He has appeared on C-SPAN, PBS and the History Channel. Finkelman holds a doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Chicago and was a fellow in law and humanities at Harvard Law School.

Begun in 2004, the “Synagogue Scholars” lecture series spotlights B’nai Sholom congregants who are recognized scholars in their fields. Remaining scheduled lectures are:

• Friday, January 24 – University at Albany professor Martha Rozett will discuss Nemesis by Philip Roth, a powerful short novel by perhaps the preeminent Jewish writer of our time;

 • Friday, February 21 – A presentation by Peter Golden, award-winning journalist and author of O Powerful Western Star, a history of the Cold War, and five other books.

 For more information about the “Synagogue Scholars” series, contact the B’nai Sholom office at or phone 518-482-5283.


Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region. Nearly 160 diverse households from six counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom.

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