Fundamentals of Jewish Conflict Resolution: Traditional Jewish Perspectives on Resolving Interpersonal Conflicts

Fundamentals of Jewish Conflict Resolution: Traditional Jewish Perspectives on Resolving Interpersonal Conflicts

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Howard Kaminsky

Series: Studies in Orthodox Judaism
ISBN: 9781618115638 (hardcover) / 9781618118455 (paperback)
Pages: 609 pp. 
Publication Date: December 2017

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Fundamentals of Jewish Conflict Resolution offers an in-depth presentation of traditional Jewish approaches to interpersonal conflict resolution. It examines the underlying principles, prescriptive rules, and guidelines that are found in the Jewish tradition for the prevention, amelioration, and resolution of interpersonal conflicts, without the assistance of any type of third-party intermediary. Among the topics discussed are the obligations of pursuing peace and refraining from destructive conflict, Rabbinic perspectives on what constitutes constructive/destructive conflict, judging people favorably and countering negative judgmental biases, resolving conflict through dialogue, asking and granting forgiveness, and anger management. This work also includes detailed summaries of contemporary approaches to interpersonal conflict resolution, theories and research on apologies and forgiveness, and methods of anger management.

Howard Kaminsky is a research fellow at the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, and serves as a mediator for Community Mediation Services in Queens, NY. He has an EdD in religion and education from Teachers College, Columbia University and rabbinic ordination from Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem.

This is a comprehensive bibliographic collection and an encyclopedia in one book.
— Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba College, AJL Reviews
A superb study, informed by fastidious scholarship, of the key principles of conflict resolution in Jewish law and thought. I recommend it highly to all those seeking to bring peace to troubled relationships, within and beyond the Jewish community.
— Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
A stimulating, integrative book. Kaminsky draws insightful connections between traditional Judaic teachings around peace and conflict, and contemporary scholarship in the field of conflict resolution. By providing a side by side exploration of the core goals and concerns, practices and processes, patterns of thought, and approach to emotion that characterize each of these two domains, Kaminsky helps to illuminate constructive ways forward in the face of interpersonal conflict. Informed by Kaminsky’s own experience as both a Rabbi and a trained mediator, this book offers a unique survey of Jewish teachings, as well as thought provoking recommendations for those of us in the field of conflict resolution.
— Peter T. Coleman, Professor of Psychology and Education, Director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (MD-ICCCR) at Teachers College, Columbia University
Howard Kaminsky has made a monumental contribution to the emerging field of religion and conflict resolution. It is no small achievement to delve into the depth and breadth of a 3000-year-old tradition and emerge with a coherent and path-breaking account of Judaism’s contribution to conflict resolution. He has mastered the legal and non-legal literature and given it persuasive form as a plausible system of intervention in conflict. This will help pioneer a new and necessary field, and also a new approach to the practice of Jewish intervention in destructive conflict.
— Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, author of Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence and Peacemaking; James H. Laue Professor, Director CRDC, The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

Table of Contents


Part I—Introductory Essay

Chapter 1: Contemporary Conflict Resolution: An Overview of the Field and the Core Components of its Educational Programs

Part II—Foundational Values and Concepts
Chapter 2: Pursuing Peace and Refraining from Destructive Conflict
Chapter 3: Rabbinic Perspectives on Constructive Conflict: A “Dispute for the Sake of Heaven”

Part III—Foundational Commandments and Laws
Chapter 4: Basic Interpersonal Obligations and Prohibitions

Part IV—Basic Commandments and Laws of Interpersonal Conflict Resolution
Chapter 5: Judging People Favorably: Countering Negative Judgmental Biases
Chapter 6: Tokhahah: Judaism’s Basic Approach to Resolving Interpersonal Conflict through Dialogue
Chapter 7: Retaliation and Resentment: Not Taking Revenge and Not Bearing a Grudge
Chapter 8: Apologies: The Asking and Granting of Forgiveness

Part V—The Affective Component—Anger Management
Chapter 9: Jewish Anger Management