Death Penalty

Why Reform Judaism Opposes the Death Penalty

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
The Bible prescribes the death penalty for at least 36 transgressions, from intentional murder to cursing one’s parents, but the practice essentially ended when the rabbinic sages of the Talmud imposed preconditions and evidence requirements so rigorous as to make capital punishment a rarity. Jewish tradition essentially follows the position of Rabbis Tarfon and Akiba: never to impose capital punishment (Mishna Makkot 1:10).

Gone But Not Forgotten

September 21, 2012
It is with solemness that we mark the first anniversary of Troy Davis’s execution. Davis was convicted for the murder of Savannah, GA police officer Mark MacPhail, and his execution was the subject of much controversy a year ago. Of the nine witnesses who...