Ethical Dilemmas: The Right Answer, or the Right Answer for Me?

Winter, 2016

Source: Jewish Educational Leadership 15:1


The use of ethical dilemmas is a wonderful way to engage students with the rich nature of Jewish texts but of equal importance is the way they can be used to challenge them to develop critical thinking and the ability to defend a position which is reflective of their own values. There are many creative ways to present the dilemmas, many of them are presented in popular culture and then used as a platform to develop arguments for and against. Some of the potential topics that could be taught in the context of an ethical dilemmas class include: abortion, capital punishment, organ donation, allocation of scarce resources, etc. – the list is almost inexhaustible. Below I describe some sample core questions, issues and sources related to the topic of triage.

The ideas presented in this article return to a central theme, namely providing students with the tools to decide for themselves the best outcomes in difficult situations. These tools can and will be used both in (hopefully) theoretical settings such as some of those presented in the suggested movies and clips and also in more practical cases like some of the examples presented as well. It is of course entirely possible that due to a number of factors, students’ behavior may ultimately not reflect their own set of developed principles, but by being given these tools they are also able to assess their behaviors in the context of their own judgement. In order to develop a holistic education for children and to ensure that they are equipped for the challenges of the world ahead, it is incumbent upon educators to allow students to explore ideas and sources and not just to tell them the “right thing to do is…” but rather “what do you think the right thing to do is, and why?”

Read the entire article at Jewish Education Leadership.

Updated: Mar. 07, 2017