Geoffrey Claussen publishes on Jewish perspectives on wealth and poverty
Claussen's paper titled “The Legacy of the Kelm School of Musar on Questions of Work, Wealth and Poverty,” appears in Wealth and Poverty in Jewish Tradition, ed. Leonard J. Greenspoon (Purdue University Press)
Geoffrey Claussen, Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies and an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Elon University, published a paper titled “The Legacy of the Kelm School of Musar on Questions of Work, Wealth and Poverty,” in Wealth and Poverty in Jewish Tradition, ed. Leonard J. Greenspoon (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2015). The volume emerged from papers presented at the 26th Annual Klutnizk-Harris Symposium in Omaha, Nebraska in 2013.
Claussen considers how a variety of contemporary Jews have drawn on the ideas of the Kelm school of the 19th century virtue-focused Musar movement in formulating visions of how the Jewish tradition should best respond to poverty. The article focuses on three contemporary perspectives: an ultra-Orthodox perspective that praises voluntary poverty and disdains commerce; an American rabbi and business consultant who has harnessed the ideas and practices of the Musar movement in offering a path to personal prosperity; and the development organization American Jewish World Service’s use of Musar movement models in its human-rights-focused anti-poverty work in India.