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Jews and the Death Penalty

Down on his luck, Barak faces one political blow after another

Many people assume that Jewish law unequivocally advocates capital punishment, because of frequent references to capital crimes and capital punishment in the Torah. But while Jewish law supports the death penalty in theory, the Oral Law makes it difficult, and in most cases impossible, to execute someone for murder, says Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of the Jewish Studies Institute of Yeshiva of Los Angeles and the chair of Jewish law and ethics at Loyola Law School.

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