Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law Establishes New Chair in Jewish Law

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law Establishes New Chair in Jewish Law

Mark C. Alexander, The Arthur J. Kania Dean of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, announced the establishment of a new Chair in Jewish Law, and named Chaim Saiman, Professor of Law, as the first holder of the new position. The three-year term began August 1.

“Villanova is deeply committed to examining the intersection of law and religion, and how law and faith influence a variety of traditions and perspectives,” said Dean Alexander. “Chaim is a preeminent scholar on Jewish Law and has significantly contributed to the field and to our understanding at Villanova. He is an outstanding member of our faculty and community.”

As Chair, Saiman will engage in scholarly pursuits related to Jewish Law, in the greater context of a Law School which regularly explores issues surrounding law and religion. In addition to working on traditional articles, white papers and conference engagements, he will look at the holistic aspects of faculty life, teaching, scholarship and service, and how engaging deeply in all three synergistically enhances the individual faculty member, as well as the institution overall.

“I am humbled and grateful for this honor,” said Saiman. “While many universities maintain chairs or programs devoted to Judaism, few are located in law schools. Judaism frames many of its core ideas in legal terms and studying Judaism from within a legal context can illuminate ongoing national and global conversation on these matters.”

A scholar of Jewish law, insurance law and private law, Saiman joined the Villanova Law faculty in 2006, and teaches Contracts, Insurance Law, Insurance Coverage Disputes, Jewish Law, and Legislation. In 2018, he published Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law, which explores how rabbis examined the Talmud and used it to frame philosophy and discussions in a legal way. Saiman was the Gruss Visiting Professor of Talmudic Law at both Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, as well as a visiting fellow at Princeton University and a visiting professor at the University of Toronto, Bar-Ilan University and Hebrew University. Saiman has also served as a rabbinical court arbitrator (dayan) on the Beth Din of America, and as an expert witness in insurance law and Jewish law in federal court.

Prior to joining Villanova Law, Saiman was an Olin Fellow at Harvard Law School, a Golieb Fellow at NYU Law School, a law clerk to the Hon. Michael McConnell on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and he also worked as a corporate associate with Cleary Gottlieb in New York City.

Saiman received his BS from Georgia State University and his JD from Columbia University School of Law. He also studied at Yeshivat Har-Etzion (Gush) and Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel.

About Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law: Founded in 1953, the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law provides broad-based legal education that is grounded in academic rigor, practical hands-on training and a foundation in business that prepares graduates for diverse and rewarding legal careers. The Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association, offers six in-house clinics and more than 150 externship opportunities that immerse students in the real-world application of their legal skills. Villanova is home to Centers of Excellence—the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy; the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance, the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship; and the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law—which provide students the opportunity to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary legal fields through study, practical experience and mentorship.