Addressing the many challenges facing the contemporary Orthodox rabbinate, time and again R. Norman Lamm returned to the foundational, sometimes conflicting, dual obligations of Ahavat ha-Torah and Ahavat Yisrael. The primary challenge is to produce a self-confident, strong Rabbinate that will empower its members to fulfill their complex calling, while meeting the challenge to balance the unrelenting truth of Torah, with hesed – loving-kindness toward all Jews. Benjamin J. Samuels explores R. Lamm’s vision of the rabbinate, its challenges and opportunities, in his contribution to the “Rabbi Lamm Memorial Volume” (open access).
Dalya Koller writes on Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”: Being pulled in multiple directions and towards multiple homelands — what it feels like to have one leg in multiple countries at once — this theme of a dual homeland is an integral and historical aspect of the experience of a diaspora Jew. “Blue” teaches that this feeling of duality isn’t exclusive to Jews.
In “The Rebellion of the Daughters” historian Rachel Manekin performs a brilliant work of detection, revealing to her readers the inner lives of young Jewish women in pre-World War I Habsburg Galicia who left their traditional Orthodox homes for life in the Catholic Church. In this episode of the podcast we bring together Manekin and Beverly Gribetz, who recently reviewed the book in TRADITION. Together they discuss the book, the world it explores, and its meaning contemporary Jewish life and education.
TRADITION’s esteemed editor emeritus, Shalom Carmy, joins our ongoing conversation about the state of humanities, considering ways that religious life benefits from studying secular liberal arts. If the humanities are not flourishing in the gilded enclaves of Orthodoxy, it is not only financial motives at play: “I fear that the Orthodox community, like the secular world it too often resembles, avoids serious engagement with the humanities, for other reasons. The heavy hand of social conformity robs individuals of solitude and independence. And one salient marker of that conformism is a profound unease and distaste for individual or communal self-examination and soul-searching engendered by the encounter with a great humanities education.”