July 28, 2022

The BEST: Augustine’s Confessions

Asher Oser writes on Augustine’s “Confessions” for The BEST: When he wrote the “Confessions,” Augustine was a middle-aged man looking back on his younger years. I am now close to the age Augustine was when he began to write the “Confessions.” As I reflect on my choices, Augustine’s mature awareness of God’s providence in his past helps to move me in that direction. What he experienced at the time as his own choices are now refracted in light of God’s providence.
July 26, 2022

PODCAST: Rabbi Sacks’ Pluralism Reexamined

R. Jonathan Sacks was a frequent critic of the emergence of a post-truth culture and also a life-long opponent of moral relativism. Yet, in his book, “The Dignity of Difference,” he was an ardent proponent of a form of religious pluralism. When first published over 20 years ago his position was both attacked and misunderstood—giving rise to questions about how his Orthodoxy and his devotion to objective truth were able to sit alongside his advocacy for a form of religious pluralism. Sam Lebens and Erica Brown discuss these and related topics in the TRADITION Podcast.
July 24, 2022

A 17th-Century “Jewish” Medical Diploma

Jews have had a long and storied relationship with the practice of medicine throughout history, of which little physical evidence remains. The medical diploma is one of few tangible representations of this history. As the diploma often contained Christian references, Jewish students would sometimes be permitted to make alterations to remove them. Yet adding any specifically Jewish reference to a medical diploma was simply unheard of—until now. Edward Reichman presents an overlooked 1647 medical diploma of a Florentine Jew and explores a creative example of Jewish physicians applying the lens of Torah to their medical training and practice. 
July 21, 2022

The BEST: Eviatar Banai’s “Night as the Day Does Shine”

Marina Zilbergerts writes for The BEST on Eviatar Banai’s song “Night as the Day Does Shine”: “Banai has found a way to synthesize elements of his previous self with the new, and to bridge conflicting worlds into musical inspiration. Speaking directly to the essence of our age, Banai’s music pulls the aspiration to holiness and transcendence directly from the banal ups and downs of human experience.”