Yakov Nagen discusses his recent TRADITION essay, “Sharing Torah with the World: The Jewish People’s Responsibility to Non-Jews,” arguing that teaching Torah to non-Jews is the most effective way to fulfill our Jewish spiritual mission. This is a provocative thesis, since it must account for longstanding contrary attitudes and approaches, and must justify the endeavor in the face of readings of tradition and halakha which (at best) looks at such activity with suspicion, or (at worst) outright forbids it. Listen to the newest episode of the TRADITION Podcast…
Chaim Strauchler initiates the Tradition Questions Project with a reflection on the physical dimensions of Torah scrolls. They’re getting smaller. He suggests that this may be a problem: This change, while facilitating admirable popular contact with Torah scrolls, is not without halakhic problems. For our purposes it opens an array of questions, including: Who counts as an “important person”? Can such an idea persist in contemporary society? How does this trend relate to privatization of what were once communal objects (and norms)?
Rav Yehudah Leon Ashkenazi (1922-1996), known by his nickname “Manitou,” may be among the most interesting figures in 20th-century Jewish thought largely unknown to American and English-speaking Jewry. In reviewing Pinchas Polonsky’s “Bible Dynamics” series, Eliezer Levine introduces us to the first successful attempt to rectify that situation.
This week, we launch a new digital feature, TRADITION Questions. Associate Editor Chaim Strauchler introduces the column: “We hope that TRADITION Questions will gather thoughtful reflection on contemporary social phenomena within our Jewish communities with a spirit of curious introspection. These questions will spark conversations among our readers and within those communities about failures and successes, risks and opportunities.”