Postmodernism, deconstruction, and midrashic readings help us make sense of the enigmatic tale of the Tower of Babel – read in synagogues this Shabbat. Miriam Feldmann Kaye marshals the thought of Jacques Derrida and Jonathan Sacks to construct meaning out of the confusion wrought through the bilbul at Bavel.
How are we meant to read the biblical Flood story? History or metaphor? This question was explored in numerous essays in the pages of TRADITION and reader responses over the course of a decade by Shubert Spero, David Shatz, and Joel Wolowelsky. Revisit and reconsider those articles as we prepare to read of the Flood again this Shabbat.
Anyone who wishes to better understand the trajectory of American religious history and the origins of today’s contested religio-political order would find it helpful to begin with Mark A. Noll’s new volume, “America’s Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911.” Yisroel Ben-Porat, in a sweeping review of the volume, suggests that Orthodox Jews in particular might find it useful for thinking through our place in questions about religion-state relations.
With the arrival of Sukkot following Shemitta all minds are turned to the once-in-seven-year observance of the Hakhel ceremony in Jerusalem (or at least its symbolic reenactment). Nine Shemitot ago, in one of TRADITION's earliest issues, Rabbi Gersion Appel published two articles in our pages about the historical assembly and its potential revival in the then-new State of Israel.