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.”
Todd Berman’s recent article, reviewing Eliezer Berkovits' 1964 essay in the pages of TRADITION, occasioned a return to days gone by for our longtime editorial board member, Lawrence Kobrin. Berman examines Berkovits’ harsh critique of A.J. Heschel’s “Theology of Pathos” and Kobrin fills us in on the spirit of the time, six decades ago, helping us understand the unusual set of editor’s notes which accompanied the original essay.