Spring 2024 Arrives

Tradition Online | May 7, 2024

Special issue from the Tradition Today Summit exploring the spiritual challenges of material success, edited by Jeffrey Saks and Shlomo Zuckier.
TRADITION vol. 56 no. 2 (Spring 2024) has arrived as a special issue delivering the papers presented at last year’s “Tradition Today Summit” with contributions from:

Yehuda Brandes
Erica Brown
Avital Chizik-Goldschmidt
Michael Eisenberg
Aviad Hacohen
Yossi Prager
Michael Rosensweig
Chaim Saiman
Jeremy Wieder

Subscribers can access the entire issue online; others can read select open-access content.

Contact the Rabbinical Council of America to order your copy.

From the Editors’ Introduction:
In many ways, Orthodox life in the United States has seen increasing material success in recent decades. This has had an impact in a wide range of areas—sumptuary trends, philanthropy, career choice, institutional sustainability (e.g., the tuition crisis), social and communal gaps between haves and have-nots, and more. The content in this special issue, an outgrowth of the Tradition Today Summit, traces the contours of this trend and considers its advantages and challenges in light of Jewish tradition. Over the past half-century, Modern Orthodoxy has been classified using a variety of definitions. In recent years, there have been murmurings that, whatever classification may have held for Modern Orthodox in its earlier years, at this point an effective criterion for defining the community is economic. On this view, Modern Orthodoxy consists of observant Jews who live within a certain income bracket, namely, those who live an upper middle-class, if not upper-class, existence. This is noteworthy, because if in the past our writers, thinkers, and communal leaders attempted to infuse descriptions of the movement with aspirational values, this new marker is descriptive based on a tax-bracket. The high cost of Jewish living has made our model citizen a wealthy religious person (what Rabbi Soloveitchik might have called the dives homo religionis). While this characterization has been suggested in various informal contexts—over Shabbos tables and Facebook threads, on blogs and podcasts, and even in the odd op-ed—it has not merited a sustained discussion by scholars and stakeholders in the Orthodox community. The goal of this special issue of TRADITION is to grapple with that suggestion and with its implications for self-understanding within the Orthodox and especially Modern Orthodox community.  Read more…

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