September 11, 2023

REVIEW: State of Halakha

The establishment of the Jewish State in 1948 introduced previously unimaginable questions for halakha and Jewish religious life — most relevantly in terms of statehood and governance. Aviad Tabory’s "State of Halakha" (Maggid Books) is best understood through its subtitle: “Israel’s history in Jewish law.” Sruli Fruchter, in reviewing the work, says the book shows that “halakha always has something to say. And in Israel’s case, we have the ability to listen.”
September 7, 2023

Alt+SHIFT: Frum Film

The content of Israeli television and films reveals dynamics working in the Jewish State. Who is being featured and how they are being portrayed help tell the tale of Israeli society. Yitzchak Blau’s Alt+SHIFT offering works off recent cultural surveys and criticism on the growing presence of religious characters in movies and TV alongside a recent documentary series on Israeli secularism.
September 5, 2023

RESPONSE: Sea Change and Seeing Change

The recent republication of TRADITION’s twenty-five year-old symposium on “The Sea Change in American Orthodox Judaism” generated a “looking back” on the part of some of those original 35 authors. Marc D. Angel and Judith Bleich each stands by his and her opinions of a quarter century ago.
September 3, 2023

REVIEW: Perpetuating the Masorah

In "Perpetuating the Masorah" (Maggid Books & OU Press) we meet Rabbi Yitzhak, not Professor Isadore, Twersky—an expositor par excellence of Torat Hashem, delivering eternal wisdom to his faithful followers, not to his academic seminar room. That he could straddle these two worlds speaks volumes to his intellect and personality. Todd Berman reviews…
August 31, 2023

TRADITION QUESTIONS: Standing at Weddings

Chaim Strauchler questions some of the fanfare within the modern Jewish wedding. Focusing on the near-universal practice of rising for the bride and groom during the procession, he questions the practice’s source and what it says about celebrity culture’s connection to religious community.
August 28, 2023

FIELD NOTES: Material Success and Its Challenges

TRADITION recently held its first Tradition Today Summit, addressing the issue of “Material Success and its Challenges.” 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. While many of these topics have been discussed informally, little has been written about them in a systemic and organized fashion. Here is a summary of the proceedings, which we expect to publish in an upcoming issue of the journal.
August 24, 2023

Alt+SHIFT: Prumim

Journalist Yair Ettinger’s recent book, “Prumim,” provides a window into many debates raging in today’s Dati Leumi world, including partnership minyanim, ascending the Temple Mount, LGBT issues, attitude to the Chief Rabbinate, and women enlisting in the army. Yitzchak Blau’s Alt+SHIFT column suggests the book will be particularly interesting to our readers for its analysis of parallel phenomena in American Modern Orthodoxy.
August 21, 2023

REVIEW: Attached: Connecting to Our Creator

Maimonides invokes passionate love between people as a key metaphor for the human relationship with the Divine, an idea widely explored by midrashic interpretations of Shir HaShirim which provokes questions about how love is nourished and how it functions. In reviewing Yakov Danishefsky’s “Attached: Connecting to Our Creator” (Mosaica), Sara Wolkenfeld evaluates the claim that the skills we develop in relating to the people around us, particularly our romantic partners, can help us craft a relationship with God.
August 17, 2023

TRADITION QUESTIONS: Kissing a Torah App

Siddur apps prompt Chaim Strauchler to question how new technology affects our attachment to holiness in the physical world. We designate our siddurim as sifrei kodesh – holy books; we don’t do the same for our devices. Should we?