March 4, 2022

Special Online Event: Dispatch from Ukraine

Join RCA and TRADITION for a special online panel discussing Ukrainian Jewry's war-time challenges. Panelists will detail their heroic struggle in the face of the humanitarian and refugee crisis unfolding on the Polish border, their work on the ground as communal leaders, the fears and prospects for Jewish institutions going forward—and help us understand the realities of this rapidly unfolding tragedy with greater nuance. Wednesday, March 9 at 12:30 pm ET.
March 3, 2022

The BEST: Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” 

Chaim Brovender sees in Rembrandt’s art a message for our humanity: Rembrandt telegraphs to us that each person’s individual identity cannot be suppressed. Each one’s face is unique and meaningful. Each figure is not quite like anyone else, and recalls to our minds the midrashic observation: “Just as no two people resemble one another, so no two people think alike. Rather, each person has an opinion of his own.”
March 1, 2022

The Ongoing Relevance of the Classics

Following Chaim Waxman’s expression of pessimism regarding the current role of great works of Western literature in the Orthodox world, Yitzchak Blau strikes a more optimistic note arguing for the significance of this literature – and the live possibility of encouraging our students to read it.
February 27, 2022

The Rabbinate as Calling and Challenge

Addressing the many challenges facing the contemporary Orthodox rabbinate, time and again R. Norman Lamm returned to the foundational, sometimes conflicting, dual obligations of Ahavat ha-Torah and Ahavat Yisrael. The primary challenge is to produce a self-confident, strong Rabbinate that will empower its members to fulfill their complex calling, while meeting the challenge to balance the unrelenting truth of Torah, with hesed – loving-kindness toward all Jews. Benjamin J. Samuels explores R. Lamm’s vision of the rabbinate, its challenges and opportunities, in his contribution to the “Rabbi Lamm Memorial Volume” (open access). 
February 24, 2022

The BEST: Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”

Dalya Koller writes on Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”: Being pulled in multiple directions and towards multiple homelands — what it feels like to have one leg in multiple countries at once — this theme of a dual homeland is an integral and historical aspect of the experience of a diaspora Jew. “Blue” teaches that this feeling of duality isn’t exclusive to Jews.
February 22, 2022

PODCAST: The Rebellion of the Daughters

In “The Rebellion of the Daughters” historian Rachel Manekin performs a brilliant work of detection, revealing to her readers the inner lives of young Jewish women in pre-World War I Habsburg Galicia who left their traditional Orthodox homes for life in the Catholic Church. In this episode of the podcast we bring together Manekin and Beverly Gribetz, who recently reviewed the book in TRADITION. Together they discuss the book, the world it explores, and its meaning contemporary Jewish life and education.
February 20, 2022

Soul on an Ice-Bound Sea

TRADITION’s esteemed editor emeritus, Shalom Carmy, joins our ongoing conversation about the state of humanities, considering ways that religious life benefits from studying secular liberal arts. If the humanities are not flourishing in the gilded enclaves of Orthodoxy, it is not only financial motives at play: “I fear that the Orthodox community, like the secular world it too often resembles, avoids serious engagement with the humanities, for other reasons. The heavy hand of social conformity robs individuals of solitude and independence. And one salient marker of that conformism is a profound unease and distaste for individual or communal self-examination and soul-searching engendered by the encounter with a great humanities education.”
February 17, 2022

The BEST: Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”

Moshe Kurtz writes on Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” – “Regardless of the promise of a life waiting on the other side, the pain of bereavement is real and sometimes overpowering. One can know that Rabbinic Judaism unequivocally believes in the immortality of the soul, but it is something else to fully internalize it into one’s psyche. Johnny Cash’s struggle to balance his faith commitments with his despondent emotional state is what makes this work of art both poignant and relatable for all people of faith.”
February 15, 2022

PODCAST: Shubert Spero and “Doing” Philosophy

The TRADITION Podcast recently caught up with R. Shubert Spero, who just published “The Problematic Metaphors of Righteousness,” his 26th essay in our pages. We discussed the wide range of his philosophical interests over his long rabbinic and academic careers, the formative influences on his thought, and the central role Religious Zionism plays in his work.