February 10, 2022

The BEST: Maus

Israeli illustrator Shay Charka explains how Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” liberated Jewish culture by appropriating anti-Semitic stereotypes: “Spiegelman’s most significant contribution to the rehabilitation of the Jewish spirit after millennia of persecution culminating in the Holocaust is specifically through his depictions of Jews as mice.”
February 8, 2022

The Primacy of Law in Love

Tova Warburg Sinensky reads R. Norman Lamm’s classic work “A Hedge of Roses” and demonstrates how her grandfather’s 1966 overview of the laws of Jewish family purity is much more than a defense of a once-neglected halakha. In fact, it is a subtle and profound philosophical treatise about how Jewish law serves to protect loving relationships, including, but not limited to, the marital union. 
February 6, 2022

REVIEW: Hokhma LiShlomo

The arrival of a large tribute volume is usually noteworthy, both for the potentially significant writing and scholarship it will contain, and for helping us frame the accomplishments of the festschrift’s honoree. The recent publication of “Hokhma LiShlomo: Essays in Honor of Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin” delivers on both counts, says Yitzchak Blau in reviewing the book. “This volume, honoring a rabbi with a distinguished resume, contains enough variety and interest to merit a worthwhile place on our bookshelves. The topics covered successfully convey the range of accomplishment of the honoree.”  
February 3, 2022

The BEST: Vermeer’s “Geographer” and “Astronomer”

Chaim Brovender writes on the value of art as he interprets two works by Vermeer: “Surely these ideas can be stated in religious language and are found in the words of Hazal. But not everyone can appreciate the wonder in the world through the word, and not everyone can appreciate the love that is expressed in creation through the use of language. Vermeer enables us to look upon these notions through an amazing representation of reality.” 
February 1, 2022

A Bleak Outlook for Orthodox Humanities

Joining the conversation on the state of the humanities in the world and within Orthodoxy in particular, Chaim Waxman responds to Menachem Kellner, bringing the sociologist’s skills to sound a pessimistic note while reminding readers “Ya gotta believe!”
January 30, 2022

Orthodoxy and the Scholem Moment

Today, 28 Shvat, is the 40th yahrzeit of Prof. Gershom Scholem. To mark the occasion we are republishing this column by Zvi Leshem exploring the slew of books and studies recently published on the life and legacy of the path-breaking Kabbalah scholar. Leshem suggests that understanding this phenomenon can help us understand some major trends in contemporary Orthodoxy.
January 27, 2022

The BEST: Working on the Statue of Liberty 

Chaya Sara Oppenheim writes on Norman Rockwell’s “Working on the Statue of Liberty” and on the work required to preserve our liberty. Rockwell depicts a different, rare, and meaningful vantage point: We see Lady Liberty from behind, with our feet already firmly planted on American soil. The Statue of Liberty—for all the freedom and “world-wide welcome” that she symbolizes at the entrance of New York Harbor—is not the central figure in this painting.
January 26, 2022

TRADITION 54:1 (Winter 2022)

TRADITION’s new issue has just arrived with articles on the longevity of the ancients, early American Haredization, the literary unity of halakha and aggada, and much more. View the TOC and read select open-access content.
January 24, 2022

The Extremes Are More Logical But Absurd

Rabbi Lamm critiqued Modern Orthodoxy for being “too apologetic in explaining and interpreting ourselves to the outside world.” Yet, he expressed discomfort and ambivalence about the very nomenclature of the community, admitting at one point that he uses the name Modern Orthodox “only with the greatest hesitation.” Jeffrey Saks explores R. Lamm’s writings on Centrist and Modern Orthodoxy in his contribution to the “Rabbi Lamm Memorial Volume” (open access).