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). 
January 20, 2022

The BEST: The Matrix 

Steven Gotlib compares and contrasts “The Matrix” and Jewish mystical traditions, suggesting the relationship between man and machine in the movie is fundamentally antagonistic: for one to live freely, the other must be enslaved. Our reality, however, is quite different. The relationship between humanity and divinity, as portrayed in Nefesh HaHayyim and Tanya, is one of cooperation.
January 17, 2022

Orthodox Humanities?

TRADITION’s editor recently brought a fracas roiling the halls of the Ivy League to the attention of readers of these pages. As that debate about the state and role of the humanities in American higher education has serious implications for us as a religious community, Menachem Kellner joins in and expands the conversation to its philosophical and theological first principles.
January 13, 2022

The BEST: A City Upon a Hill

Yisroel Ben-Porat profiles John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon “A Modell of Christian Charity” and its relevance to the American Jewish story: “Like the Puritans in New England, we too see ourselves as a small and distant minority meant to live exemplary lives as a light unto the nations. It is easy to read ourselves into Winthrop’s words, to hear his call for unity as a reminder of the values of tzedaka, ahdut, hesed, and other traits toward others.”
January 10, 2022

Man as an Enigma in Modern Jewish Thought

Rav Kook and R. Soloveitchik both viewed mankind as an enigmatic mystery; one saw man as paradoxical in his very nature, the other identifies the dialectical tension in his existence as the source. Natan Oliff explores…
January 6, 2022

Great Books and “The BEST” Books

There’s an interesting debate raging through the imperiled halls of the Ivy League’s humanities departments -- and it has special meaning for Modern Orthodoxy as a religious community that has classically valued the encounter with worldly, humanistic wisdom.  As the relationship of those two realms of wisdom, often framed around the concept of Torah u-Madda, is receiving renewed ideological and institutional reassessment, TRADITION's editor Jeffrey Saks takes note of trends in general higher education and society. This column is the first in a projected series exploring this topic and its importance in the coming months. 
January 3, 2022

Divrei Shalom e-Book

R. Shalom Carmy has been one of the most articulate and insightful voices in our community for decades and his editor’s columns in TRADITION between 2005-2019 provide an accessible window into the thought of a profound thinker. “Divrei Shalom” is now available from TRADITION as a free e-book for download.
December 30, 2021

The BEST: One of Us

Sarah Golubtchik finds in Eric Bazilian’s song “One of Us” a positive theological exercise with potential to deeply impact the development of one’s religious persona.
December 28, 2021

New and Noteworthy Books

TRADITION’s seasonal roundup of noteworthy new titles in Jewish studies and learning.