August 28, 2022
With the arrival of Rosh Hodesh Elul we enter the month of “mercy and forgiveness.” Among the season’s most well-known but challenging customs is the recitation of Selihot. The publication of a new edition of these penitential prayers and piyutim, with an introduction and insightful commentary by Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, will enhance our recitation of the Selihot for generations to come. In this excerpt R. Schacter explores themes related to the meaning and force of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy – the central experience of the Selihot prayers.
August 25, 2022
Yitzchak Blau finds in Marilynne Robinson’s essay collection, “When I Was a Child I Read Books,” an argument for Jewish communities to more forthrightly discussing their shortcomings, even as they defend their faith claims – this week in The BEST.
August 23, 2022
Through a close reading of Natan Slifkin's new “Rationalism vs. Mysticism: Schisms in Jewish Thought” Alex Ozar aims to get to the bottom of what it means to identify as a "rationalist," what it means to divide the Jewish intellectual world into rationalist and mystical camps, and what's at stake in asserting a "schism" in Jewish thought.
August 21, 2022
This is an Audio Editor’s Note from TRADITION’s newly released Summer 2022 issue—Rabbi Jeffrey Saks reads his essay “It Takes a Cosmic Village” which introduces a special section on Jewish Universalism.
August 18, 2022
Na’amit Sturm Nagel writes in The BEST on Eva Hoffman’s portrayal of the immigrant experience after the Holocaust: Movement doesn’t only move forward, and people do not simply work towards a sense of wholeness. Rather, for Hoffman, people and places are meant to be fragmented, as Hoffman concludes: “it is in my misfittings that I fit.”
August 17, 2022
August 15, 2022
It is too easy to dismiss or ignore popular culture, especially that addressed to children. A new collection of personal and critical essays, “Artifacts of Orthodox Jewish Childhoods” (Ben Yehuda Press), helps combat that dismissal, and might even inspire us to think seriously about the cultures of our own childhoods. Uri C. Cohen reviews the volume and applauds its blurring of boundaries between the scholarly and the personal, suggesting it proves to be a positive development when scholars are open about their subjectivity.
August 11, 2022
Gershon Albert writes on what we can learn from a particular funk-band: Vulfpeck has mastered the art of creating culture. Every part of the musical experience is considered, from cinematographic decisions that focus on 70s video nostalgia, to self-made fonts and minimalist instruments. These elements all contribute to a sense of communal belonging. Those of us who are tasked with creating sense of belonging for Jewish institutions can learn from this approach to culture, using elements like language, aesthetics, and “shtick.”
August 6, 2022
Certain that this will provide a meaningful read for Tisha B’Av we share Dr. Yael Ziegler’s essay “The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void.” This essay appeared in TRADITION’s Summer 2020 issue and subsequently in Dr. Ziegler's "Lamentations: Faith in a Turbulent World."