April 2, 2023
A highlight of this week’s Passover observances is the recounting of the biblical Ten Plagues. In an interesting new book, Dr. Jeremy Brown considers the Eleventh Plague, a kind of catch-all phrase he uses to explore how Jews as a people and Judaism as a religious tradition have encountered and responded to plagues, disease, and pandemics from the Bible right up to our own days of COVID-19.
March 30, 2023
In reviewing R. Yoel Bin-Nun’s “Zakhor veShamor,” Yitzchak Blau demonstrates how the book’s topic plays to the author’s strengths and interests, as it explores the Jewish calendar and holiday cycle through the prism of the agricultural reality in the Land of Israel. In its pages we encounter one of our era’s greatest teachers of Tanakh apply his fertile mind to scripture, Jewish history, and our current situation.
March 27, 2023
Reviewing the poetry of Yehoshua November, Rivka Krause identifies themes central to the religious quest: “Life is filled with pains both great and small, yet we are forced to live with purpose.” Reminding us of R. Aharon Lichtenstein’s charge that as religious individuals, poetry and literature occupy a space of particular importance in the shaping of our consciousness, Krause draws our attention to November’s work—for its aesthetic charm as well as its potential contribution to our spiritual goals.
March 23, 2023
Prof. Shalom Rosenberg z”l, who passed away two weeks ago, taught Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University and was a public intellectual and an important voice in the Religious Zionist world. Reviewing some of his essays for this week’s Alt+SHIFT, Yitzchak Blau offers an appreciation for Rosenberg’s contribution to the intellectual atmosphere of our community.
March 21, 2023
TRADITION’s Winter 2021 issue featured Avivah Zornberg’s essay, “On Love, Holiness, and the Other,” which explored the “command to aspire” as an ethical imperative. That essay has now appeared as part of a larger chapter in her most recent book, “The Hidden Order of Intimacy: Reflections on the Book of Leviticus” (Schocken). As we commence our annual reading of Leviticus the TRADITION Podcast spoke with Zornberg about her new book, the intellectual “atmosphere” she breathes in order to produce works of Torah scholarship that bring together such wide-ranging voices, and the troubling state of the study of the humanities in the world today and within Jewish learning in particular.
March 19, 2023
Responding to Nava Finkelman’s recent essay, “Genesis Dream Pairs Revisited,” Ami Hordes points to the presence of the ambiguous word “shever” as a multi-valent hint to ideas that are lurking between the lines of the biblical Joseph story. Finkelman responds, adding deeper insight to the issues raised in her already compelling article.
March 16, 2023
What does the miraculous revival of Hebrew in the 20th century say about larger trends in Jewish life and nationhood? A new volume on Hebrew’s relationship to Jewish culture and scholarship, and the unlikely story of its reawakening, explores these questions from both historical and linguistic angles, and may make us question the implications of the state of Hebrew fluency among Anglo-Jewry today. Yitzchak Blau returns with a new installment of Alt+SHIFT.
March 13, 2023
Proud of our historic association with the writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l, TRADITION hosted an online forum in cooperation with WebYeshiva.org on his 120th birthday, 12 Adar (March 5, 2023) – watch or listen to the archived audio and video recordings of those sessions.
March 9, 2023
Does the rise of the Men's Seder suggest that Modern Orthodox men are lonely? Tzvi Sinensky answers yes, in this new TRADITIONS QUESTIONS column, arguing that alongside efforts to cultivate more entry points for women, Modern Orthodox communities must do more to meet our men's unique social and spiritual needs.