June 12, 2022

PODCAST: Contemporary (Neo-)Hasidut and Modern Orthodoxy

In this episode of the TRADITION/Or Chadash series, Shlomo Zuckier discusses the presence of Hasidism in contemporary Modern Orthodox life. Alon Meltzer queries Zuckier about his contribution to TRADITION’s “Rabbi Lamm Memorial Volume” which analyzed R. Lamm's approach to Hasidut and how it formulated a key element in his manifesto of Torah u-Madda.
June 9, 2022

The BEST: Doubt 

Yitzchak Blau writes on the 2008 film “Doubt” and its depiction of authoritarian structures and sexual abuse: The Jewish community is not immune from this scourge. The processes of selecting and grooming victims, cover-ups in misguided attempts to protect institutions, and an inability to deal with this on a communal level transcend social and religious divides. This week in The BEST.
June 2, 2022

The BEST: Dialogues of Plato 

Sarah Rudolph writes on the ongoing “Jewish” relevance of Plato’s Dialogues: Socratic dialogue has echoes in Jewish tradition. We would do well to study and appreciate it as such. Jewish thought is rooted in questions; we dig into our texts and find ourselves full of questions. Our never-ending questions keep our oral and written traditions alive and relevant.
May 31, 2022

Leaps of Faith in Different Directions

David Curwin examines a new biography of Soren Kierkegaard and suggests that R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s understanding of the Danish philosopher’s life led him to be selective about which teachings to adopt.
May 29, 2022

PODCAST: The Absurdity of Extremism

In this episode of the TRADITION/Or Chadash series Jacquie Seemann Charak of Or Chadash in Sydney, Australia, questions our editor  Jeffrey Saks about  his recent essay in the Rabbi Norman Lamm memorial volume, “The Extremes Are More Consistent But Absurd,” which explored R. Lamm’s writings on religious moderation as the hallmark of our community.
May 26, 2022

The BEST: “Tell All the Truth But Tell It Slant”

In The BEST Chaim Strauchler writes on Emily Dickinson and the function of art: For Dickinson, in her terse paradoxical style, art tells “all the truth” – but does so in a way that can be understood. A certain degree of falsehood – slant – must be included in effective truthful communication.
May 23, 2022

Rabbi Sacks’ Pluralism

Is it possible to be a religious pluralist without collapsing into some sort of post-modern rejection of absolute truth? Rabbi Jonathan Sacks advanced a distinctive set of answers to this question, but was often attacked by his critics as if he were undermining the extent to which our own tradition is in possession of the absolute truth. He was misunderstood to be endorsing a form of relativism or post-modernism. Samuel Lebens seeks to set the record straight…
May 19, 2022

The Byzantine Prehistory of Lag ba-Omer

The origins of the minor Jewish festival of Lag ba-Omer, celebrated today, are shrouded in mystery. This article by Aton Holzer, which appeared in TRADITION (Spring 2020), speculates that the origin of the holiday actually lies in the laying of the cornerstone of the Julianic Temple in 363 CE in Jerusalem.
May 15, 2022

Abortion Revisited

The possibility that the Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned by the Supreme Court is polarizing. In TRADITION’s special issue exploring the thought of R. Lichtenstein, Alan Jotkowitz analyzed R. Lichtenstein’s nuanced teachings on abortion, highlighting his balanced approach to this painfully divisive subject.