August 17, 2022


Cosmic Villages; Demonic Letters: TRADITION’s readers, and editor, respond.
August 15, 2022

REVIEW: Artifacts of Orthodox Jewish Childhoods

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

The BEST: “Dean Town” by Vulfpeck

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

The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void

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." 
August 4, 2022

The BEST: Crime and Punishment

Through Raskolnikov’s narrative, Dostoevsky engages with deep philosophical questions regarding the relationship between tradition, rationality, and the individual. The strategy at use in “Crime and Punishment” is especially relevant to Orthodox Jews facing moral challenges today. By carefully painting the mindset of his protagonist, Dostoevsky argues that social and moral traditions and obligations ought not to be disposed of – explains Natan Levin in this week’s The BEST.
August 1, 2022

REVIEW: A New Edition of Rambam’s Guide

A new edition of the classic Hebrew translation of Rambam’s “Guide for the Perplexed” has a lot to recommend it, says Daniel Korobkin in his review. These include punctuation, glossary of technical terms, and useful indices. But, the editor’s demarcating the “philosophical” from the “pure Torah” content he does a disservice to the very task Rambam set for himself – and to contemporary students of the Guide.
July 28, 2022

The BEST: Augustine’s Confessions

Asher Oser writes on Augustine’s “Confessions” for The BEST: When he wrote the “Confessions,” Augustine was a middle-aged man looking back on his younger years. I am now close to the age Augustine was when he began to write the “Confessions.” As I reflect on my choices, Augustine’s mature awareness of God’s providence in his past helps to move me in that direction. What he experienced at the time as his own choices are now refracted in light of God’s providence.
July 26, 2022

PODCAST: Rabbi Sacks’ Pluralism Reexamined

R. Jonathan Sacks was a frequent critic of the emergence of a post-truth culture and also a life-long opponent of moral relativism. Yet, in his book, “The Dignity of Difference,” he was an ardent proponent of a form of religious pluralism. When first published over 20 years ago his position was both attacked and misunderstood—giving rise to questions about how his Orthodoxy and his devotion to objective truth were able to sit alongside his advocacy for a form of religious pluralism. Sam Lebens and Erica Brown discuss these and related topics in the TRADITION Podcast.
July 24, 2022

A 17th-Century “Jewish” Medical Diploma

Jews have had a long and storied relationship with the practice of medicine throughout history, of which little physical evidence remains. The medical diploma is one of few tangible representations of this history. As the diploma often contained Christian references, Jewish students would sometimes be permitted to make alterations to remove them. Yet adding any specifically Jewish reference to a medical diploma was simply unheard of—until now. Edward Reichman presents an overlooked 1647 medical diploma of a Florentine Jew and explores a creative example of Jewish physicians applying the lens of Torah to their medical training and practice.