August 28, 2023

FIELD NOTES: Material Success and Its Challenges

TRADITION recently held its first Tradition Today Summit, addressing the issue of “Material Success and its Challenges.” Orthodox life in the United States has seen increasing material success in recent decades. This has had an impact in a wide range of areas – sumptuary trends, philanthropy, career choice, institutional sustainability (e.g., the tuition crisis), social and communal gaps between haves and have-nots, and more. While many of these topics have been discussed informally, little has been written about them in a systemic and organized fashion. Here is a summary of the proceedings, which we expect to publish in an upcoming issue of the journal.
August 24, 2023

Alt+SHIFT: Prumim

Journalist Yair Ettinger’s recent book, “Prumim,” provides a window into many debates raging in today’s Dati Leumi world, including partnership minyanim, ascending the Temple Mount, LGBT issues, attitude to the Chief Rabbinate, and women enlisting in the army. Yitzchak Blau’s Alt+SHIFT column suggests the book will be particularly interesting to our readers for its analysis of parallel phenomena in American Modern Orthodoxy.
August 21, 2023

REVIEW: Attached: Connecting to Our Creator

Maimonides invokes passionate love between people as a key metaphor for the human relationship with the Divine, an idea widely explored by midrashic interpretations of Shir HaShirim which provokes questions about how love is nourished and how it functions. In reviewing Yakov Danishefsky’s “Attached: Connecting to Our Creator” (Mosaica), Sara Wolkenfeld evaluates the claim that the skills we develop in relating to the people around us, particularly our romantic partners, can help us craft a relationship with God.
August 17, 2023

TRADITION QUESTIONS: Kissing a Torah App

Siddur apps prompt Chaim Strauchler to question how new technology affects our attachment to holiness in the physical world. We designate our siddurim as sifrei kodesh – holy books; we don’t do the same for our devices. Should we?
August 13, 2023

The Sea Change in American Orthodoxy

Twenty-five years ago TRADITION featured a major symposium issue, edited by Hillel Goldberg, asking 35 writers to respond to questions on Orthodoxy’s approach to other denominations, the internal relationships of various Orthodox sub-groups, and Orthodoxy’s greatest successes, failures, and threats. How does this snapshot of the Orthodox world a quarter century ago match up to our standards and concerns in the present? What did our writers get more right or less so? Download the whole issue as a special Digital Book.
August 10, 2023

Alt+SHIFT: Jewish Terror

With no moral equivalencies being made to Palestinian terror attacks against Jews, Roi Sharon’s journalistic book forces us to confront acts of Jewish terror aimed at Arabs. Yitzchak Blau’s Alt+SHIFT review focuses on the wild weeds in our own garden, a dangerous and evil growth that needs to be opposed and eradicated. While the overwhelming majority of the Religious Zionist world opposes this phenomenon, it is time to admit that we have a serious problem.
August 7, 2023

REVIEW: Studies in Halakhah and Rabbinic History

From the evidence offered in his writings the tragic loss of R. Eitam Henkin in a terror attack is compounded by the promise of future scholarship of which we will be deprived. Gidon Rothstein reviews R. Henkin’s posthumous collection, “Studies in Halakhah and Rabbinic History,” and asserts that each individual essay as well as the overall experience of meeting this writer will reward the reader.
August 3, 2023

TRADITION QUESTIONS: Color Games

A recent study shows that house color décor influences perceived property values. How does design affect our perception of our shuls and schools as trendy and relevant or outdated and passé? This is a particular challenge for institutions whose identities are closely connected to their modernity, or alternatively, to a sense of tradition. Chaim Strauchler asks if we should be playing these color wars—and at what cost?
August 1, 2023

REPLY: COVID-19 Vaccines, Halakha, and Medicine

Replying to their critics, Sharon Galper Grossman and Shamai Grossman defend an October 2020 TRADITION article which anticipated the overwhelming endorsement of the COVID vaccine by the medical community, government agencies, and subsequent positions staked out by the majority of poskim. In short, vaccines were the best way through the pandemic. They worked and helped fulfil “lo ta’amod al dam re’ekha.”