Open Minded Torah:

Of Irony, Fundamentalism and Love

A beautiful book, an exhilarating hybrid...

Jonathan Rosen, author of The Talmud and the Internet

...a book for people who want help listening for the elusive, important silences that course beneath the clamor of everyday life...

Judith Shulevitz, author of The Sabbath World

Enlightening and enthralling...

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

From the Non-Ironic Haggada

In a blog entry posted in the New York Times several years ago, ‘This I Believe,’ Judith Warner reflects on an unconventional religious upbringing. Although she identifies herself as Jewish, for nine years – from age five – she attended an Episcopal school. She would never call herself a Christian, but ‘her heart,’ she admits, […]

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‘The Last Rabbi’ – coming soon from Indiana University Press

I am pleased to announce that my The Last Rabbi: Joseph Soloveitchik and Talmudic Tradition is forthcoming from Indiana University Press in 2016! Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post

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Eros and Translation – The Song of Songs

On the Sabbath of the Passover holiday, I borrowed a friend’s English translation of the Song of Songs. Some read the Song of Songs every Friday evening; in my synagogue, and many others, we read the Song written by King Solomon the Sabbath morning after the Passover seder.  God redeems the people of Israel on Passover; we celebrate the […]

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Lighting Up: The Beauty of Hanuka

‘The mitzva of the lighting of the Hanuka lamp,’ writes Maimonides, is a very beloved mitzva.’  Scholars call Maimonides a ‘rationalist,’ but in his the laws of Hanuka, he expresses a rare enthusiasm – not only an adjective, but even an adverb, a ‘very beloved mitzva’!  There are 613 mitvot in the Torah, and many more decreed by the […]

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Speech in Exile and the Voice of the Shofar

Rosh Ha-shana, the Jewish New Year is the anniversary of the creation of man.  On the sixth day of the Creation, man was inspirited by the divine, and given a soul:  ‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became […]

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Eros and Translation

On the Sabbath of the intermediate days of Passover, I borrowed a friend’s English translation of the Song of Songs. Some read the Song of Songs every Friday evening; in my synagogue, and many others, we read the Song written by King Solomon the Sabbath morning after the Passover seder.  God redeems the people of Israel on Passover; […]

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‘Breaking Bad as Shakespearean Tragedy.’ Discuss.

(If you didn’t watch the episode – spoiler alert! – that aired in the US on September 15 – watch it already!) Many English professors I know claim only to watch movies and television shows when they are flying; I’m not sure they could rack up the necessary mileage for what they have seen.  But Breaking […]

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Repentance in a Time of Trauma

Is it possible to talk about repentance without being either self-renouncing or self-righteous?  Listen here. Source sheet here. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post

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When the Ultra-Orthodox Advocate Religious Freedom

My piece on rights, the ultra-Orthodox and Israeli Democracy – in Haaretz. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post

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John Milton in Hebrew

The author of Paradise Lost’s work on toleration and religious freedom -for the first time in Hebrew, with my introduction. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post

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