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Courting Disaster

July 21, 2016 | By: Nathan J. Diament

In The Dissent of the Governed, Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter warns of the American courts’ increasing imposition of secularism in America. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, designed to defend religious freedom in America from established churches, has come instead to be interpreted as protecting the public square from religion altogether. The imposition of […]

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Tribe and Family

July 13, 2016 | By: Isaiah Rackovsky

Writing in Tradition in 1965, Rabbi Isaiah Rackovsky explores the tension between the institution of the family, which serves as the foundation of the Jewish way of life, and modernity, its ideas and political institutions. Judaism sets the framework for cultural transmission by imparting a duty on parents to educate their children and commanding children […]

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Writing in 1994, Irving Kristol warns about the demographic problems facing American Jews. By the mid-nineties, the American Jewish community was pursuing a path to assimilation through low birth rates and intermarriage. Both phenomena, Kristol argues, were not failures of Jewish communal policy, but instead the unanticipated consequences of its success. For years, championing the […]

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The State of Israel

July 11, 2016 | By: Leo Strauss

While today Israel enjoys wide support on both sides of the American political aisle, this was not always the case. Late in 1956 the eminent political theorist Leo Strauss took the unusual step of commenting on contemporary political affairs to come to Israel’s defense. Strauss was moved to write by attacks against the nascent Jewish state […]

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Press play below to listen to the podcast, download it in the iTunes Store, or stream it via Stitcher.  In this podcast, Eric Cohen talks with Jay Lefkowitz about his provocative 2014 essay, “The Rise of Social Orthodoxy: A Personal Account”. The essay caused a stir by describing a subset of American Modern Orthodox Judaism whose participation in […]

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Over the last decade, as the United States has reconsidered its role in the world and its place in the Middle East, academics and ideologues alike have turned their attention to America’s relationship with Israel and the power of an “Israel lobby.” Many American Christians and Jews are eager for a closer alliance between the […]

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Many Jewish Americans oppose religion in the American public square. Because of their minority status, and memories of persecution, many Jews believe the safer course is to encourage a radically secular public. But such a belief is misguided, argues Rabbi Meir Soloveichik in this 2007 article. Citing both his great uncle Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik […]

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Does religious life benefit from studying the secular liberal arts? In this 2012 essay, Yeshiva University professor Shalom Carmy argues that literature, history, and philosophy enrich an education grounded in the halachic tradition. The study of humanities sheds light on the human condition, making us more aware of the divine presence and the man’s place in […]

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In the 1990’s, as the Republican Party swept into a House majority with their own “Contract with America,” Jack Wertheimer took to Commentary to look at the Jewish equivalent: the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council’s Joint Program Plan. An umbrella organization that sought to speak on behalf of the whole Jewish community, the NJCRAC’s Domestic Agenda […]

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The Christmas season is an annual reminder that American Jews are a small minority in a largely Christian country. It has also become occasion for Jewish church-and-state separationists to condemn public ceremonies as harmless as “a creche being erected outside a town hall, or students in public schools singing Christmas carols.” In “Christmas, Christians, and the […]

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