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Do individuals get married or are families joined? That’s a tension evident in many Yiddish stories, including Sholom Aleichem’s Tevye stories. As Dara Horn explains, Tevye speaks as if he is going to be married because he abides by a traditional, family-joining idea of marriage exemplified by the unique-to-Yiddish word, “machatunum.” Prompted by a participant question, […]

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The Tikvah Fund’s executive director Eric Cohen explored the deeper meaning and practical consequences of eight significant transformation in Western family life: the invention of contraceptive technologies, the advance of women in the workplace, the expansion of the state’s role in caring for the very young and the elderly, increased divorce and non-marriage, decreased fertility, […]

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Drawing on Rabbi Akiva’s aphorism that “everything is foreseen but free will is given,” novelist Dara Horn eloquently describes the tension at the heart of Jewish family life. The tension in theology between what is given to fate and what to free will is mirrored in parenting by the tension between what is innate and what […]

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To open Tikvah’s advanced institute “The Future of the Family”, Tikvah’s executive director Eric Cohen identified the grand rivals to a life oriented to home and hearth: a warrior’s life, a statesman’s life, a holy man’s life, a philosopher’s life, a scientist’s life, and so on and so forth. But Valparaiso professor Gilbert Meilaender offered […]

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Culture Matters

July 22, 2014

As part of Tikvah’s advanced institute on “The Future of the Family”, the University of Virginia’s W. Bradford Wilcox catalogs the economic and other structural reasons for declining fertility and marriage rates. But we cannot forget important cultural factors. The size and stability of our families is affected by the way we think about men […]

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Is there a philosophical or theological justification for the traditional Jewish doctrine of matrilineal descent? Meir Soloveichik, in an article published in Azure in 2005, makes the case that there is, drawing together phenomenological observations and rabbinical sources to illuminate the distinct dignity of mothers and fathers. Rabbi Soloveichik will be teaching in a Tikvah Advanced Institute this summer called The Future of the Family, alongside Eric Cohen, Gil Meilaender, Dara Horn, and others.

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You don’t have to be Jewish to drink L’Chaim, to lift a glass “To Life.” Everyone in his right mind believes that life is good and that death is bad. But Jews have always had an unusually keen appreciation of life, and not only because it has been stolen from them so often and so […]

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The biblical book of Genesis presents the story of how God’s new way for humankind finds its first adherent in a single individual—Abraham, a man out of Mesopotamia—and how that way survives through three generations in the troubled households of Abraham, his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob, who is renamed Israel. By the end […]

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Dara Horn’s newest novel, A Guide for the Perplexed, is receiving a flood of positive reviews. In this instance of the type, published this fall in the Jewish Review of Books, reviewer Michael Weingrad lingers on the subject of memory in the age of data clouds and information retrieval. Is a person more than the sum of her data? What is the moral advantage of forgetting? Ms. Horn is a regular instructor in Tikvah’s educational offerings and will be teaching again this summer in an Institute at the Tikvah Center called “Divine Justice and Human Creativity in Jewish Literature.”

Also be sure to pick up a copy (by hand or by tablet) of the Winter issue of JRB, which was just released.

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