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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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How should the Shabbat be observed in a Jewish and democratic state? In this 1992 essay, the political theorist Daniel Elazar considers the question, balancing majority will, individual conscience, consent of the governed, and subsidiarity. In considering the ways Israel’s many factions relate to the Shabbat, Elazar suggests local referenda can help move the state […]

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In the wake of the market crash of 2008, Jack Wertheimer spotlighted the “affordability crisis” plaguing American Jewish families. Adding up the cost of day school, Jewish camping, Kosher meat, synagogue dues, premiums for real estate near a synagogue, trips to Israel, and much else besides, Wertheimer guesses that an “actively engaged” Jewish family pays a […]

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Interfaith engagement has many champions in our politics and in our philanthropies. For Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, not all interfaith engagement was to be cheered. In his profound theological reflection, “Confrontation,” he argued that communities of faith are characterized by separate and irreconcilable theologies. However, such communities may share certain interests and may work together in […]

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Press play below to listen to the podcast, download it in the iTunes Store, or stream it via Stitcher.  The subject of this podcast is Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s classic 1964 essay, “Confrontation,” one of those rare, enduring masterpieces that is both a profound theological reflection on human nature, and an important work of Jewish communal policy. This essay—and […]

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Jewish history has taught Jews to be wary of the intermingling of religious establishments and political power, so it’s understandable that American Jews instinctively safeguard the separation of church and state. But there is a wide gap between opposition to a state church and the radical separationism of the type Milton Himmelfarb criticizes in his classic […]

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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, Yuval Levin and Eric Cohen discuss Mr. Levin’s recent essay in First Things, “The Perils of Religious Liberty.” The flourishing of religious communities and the freedom of religious conscience have been central to American life since […]

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