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Christmas was this week and God’s love is in the air. But do Christian sources and Jewish ones think of the love of God in overlapping or opposing ways? Renowned Harvard bible scholar and Tikvah faculty regular Jon Levenson is working on a new book on the love of God—what it means for God to love human beings and for human beings to love God. What is being commanded when a Jew is enjoined to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” Is passion an imperfection, unworthy of God? What is the “pretty dirty” love poem Shir haShirim (Song of Songs) doing in the Bible?

Professor Levenson sat down with Tikvah’s Director of University Programs Alan Rubenstein in Princeton last summer to discuss this profound subject. You can watch the 28 minute conversation here.

Watch the full video here

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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The Chabad Paradox

December 4, 2013

The Hasidic group known both as Lubavitch, after a town in Russia, and as Chabad, an acronym for the three elements of human and divine intelligence, Chochma (wisdom), Bina (understanding), and Da’at (knowledge), is not just the most successful contemporary Hasidic sect. It might be the most successful Jewish religious movement of the second half […]

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One of the most remarkable things about the Jewish and Christian traditions is that they both revere figures who predated the central events of their redemptive histories. Both hold in high esteem the patriarchs of Genesis—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob— even though these figures precede Moses or Jesus. The cases of Isaac and Jacob are complicated […]

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The transformations of Jewish life in the last two-and-a-half centuries still boggle the mind. Deep ruptures opened to separate the present from the past, modernity from tradition, setting terms that have defined the contours of Jewish life until today. How did people try to think their way through the change? That vital question is central […]

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The novelist Saul Bellow is fond of recalling a political incident from his youth. Saul, then an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, was, like so many of us in the 1930s, powerfully attracted to the ideologies of socialism, Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism, as well as to the idea of “the Revolution.” He and a […]

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Throughout the ages, despite differences in culture and cuisine, Jewish kitchens around the world shared a commitment to kashrut—the classical rules regulating the Jewish diet. This religious lifestyle, known as “keeping kosher,” which is still observed in a great many Jewish homes to­day, encompasses a number of restrictions. Traditional Jews keep all meat and milk […]

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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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