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The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel opens “The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped.” The only problem with that statement, according to Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, is that it’s not true. The Jewish people were formed in Egypt. Land is important […]

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As part of Tikvah’s Summer Fellowship, participants were treated to a discussion on how to read and how to think about rabbinic literature. The two interlocutors approach rabbinic literature from different points of view and from different intellectual traditions. Christine Hayes of Yale University is one of the very few and perhaps the most accomplished academic expert […]

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God Beyond Language

August 20, 2014

Drawing on Maimonides’s Guide for the Perplexed, Micah Goodman, Founding CEO of Ein Prat Academy, explains here the logic of Maimonides’s “God beyond language.” The only way to establish that God is greater than this world is to say that God is greater than language. Is silence, then, the only proper praise of God?

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To open Tikvah’s advanced institute “Is Judaism a Religion?” Professor Leora Batnitzky of Princeton University defined her terms. Religion, she explains in this clip, is a modern term. In a pre-modern era, “Judaism” referred to the ways of semi-autonomous Jewish communities and a “Jew” referred to the member of such a community. In the modern […]

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Possibly Leo Strauss’s greatest essay, “Progress or Return?” is crucial to understanding Strauss’s political thought, especially his famed reason/revelation distinction. In this clip, Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution summarizes the entire argument of the essay in four short propositions.

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Thinking About Revelation

August 13, 2014

During Tikvah’s advanced institute “Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews,” Eric Cohen, Yuval Levin, and Meir Soloveichik tried to sort through the deep dilemma facing the modern, post-Enlightenment Jew who also holds a Burkean respect for old ways. Eric Cohen began by pointing out how peculiar the claims of historical revelation are, so peculiar as to strain […]

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Spinoza's Religion

August 7, 2014

For the advanced institute “The Jewish Idea of God”, founding CEO of the Ein Prat Academy Micah Goodman offered his interpretation of Spinoza. Goodman begins this clip by setting forth the proposition that humans are set apart by two qualities: we are the only animals aware that there is a future and we also know […]

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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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A Jewish Theory of Humor

July 29, 2014

In a discussion of Sholem Aleichem, Dara Horn elucidates two classic theories of humor. The first, from the literary critic Henri Bergson, states that we laugh when something “mechanical” is “encrusted on the living.” We laugh at others’ expense. The other theory, authored by Sigmund Freud, involves laughing at ourselves to release ourselves from a […]

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During Tikvah’s advanced institute on the “Jewish Idea of God”, Ein Prat Academy’s founding CEO Micah Goodman presented some of the challenges associated with Maimonides’s Aristotelian understanding of God. Perhaps most problematic is the question of whether this vision of a static and unchanging God is really compatible with the Bible’s depiction of a God […]

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