Saving Contradiction

From the June/July 2014 Print Edition

Yehudah Mirsky’s bio­graphy of Rabbi (or “Rav”) Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Jewish Palestine, is much more than merely an account of a long-gone historic personality. During the tumultuous years between his birth in 1865 and death in 1935, Rav Kook developed . . . . Continue Reading »

A Rabbi Remembers Pope Benedict

From First Thoughts

The one and only time I met Pope Benedict XVI was when he was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The time was 1988, and the place was St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York. The occasion was a lecture by the cardinal arranged by Fr. (then Lutheran Pastor) Richard John Neuhaus. The occasion was . . . . Continue Reading »

The Jewish Mission

From the November 2012 Print Edition

Although most Christian churches advocate some sort of mission to non-Christians, no Jewish group advocates a mission to non-Jews. Proselytization seems to be foreign to Judaism. Are covenant and mission essentially correlative tasks for Christianity but antithetical tasks for Judaism? Not at . . . . Continue Reading »

The Man-Made Messiah

From the January 2011 Print Edition

The most recognized face of any Jewish leader of the past fifty years belongs to the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, even more so today than at his death in 1994. There are few Jews who have not seen the picture of the Lubavitcher rebbe on billboards or in other media or who have not . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Are the Jews Chosen?

From the April 2010 Print Edition

One way anti-Jewish sentiment has been interpreted is simply as a quid pro quo . Gentile animosity, in this view, does to the Jews what the Jews have done, or at least would like to do, to Gentiles”because we Jews present ourselves as the chosen people. In the seventeenth century, Baruch . . . . Continue Reading »

Conrad Black and Judaism

From Web Exclusives

In the Tuesday, September 29 edition of the National Post (Toronto), long time columnist Conrad Black wrote “Why I Became a Catholic.” I was intrigued by Lord Black’s story of his spiritual journey to a more intense Christianity, yet I began to recoil when reading his dismissal of Judaism as a real spiritual option for himself (or for anyone else like him)… . Continue Reading »

Richard and the Jews

From the April 2009 Print Edition

In his youth in rural Ontario and rural Texas, Richard John Neuhaus had little or no contact with Jews”but as an adult his contact was constant. And this played a key role in Richard’s life and career as a priest and a public intellectual, for his constant contact with Jews went hand in . . . . Continue Reading »


From the February 2009 Print Edition

Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology by Michael Fishbane University of Chicago Press, 246 pages, $30 The word theology means literally God-talk . But since talk about anything”even talk about God”takes place in a particular language at a particular time, how one engages in theology . . . . Continue Reading »