The New Christian Zionism

Now in its thirty-sixth year, the annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ—the J stands for its headquarters in Jerusalem), attracts thousands of Pentecostal Christians from around the world to Israel. Timed to coincide with the Jewish . . . . Continue Reading »

King David

In a provocative and profound essay in this magazine (“A King in Israel,” May 2010), the late Michael Wyschogrod proposed that the Jewish state define itself as a democratic, constitutional monarchy. Israel, Wyschogrod suggested, should rename its head of state—the president elected by its . . . . Continue Reading »

The Breath of Mercy

A mother shouldn’t have favorites, but I have often observed that she inclines more to the child who is sick or more vulnerable than the rest. The more fragile the child, the fiercer the love of the mother. The strong and healthy ones outgrow her solicitous nurturing, and she can do no more for . . . . Continue Reading »

Mirror of Magistrates

For Christians, 1 and 2 Samuel are “history.” For Jews, they are among the writings of the “Former Prophets.” But the books can also be read as wisdom literature, especially when we recognize that biblical wisdom is royal wisdom. What follows is a sampling of the many lessons about good and . . . . Continue Reading »

Burning Churches in Israel

Earlier this summer, in the spot on the Sea of Galilee traditionally hailed as the site of Christ’s feeding of the five thousand, the Roman Catholic Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, Israel, was torched in an arson attack. And as of Thursday, three young right-wing Jewish men—Yinon Reuveni, twenty, Yehuda Asraf, nineteen, and Moshe Orbach, twenty-four—have been indicted on suspicion of responsibility. Continue Reading »

Walzer's Paradox

The Paradox of Liberation: Secular Revolutions and Religious Counterrevolutions by michael walzer yale, 192 pages, $26 Michael Walzer’s name is associated with the summons to undertake social criticism that is engaged: that is, rooted in actual circumstances; cognizant of real people’s wants, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Mantle of Elijah

Many think of Modern Orthodoxy as a tepid compromise, Orthodoxy Lite, an accommodation with the values of bourgeois culture, satisfied with mediocrity in the study of Torah and half-hearted about the demand for single-minded commitment to God and His commandments. From the 1930s through the 1980s Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik represented the alternative: an Orthodoxy centered on the service of God even while engaged with and concerned for the rest of humanity, deeply, almost obsessively devoted to the traditional study of Torah even while confronting and learning from the liberal arts. Until this week his son-in-law, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, was the most prominent exponent of that ideology in Israel, where he was Dean of Har-Etzion Yeshiva, and in the United States, where he frequently lectured and exercised influence via his many disciples. For all his admiration and faithfulness to his masters, R. Aharon fashioned his own distinctive intellectual agenda, while conducting his life with rigorous piety and an ethical sensitivity that had to be seen to be believed. I was a student of both, and now they are both gone. (Link: http://haretzion.org/about-us/rav-aharon-lichtenstein-ztl) Continue Reading »

#WeAreN

As a kid growing up in Evangelical churches, I would occasionally hear about the ultimate in Christian travel—the Holy Land tour. And the tour would be followed up some months later by a slide show showing where its members had gone. The slides featured ancient stone buildings, panoramic views of Jerusalem, and sunglass-wearing Americans standing atop of the Mount of Olives with the golden Dome of the Rock in the background. But I don’t remember anyone ever talking about the Christians living there. There were pictures of churches, sure, but did anyone actually go to church there? Continue Reading »

Realigning Jewish Peoplehood

On July 22, 2007, the New York Times ran an article by Harvard law professor Noah Feldman on the repercussions of his marrying outside his Jewish faith. The article, entitled “Orthodox Paradox,” details how Feldman, a Yeshiva day-school graduate, Rhodes scholar, and all-around Jewish wunderkind . . . . Continue Reading »