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Calendar as Catechism

The Jewish calendar is the Jewish catechism: So said the -nineteenth-century German champion of Jewish Orthodoxy, Samson R. Hirsch, and with good reason. Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Passover: Despite differences in theology and observance, most Jews, even those who are not well-versed in the entire . . . . Continue Reading »

“Heaven and Everything Else”

I first read Abraham Joshua Heschel’s The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man less than twenty years after its publication. It was already a classic among readers who cherished the few works of Jewish thought written in artful, eloquent English for a literate audience. Heschel summoned . . . . Continue Reading »

Boy on the Temple Roof

Young Rabbi Binder has opened the floor for a “free discussion” period at the afternoon Hebrew school housed in the synagogue, where the minimal Jewish education he dispenses to postwar Jewish boys is a prerequisite for their bar mitzvah ritual. As usual, most of the kids are indifferent, even . . . . Continue Reading »

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