Cover image for Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's response to modernity
Title:
Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's response to modernity
Author:
Freundel, Barry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jersey City, N.J. : KTAV Pub. House, Inc., [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
xiii, 343 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780881257779

9780881257786
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Orthodox Judaism is an ideology that has a recognized niche in today's society, both secular and Jewish. However, it is often misunderstood in general or in its specifics by some of its adherents and certainly by those who do not live by its tenets. In Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's Response to Modernity, Rabbi Barry Freundel, in thirty-two relatively brief essays, summarizes Orthodox Jewish teaching on a variety of issues. These range from topics as central to the religious experience as prayer and Messiah, to those as contemporary as abortion and life on other planets. For the student, the seeker and even for those more knowledgeable this volume will provide much information, food for thought and source material to aid in understanding one of mankind's most ancient religious traditions and its continued vibrancy and relevance in the twenty-first century.


Summary

Orthodox Judaism is an ideology that has a recognized niche in today's society, both secular and Jewish. However, it is often misunderstood in general or in its specifics by some of its adherents and certainly by those who do not live by its tenets. In Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's Response to Modernity, Rabbi Barry Freundel, in thirty-two relatively brief essays, summarizes Orthodox Jewish teaching on a variety of issues. These range from topics as central to the religious experience as prayer and Messiah, to those as contemporary as abortion and life on other planets. For the student, the seeker and even for those more knowledgeable this volume will provide much information, food for thought and source material to aid in understanding one of mankind's most ancient religious traditions and its continued vibrancy and relevance in the twenty-first century.


Author Notes

Barry Freundel is Assistant Professor of Rabbinics at Baltimore Hebrew University and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law School, the University of Maryland at College Park and George Washington University.


Barry Freundel is Assistant Professor of Rabbinics at Baltimore Hebrew University and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law School, the University of Maryland at College Park and George Washington University.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Freundel, who counts former presidential candidate Joe Lieberman among his Washington, D.C., congregants, invites readers, Jewish and non-Jewish, to gain a better understanding of Jewish law, tradition and belief in his succinct but thorough analyses of 31 different topics crucial to Orthodox Judaism, such as teshuvah (repentance), Israel, prayer and Shabbat and Kashrut. Each chapter summarizes the central sources upon which the Halakhah (Jewish law) is based in clear, understandable terms and explains the development of the tradition as well as its practical application in today's world. Additionally, Freundel provides all the relevant Orthodox opinions on the matter, including those that he or the law ultimately rejects, and elucidates how and why Jewish law maintains its ancient positions even as modernity infringes on them. He does not shy away from or gloss over sensitive or controversial issues; instead he seems eager to take them on and debunk popular myths, including the widespread notions that Judaism considers women inferior and that Jews do not believe in an afterlife. Even though most chapters number only a few pages, his essays are accurate, entirely to the point, easy to finish without losing interest and convenient to pick up or put down at any time. Freundel's evident mastery of the vast breadth of materials within Jewish thought and law combined with his eloquent and cogent writing makes for an exceptionally worthwhile, inspirational and instructive work that no informed person should be without. (Apr. 21) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Publisher's Weekly Review

Freundel, who counts former presidential candidate Joe Lieberman among his Washington, D.C., congregants, invites readers, Jewish and non-Jewish, to gain a better understanding of Jewish law, tradition and belief in his succinct but thorough analyses of 31 different topics crucial to Orthodox Judaism, such as teshuvah (repentance), Israel, prayer and Shabbat and Kashrut. Each chapter summarizes the central sources upon which the Halakhah (Jewish law) is based in clear, understandable terms and explains the development of the tradition as well as its practical application in today's world. Additionally, Freundel provides all the relevant Orthodox opinions on the matter, including those that he or the law ultimately rejects, and elucidates how and why Jewish law maintains its ancient positions even as modernity infringes on them. He does not shy away from or gloss over sensitive or controversial issues; instead he seems eager to take them on and debunk popular myths, including the widespread notions that Judaism considers women inferior and that Jews do not believe in an afterlife. Even though most chapters number only a few pages, his essays are accurate, entirely to the point, easy to finish without losing interest and convenient to pick up or put down at any time. Freundel's evident mastery of the vast breadth of materials within Jewish thought and law combined with his eloquent and cogent writing makes for an exceptionally worthwhile, inspirational and instructive work that no informed person should be without. (Apr. 21) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
1. Godp. 1
2. The Biblep. 9
3. Halakhah, the Oral Tradition, and Legal Debatep. 28
4. Prophecyp. 40
5. Humankind's Place in Creationp. 47
6. Theodicy: The Problem of Evilp. 54
7. Teshuvahp. 68
8. Gentilesp. 75
9. Israelp. 82
10. The Messiahp. 98
11. Dogmas, Beliefs, and Creedsp. 110
12. Shabbat and Kashrutp. 121
13. The Experience of Prayerp. 131
14. Some Additional Thoughts on Prayerp. 137
15. Tzedakah and Gemilut Hasadimp. 148
16. Mysticismp. 156
17. Miraclesp. 164
18. Afterlifep. 172
19. Astrologyp. 178
20. Authority vs. Autonomyp. 187
21. Ethicsp. 190
22. Beginning of Life: The New Ethical Frontierp. 198
23. End of Life Issues: Transplantation, Definition of Death, Right to Diep. 211
24. Conversion--Who Is a Jew?p. 222
25. Citizenship and the Jewp. 233
26. Evolution and Life on Other Planetsp. 242
27. Tobacco, Drugs, and Alcoholp. 248
28. Abortionp. 256
29. Womenp. 265
30. Sexp. 281
31. The Holocaustp. 292
Sourcesp. 301
Subject Indexp. 334
Introductionp. vii
1. Godp. 1
2. The Biblep. 9
3. Halakhah, the Oral Tradition, and Legal Debatep. 28
4. Prophecyp. 40
5. Humankind's Place in Creationp. 47
6. Theodicy: The Problem of Evilp. 54
7. Teshuvahp. 68
8. Gentilesp. 75
9. Israelp. 82
10. The Messiahp. 98
11. Dogmas, Beliefs, and Creedsp. 110
12. Shabbat and Kashrutp. 121
13. The Experience of Prayerp. 131
14. Some Additional Thoughts on Prayerp. 137
15. Tzedakah and Gemilut Hasadimp. 148
16. Mysticismp. 156
17. Miraclesp. 164
18. Afterlifep. 172
19. Astrologyp. 178
20. Authority vs. Autonomyp. 187
21. Ethicsp. 190
22. Beginning of Life: The New Ethical Frontierp. 198
23. End of Life Issues: Transplantation, Definition of Death, Right to Diep. 211
24. Conversion--Who Is a Jew?p. 222
25. Citizenship and the Jewp. 233
26. Evolution and Life on Other Planetsp. 242
27. Tobacco, Drugs, and Alcoholp. 248
28. Abortionp. 256
29. Womenp. 265
30. Sexp. 281
31. The Holocaustp. 292
Sourcesp. 301
Subject Indexp. 334