Orthodoxy, Unorthodoxy, and Paradox: Review of “Faith Shattered and Restored: Judaism in the Postmodern Age,” by Rav Shagar

Like so many American Orthodox Jews, I had scarcely heard of Rabbi Shimon Gershon Rosenberg, or “Rav Shagar,” until relatively recently, despite having spent two years learning in a hesder yeshiva. In fact, I had never heard of him at all while in Israel, but began to slowly take notice as, ... Read more →

Lessons in Mishnaic Moderation from R. Benny Lau

Reviewed Book: Binyamin Lau, The Sages, Vol. III: The Galilean Period (Jerusalem, Israel: Maggid Books, 2013) The Sages: Part III is the third installment of Binyamin Lau’s fascinating attempt to paint the lives and deeds of Hazal through descriptions found in the oral tradition. The first ... Read more →

Walking the Tight Rope Called Life

Reviewed Book: Reuven Ziegler, Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (Jerusalem: Urim Publications). Yeshiva University is an institution that seeks to exemplify the relationship between Torah u-Madda, a philosophy adopted by the university in 1946 as its ... Read more →

On Torah Values and the Courage to Rebuild: A Review of The Legacy

Reviewed Book: R. Berel Wein and R. Warren Goldstein, The Legacy: Teachings for Life from the Great Lithuanian Rabbis (New Milford, CT and Jerusalem, Israel: Maggid Books, 2012).  Available for purchase at or via   “Lithuanian Jewry is no more,” writes ... Read more →

All About the Blue

Reviewed Book: Baruch Sterman, The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2012)   In the past twenty years, a new candidate has emerged for the biblical tekhelet, a central component of the mitsvah of tsitsit as ... Read more →

Teshuvah: Inspiration and Action

Reviewed Book: Erica Brown, Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe (Jerusalem, Israel, and New York, NY: Maggid Books and OU Press, 2012). When a reader first picks up a book, the first thing he or she sees is the title. Sometimes, the title of a book can be vague. It may be some […]

Rethinking Reason and Revelation

Reviewed Book: Yoram Hazony, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (New York: Cambridge UP, 2012). When a book garners praise from both Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who called the work “paradigm shifting,”[i] and Harvard linguist and psychologist Steven Pinker, who called it a “great ... Read more →

Tortured Masters: Heresy, Hegemony, and the Historiography of Hasidut

Reviewed Book: David Assaf, Untold Tales of the Hasidim: Crisis and Discontent in the History of Hasidism(Hanover, NH: University of New England, 2010).   “All my life is one long chain of suppressed desires, concealed ideas, shattered cravings and wishes,” wrote a young Rabbi Yitzchak ... Read more →

A Jerusalem of Bizarre Thrills

Reviewed Film: Footnote (Hebrew: He’arat Shulayim), Dir. Joseph Cedar, Perf. Shlomo Bar Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Alisa Rosen (United King Films, 2011). “The reception of my film here in [New York City] is especially crucial for me, second only to its reception in Jerusalem. Not because there ... Read more →

The Making of a Rosh Yeshivah Biography

Reviewed Book: Elyashiv Reichner, By Faith Alone: The Story of Rabbi Yehuda Amital (New Milford, CT: Maggid Books, 2011).   Biographies have the power to humanize even the most herculean warriors, the most charismatic statesman, the holiest saints. Relating an accomplished person’s ... Read more →

Strictly Kosher: How Haredi Literature Reflects and Influences Haredi Culture

Reviewed Book: Yoel Finkelman, Strictly Kosher Reading: Popular Literature and the Condition of Contemporary Orthodoxy (Boston, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2011). Even at Yeshiva University, a Modern Orthodox institution, students are familiar with the haredi, or Yeshivish, community. This ... Read more →

The Untraveled Road from Ma’aleh Adumim to Alon Shevut

Reviewed Book: Haim Sabato, In Quest of Your Presence: Conversations with Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Yedioth Aharonoth Books and Chemed Books, 2011). This past Rosh Hodesh Elul, for the first time in recent Israeli publishing history, a non-fiction book was sold out before ... Read more →

The Relationship of Orthodox Jews Believing in Denomination and Non-Denomination Believing Jews

The Relationship of Orthodox Jews Believing in Denomination and Non-Denomination Believing Jews BY: Shlomo Zuckier Reviewed Book: Adam Mintz (ed.), The Relationship of Orthodox Jews with Believing Jews of Other Religious Ideologies and Non-Believing Jews (New York: Yeshiva University Press; ... Read more →

The ArtScroll Revolution Examined: Religious Print Culture in the Information Age

BY: Shlomo Zuckier. Reviewed Book: Jeremy Stolow, Orthodox by Design: Judaism, Print Politics, and the ArtScroll Revolution (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2010). Price: $24.95. Known as “the people of the book,” Jews, one might say, are perhaps the ... Read more →