Judaism in Culture: Much Ado About Nothing

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There has already been quite a bit of buzz about Dr. Alan Brill’s article in the recently released issue of The Edah Journal, titled “Judaism in Culture: Beyond the Bifurcation of Torah and Madda.” Frankly, I don’t see the big deal. He writes as if this were his manifesto but it seems to me to be one of the most confused and confusing articles I have read in a long time. It is certainly true to its sociological basis: Like most sociology, it is 1/3 obvious observations, 1/3 terminology games and 1/3 nonsense.

The main take-away of value that I got from this article is that Modern Orthodoxy has to come to grips with the Post-Modern academic world. From where I am sitting, Post-Modernism can be not only consistent but helpful to traditional Judaism. But that brings us to the topic of our next post, discussing a coherent contribution to Torah and scholarship.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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