In response to Allan Arkush’s summer 2018 cover article on Jews in the American melting pot, an impassioned and unsparing assessment of the future of American Jewry, four leading thinkers weigh in:
- Jack Wertheimer—whose book, The New American Judaism (Princeton, 2018), was the occasion for Arkush’s essay—furnishes the first reply, arguing that Jewish assimilation is not an inexorable process.
- David Biale, a distinguished UC Davis professor of Jewish history, revisits his own provocative 1998 essay, at which Arkush took aim.
- Edieal Pinker, a Yale professor of operations research (and deputy dean in its School of Management) offers a fresh statistical analysis of the 2013 Pew study of the U.S. Jewish community.
- Erica Brown, an award-winning educator and author of 12 books on Bible, Jewish leadership, and more writes: “On the bottom of the pot live Jewish clichés, nostalgia, kitchy-ness, and an uninformed Jewish pride.”
Finally, Allan Arkush responds to his critics.
The bodily joy a group of Boiskers took in fulfilling the commandment to study Torah is still surprising, and that may have something to do with the Torah they chose to study.
In Israel even well-to-do families can be seen scooping bath water out of the tub to water backyard plants and hygiene classes teach students to use the least amount of water when showering and brushing their teeth. Israel's way with water may be the way out chronic water shortages.
Sefer Yeṣirah is the most influential Jewish book you never heard of. Indeed, it has been argued that early commentaries written on the book tilled the gnostic soil out of which sprouted the tree of Kabbalah.
A conversation on reading the Torah theologically, the future of American Judaism, and Jewish–Christian relations.