“The New Jewish Canon” edited by Yehuda Kurtzer and Claire E.Sufrin— A Text and a Textbook

Kurtzer, Yehuda and Claire E. Sufrin, editors. “The New Jewish Canon”,Academic Studies Press, 2020.

A Text and a Textbook

Amos Lassen

During the last two centuries and into the 21stthere have been many new thoughts about Jewish ideas and major changes have occurred in Jewish life.  These have brought about debates because changes have happened so rapidly. In Yehuda Kurtzer and Claire E. Sufrin’s “The New Jewish Canon”, we see how to make sense of what has happened. Eighty excerpts from primary texts along with essays about these texts, we gain an understanding of how these changes can be understood. Leading Jewish scholars look at  “history and memory, Jewish politics and the public square, religion and religiosity, and identities and communities”, there are bound to beconversations about what is included here. Here are the important ideas and debates of the past two generations as well as debate and scholarship about what is to come.

I have read several articles about why “admitted, unrepentant sexual predators who happen to be Jewish intellectuals are accepted by the Jewish community as if they had done nothing wrong and they are included here. Three admitted Jewish sex abusers are included in the book— Ari Shavit, Leon Wieseltier and Steven M. Cohan. These three man were“once significant figures in the Jewish intellectual world but were dismissed from their professional positions after revelations of their serial sexual abuse of multiple women over many years.”.

Table of Contents

Introduction: “The State of Jewish Ideas: Towards a New Jewish Canon”

  1. Jewish Politics and the Public Square
  2. Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution, 1985
    Essay: William Galston
  3. George Steiner, “Our Homeland, the Text,” 1985; Judith Butler, “Judith Butler’s Remarks to Brooklyn College on BDS,” 2013
    Essay: Julie Cooper
  4. Jonathan Woocher, Sacred Survival: The Civil Religion of American Jews, 1986
    Essay: Sylvia Fishman
  5. Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947–1949, 1987; and The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, 2004;Ari Shavit, “Survival of the Fittest? An Interview with Benny Morris,” 2004 and “Lydda, 1948,” 2013
    Essay: Daniel Kurtzer
  6. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg vs. Meir Kahane, Public Debate at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, 1988
    Essay: Shaul Magid
  7. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Eliezer Goldman (ed.), Judaism, Human Values, and the Jewish State, 1992
    Essay: Joshua Shanes
  8. Israeli Supreme Court Part 1: Israeli Knesset Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, 1992; Aharon Barak, “A Judge on Judging: The Role of a Supreme Court in a Democracy,” January 2002
    Essay: Yigal Mersel 
  9. Aharon Lichtenstein, “On the Murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin z”l,” 1995
    Essay: David Wolkenfeld
  10. Aviezer Ravitzky, Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism, 1996
    Essay: Yehuda Magid
  11. Israeli Supreme Court Part 2: The Israeli Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice, Horev v. Minister of Transportation, 1997; The Israeli Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice: Baruch Marzel v. Jerusalem District Police Commander, Mr. Aharon Franco, 2002 
    Essay: Donniel Hartman 
  12. Samuel G. Freedman, Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry, 2000
    Essay: Noam Pianko
  13. Breaking the Silence Testimonies, Founded in 2004
    Essay: Sarah Anne Minkin
  14. Steven M. Cohen and Jack Wertheimer, “Whatever Happened to the Jewish People?,” 2006
    Essay: Erica Brown
  15. Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur, Torat HaMelekh, 2009
    Essay: Hillel Ben-Sasson
  16. Moshe Halbertal, “The Goldstone Illusion,” 2009
    Essay: Elana Stein Hain
  17. Peter Beinart, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” 2010
    Essay: Sara Yael Hirschhorn
  18. Daniel Gordis, “When Balance Becomes Betrayal”  and Sharon Brous, “Lowering the Bar,” 2012
    Essay: Yehuda Kurtzer
  19. Matti Friedman, “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth,” 2014
    Essay: Rachel Fish
  20. History, Memory and Narrative
  21. David Hartman, “Auschwitz or Sinai?,” 1982
    Essay: Rachel Sabath Beit Halachmi
  22. Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory, 1982
    Essay: Alexander Kaye
  23. Emil Fackenheim, To Mend the World, 1982
    Essay: Benjamin Pollock
  24. Robert M. Cover, “The Supreme Court, 1982 Term—Foreword: Nomos and Narrative,” 1983 
    Essay: Christine Hayes
  25. Kahan Commission (Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Events at the Refugee Camps in Beirut), 1983 
    Essay: Yehuda Kurtzer 
  26. Amos Oz, In the Land of Israel, 1983
    Essay: Wendy Zierler
  27. David Biale, Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History, 1986
    Essay: Judah Bernstein
  28. Elie Wiesel, Acceptance Speech, on the Occasion of the Award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, 1986
    Essay: Claire E. Sufrin
  29. Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, 1986
    Essay: Sarah Cushman
  30. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, “The Third Great Cycle of Jewish History,” 1987
    Essay: Joshua Feigelson
  31. Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust, 1993; Yaffa Eliach, There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok, 1998 
    Essay: Yehuda Kurtzer
  32. Haym Soloveitchik, “Rupture and Reconstruction,” 1994
    Essay: Yehuda Kurtzer
  33. Naomi Seidman, “Elie Wiesel and the Scandal of Jewish Rage,” 1996
    Essay: Erin Leib Smokler 
  34. Dabru Emet, New York Times, 2000
    Essay: Marcie Lenk
  35. Jonathan Sarna, American Judaism: A History, 2004
    Essay: Marc Dollinger
  36. David Weiss Halivni, Breaking the Tablets: Jewish Theology After the Shoah,2007
    Essay: Daniel Weiss
  37. Ruth Wisse, “How Not to Remember and How Not to Forget,” 2008
    Essay: Dara Horn
  38. Yossi Klein Halevi, Like Dreamers, 2013
    Essay: Hannah Kober

III. Religion and Religiosity

  1. Joseph Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man, 1983
    Essay: Shlomo Zuckier
  2. Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth, Shemirath Shabbath Kehilchathah, 1984 
    Essay: David Bashevkin
  3. David Hartman, A Living Covenant: The Innovative Spirit in Traditional Judaism, 1985
    Essay: David Ellenson
  4. The Complete Artscroll Siddur, 1984
    Essay: David Zvi Kalman
  5. Neil Gillman, Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew, 1990; Eugene Borowitz, Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew, 1991
    Essay: Michael Marmur
  6. Rachel Adler “In Your Blood, Live: Re-visions of a Theological Purity,” 1993
    Essay: Gail Labovitz
  7. Rodger Kamenetz, The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India, 1994
    Essay: Or Rose
  8. Avivah Gottleib Zornberg, Genesis: The Beginning of Desire, 1995
    Essay: Shira Hecht-Koller
  9. Abraham Joshua Heschel, Susannah Heschel (ed.), Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity, 1996
    Essay: William Plevan
  10. Noam Zion and David Dishon, A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah, 1997
    Essay: Emily Filler
  11. Mendel Shapiro, “Qeri’at HaTorah by Women: A Halakhic Analysis,” 2001
    Essay: Tova Hartman
  12. Jonathan Sacks, Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations, London: Continuum,2002
    Essay: Michal Raucher
  13. Rav Shagar, Broken Vessels, 2004
    Essay: Tomer Persico
  14. Arthur Green, Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Tradition, 2010; Daniel Landes, “Hidden Master,” 2010; Arthur Green and Daniel Landes, “God, Torah, and Israel: An Exchange,” 2011
    Essay: Samuel Hayim Brody
  15. Elie Kaunfer, Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities, 2010
    Essay: Shawn Landres and Josh Avedon
  16. Identities and Communities
  17. Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Letter to the Jewish Community of Teaneck, 1981
    Essay: Jonathan Sarna
  18. Blu Greenberg, On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition, 1981
    Essay: Rachel Gordan
  19. Harold Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, 1981; Alan Lew, This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation, 2003
    Essay: Joshua Ladon
  20. Evelyn Torton Beck (ed.), Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology, 1982; Susannah Heschel (ed.), On Being a Jewish Feminist, 1983
    Essay: Claire E. Sufrin
  21. Paul Cowan with Rachel Cowan, Mixed Blessings: Overcoming the Stumbling Blocks in an Interfaith Marriage, 1988
    Essay: Samira Mehta
  22. Judith Plaskow, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective, 1990
    Essay: Judith Rosenbaum
  23. Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America, 1991
    Essay: Arielle Levites
  24. Barry Kosmin, “Highlights of the CJF 1990 National Jewish Population Survey,” 1991; “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” 2013
    Essay: Mijal Bitton
  25. Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Literacy, 1991; Paula Hyman, “Who is an Educated Jew?” 2002; Vanessa Ochs, “Ten Jewish Sensibilities,” 2003
    Essay: Hannah Pressman
  26. Yaakov Levado, “Gayness and God: Wrestlings of an Orthodox Rabbi,” 1993
    Essay: Zev Farber
  27. Leonard Fein, “Smashing Idols and Other Prescriptions for Jewish Continuity,” 1994
    Essay: Aryeh Cohen
  28. Steven M. Cohen and Arnold M. Eisen, The Jew Within: Self, Family, and Community in America, 2000
    Essay: Alan Brill
  29. A. B. Yehoshua, “The Meaning of Homeland,” 2006
    Essay: James Loeffler
  30. Elliot N. Dorff, Daniel S. Nevins, and Avram I. Reisner, “Homosexuality, Human Dignity, and Halakhah: A Combined Responsum for the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards,” 2006 
    Essay: Jane Kanarek
  31. Noah Feldman “Orthodox Paradox,” 2007; Jay Lefkowitz, “The Rise of Social Orthodoxy: A Personal Account,” 2014
    Essay: Elli Fischer
  32. Tamar Biala and Nechama Weingarten-Mintz (eds.), Dirshuni: Midrashei Nashim, 2009
    Essay: Sarah Mulhern
  33. Leon Wieseltier, “Language, Identity, and the Scandal of American Jewry,” 2011
    Essay: Jon Levisohn
  34. Ruth Calderon, Inaugural Knesset Speech, “The Heritage of All Israel,” 2013
    Essay: Yossi Klein Halevi
  35. Rick Jacobs, “The Genesis of Our Future,” 2013
    Essay: Dan Friedman

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