Challenge and Continuity: Rabbinic Responses to Modernity, Science and Tragedy

Challenge and Continuity: Rabbinic Responses to Modernity, Science and Tragedy

by Yoni Birnbaum


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Rabbi Birnbaum's well-organised treatment of the relationship between Torah and science provides insightful guidance. —Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ***[A]n enlightening and inspiring account of how Orthodox rabbis responded to some of the unprecedented stresses of modernity.—Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks ***A clear discussion of the nature of orthodox rabbinic response to challenge, considering three key areas: modernity, science, and the Holocaust, written by an excellent scholar.—Dr. Naftali Loewenthal, Adjunct Lecturer in Jewish Spirituality ***One of the central roles of rabbinic leadership has been the ability to analyze the key issues of the day and provide an appropriate response. Great weight is given to both precedent and community tradition, as well the views of earlier rabbinic scholars. This work highlights a variety of rabbinic responses to critical issues presented by modernity and science, as well as examples of spiritual leadership in the course of the tragedy of the Holocaust. It also establishes the continuity of the methodological principles utilized in rabbinic response through a focus on the works of two of the greatest rabbinic scholars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Chatam Sofer and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein respectively.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781910383407
Publisher: Vallentine Mitchell
Publication date: 06/01/2017
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum, Rabbi of the Hadley Wood Jewish Community since 2010, is an alumnus of the Ponovezh Yeshivah and received his ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He holds a law degree from the Open University, and an MA in Jewish Studies from University College London, where he is currently studying for a PhD on inclusivism in the Orthodox responsa literature of twentieth century America. He is a frequent contributor to local and national media and a member of the Associate Faculty of the London School of Jewish Studies.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgements xi

Part I Response to Modernity 1

1 Introduction 3

2 A Question of Source 5

3 Two Great Rabbinic Leaders: A Historical Overview 21

4 Responding to Modernity 25

Part II Response to Science 39

5 An Overview of Rabbinic Perspectives 41

Part III Response to Tragedy 49

6 Introduction: Spiritual Resistance - Rabbinic Leadership during the Holocaust 51

7 Warsaw 56

8 Kovno 61

9 Vilna 66

Bibliography 75

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