A powerful and challenging examination of what Jews believe todayby a new generation's dynamic and innovative thinkers.
At every critical juncture in Jewish history, Jews have understood a dynamic theology to be essential for a vital Jewish community. This important collection sets the next stage of Jewish theological thought, bringing together a cross section of interesting new voices from all movements in Judaism to inspire and stimulate discussion now and in the years to come.
Provocative and wide-ranging, these invigorating and creative insights from a new generation's thought leaders provide a coherent and inspiring picture of Jewish belief in our time.
Contributors: Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL • Rabbi Rachel Sabath • Beit-Halachmi, PhD • Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, PhD • Simon Cooper, PhD • Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, PhD • Rabbi Jonathan Crane, PhD • Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum • Eitan Fishbane, PhD • Rabbi Jeremy Gordon • Rabbi Shai Held • Rabbi James Jacobson-Maisels • Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky • Rabbi Naamah Kelman • Rabbi Asher Lopatin • Rabbi Michael Marmur, PhD • Rabbi Evan Moffic • Rabbi Leon A. Morris • Rabbi Daniel Nevins • Rabbi William Plevan • Rabbi Or N. Rose • Benjamin Sax, PhD • Marc B. Shapiro, PhD • Benjamin D. Sommer, PhD • Rabbi Eliyahu Stern
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About the Author
Rabbi Carole B. Balin, PhD, is professor of Jewish history at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. She is currently working on an updated version of the 1984 edition of Liberal Judaism with Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz and Frances W. Schwartz.
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL (www.bradartson.com), an inspiring speaker and educator, holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is vice president of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He is a member of the philosophy department, supervises the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and mentors Camp Ramah in California. He is also dean of Zecharias Frankel College in Potsdam, Germany, ordaining rabbis for the European Union. A regular columnist for the Huffington Post, he is author of many articles and books, including God of Becoming and Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology and Passing Life's Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, the Binding of Isaac (both Jewish Lights).Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL, is available to speak on the following topics:• Almighty? No Way! Loving the God You Actually Believe in• What I Learned Ordaining and Installing Uganda's First African Rabbi (and Sailing up the Nile!)• All God's Children: Sharing Life with My Autistic Son• Embracing the World: Science and Religion• Jewish Continuity: What's in It for Me?
Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, PhD, is a rabbi and scholar who was ordainedat Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and earned a PhD inJewish philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary. She is the ShalomHartman Institute's director of lay leadership education and co-director ofits North American Scholars Circle. She is also a member of the faculty ofHUC–JIR, Jerusalem, and teaches in communities throughout NorthAmerica. She is co-author of two books, Striving Toward Virtue and PreparingYour Heart for the High Holidays, and author of many articles and rituals.She lives outside Jerusalem with her husband, Rabbi Ofer SabathBeit-Halachmi, and their children, Tehillah and Yedidya.
Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, PhD, serves as congregational scholar at CongregationBeth Elohim in Brooklyn, New York. He received his PhD in Jewishhistory from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America and wasordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. RabbiBronstein has taught in a variety of forums, from synagogues to the Associationfor Jewish Studies, the Center for Jewish History, and The JewishTheological Seminary. His writing has been featured in popular and academicpublications, including The Forward, JEWCY, Central Conference ofAmerican Rabbis Journal, and Jews and American Popular Culture and TheCambridge Dictionary of Jewish Religion, History, and Culture.
Simon Cooper, PhD, earned his doctoral degree in contemporary covenantalthought at King's College, London. He is a teaching fellow at the LondonSchool of Jewish Studies and is also editorial assistant for the Journal ofJewish Studies.
Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, PhD, is rabbi at Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan. He received his masters of Hebrew letters from American Jewish University, studied at the Schechter Institute of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem, and was ordained at The Jewish Theological Seminary. He received his doctorate in the history of Judaism from the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Rabbi Jonathan Crane, PhD, a former Wexner Graduate Fellow at HebrewUnion College–Jewish Institute of Religion, is a visiting instructor at theUniversity of Toronto. His scholarship focuses on contemporary Jewishthought, law, and ethics.
Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum is interim rabbi serving alongside RabbiGordon Tucker at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York. She isthe designated associate dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary inJerusalem; former rabbi of congregation Magen Avraham Omer in theIsraeli Negev; former vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel;serves on the boards of several organizations working to achieve religiouspluralism in Israel; and is a writer of contemporary Hebrew poetry andthought. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two daughters.
Eitan Fishbane, PhD, a frequent scholar-in-residence and guest speaker at congregations across North America, is assistant professor of Jewish thought at The Jewish Theological Seminary; author of As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist (Stanford University Press); and co-editor of Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections (Jewish Lights).Eitan Fishbane is available to speak on the following topics:
- God and Theology
Jeremy Gordon is rabbi of New London Synagogue, England. He blogs atwww.rabbionanarrowbridge.blogspot.com.
Rabbi Shai Held is cofounder, rosh ha-yeshiva, and chair in Jewish thought atMechon Hadar in New York City. He is completing a doctoral dissertation on thereligious thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel at Harvard University. He contributedto Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections and Jewish Theology in Our Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations andFuture of Jewish Belief (both Jewish Lights).
Rabbi James Jacobson-Maisels teaches Jewish thought, mysticism, spiritualpractices, and meditation at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies inJerusalem. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Chicago inJewish mysticism and has taught Judaism, Jewish mysticism, and Jewishspiritual practices in a variety of settings in America and Israel.
Jeremy Kalmanofsky is rabbi of congregation Ansche Chesed in New York City.He was ordained at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. His articleshave appeared in a variety of Jewish journals, as well as in Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections and Jewish Theology inOur Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations and Future of JewishBelief (both Jewish Lights). He serves on the editorial board of Conservative Judaism,and is a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of theConservative movement.
Rabbi Naamah Kelman is dean of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Instituteof Religion in Jerusalem. Born and raised in New York City, she has lived inIsrael for over three decades. She is active in feminist causes and a staunchadvocate of a Progressive, pluralistic, democratic Israel.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin is the spiritual leader of Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, a modern Orthodox synagogue in Chicago. On a Rhodes Scholarship, he completed an MPhil in medieval Arabic thought from Oxford University and did doctoral work at Oxford on Islamic fundamentalist attitudes toward Jews. He was ordained by Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik, Yeshivas Brisk, and Yeshiva University. He is the incoming president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, succeeding Rabbi Avi Weiss.
Rabbi Michael Marmur, PhD, is assistant professor of Jewish theology andvice president for academic affairs at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Instituteof Religion (HUC–JIR). He served for over ten years as dean ofHUC–JIR's Jerusalem School, and he is still based there. He specializes inthe thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Rabbi Evan Moffic is senior rabbi of Congregation Solel in Highland Park,Illinois. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute ofReligion, and graduated from Stanford University. In addition to Jewishthought, he has written on American Jewish history, on Zionism, andresponsa related to conversion.
Leon A. Morris is the rabbi of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, New York.He is the founding director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learningat Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. He has contributed essays to thePhiladelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Sh'ma, Jewish Week and Beliefnet, andhas contributed a chapter entitled "Beyond Autonomy" in Platforms andPrayer Books: Theological and Liturgical Perspectives on Reform Judaism.
Rabbi Daniel Nevins is the Pearl Resnick Dean of The Rabbinical School ofThe Jewish Theological Seminary and is the chairman and a senior lecturerin its Department of Professional Skills. He serves on the executive council,joint placement commission, and law committee of the Rabbinical Assembly.Previously he served as senior rabbi of Adat Shalom Synagogue inFarmington Hills, Michigan.
Rabbi William Plevan is a graduate of the Rabbinical School of The JewishTheological Seminary and is currently a pursuing a doctorate in religion atPrinceton University, where he is writing his dissertation on Martin Buber'sphilosophical anthropology. In addition to Jewish thought, his interestsinclude interfaith dialogue, ethics, and political theory.
Rabbi Or N. Rose is an associate dean at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. He is the coauthor of God in All Moments: Mystical and Practical Spiritual Wisdom from Hasidic Masters and coeditor of Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice; Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections and Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from around the Maggid's Table, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (all Jewish Lights).
Benjamin Sax, PhD, is assistant professor in the Department of Religionand Culture and director of the Malcolm and Diane Rosenberg Program inJudaic Studies at Virginia Tech. He received his MA from the Hebrew Universityof Jerusalem and PhD from the University of Chicago.
Marc B. Shapiro, PhD, is the Weinberg Chair of Judaic Studies at the Universityof Scranton. He is author of Between the Yeshiva World and ModernOrthodoxy and The Limits of Orthodox Theology, both of which wereNational Jewish Book Award finalists.
Benjamin D. Sommer, PhD, is professor of Bible and ancient Semitic languagesat The Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously, he served as directorof the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern Universityand as a visiting faculty member at Hebrew University and the Shalom HartmanInstitute. He is currently working on the Jewish Publication Societycommentary on the book of Psalms. His first book, A Prophet Reads Scripture:Allusion in Isaiah 40–66, was awarded the Salo Wittmayer Baron Prizeby the American Academy for Jewish Research. His second book, The Bodiesof God and the World of Ancient Israel, received the Jeremy Schnitzer Prizefrom the Association of Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Eliyahu Stern is assistant professor of modern Jewish intellectual andcultural history at Yale University. He is an American fellow of the ShalomHartman Institute and received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University.He is currently writing a book on Elijah of Vilna.
Table of Contents
Foreword Rabbi David J. Wolpe ix
Preface Rabbi Carole B. Balin xi
The God in Process
I Will Be Who I Will Be: A God of Dynamic Becoming Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson 3
God as the Breath of Life Eitan Fishbane 11
Living and Dreaming with God Rabbi Shai Held 17
Cosmic Theology and Earthly Religion Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky 23
Non-dual Judaism Rabbi James Jacobson-Maisels 31
The Gods of the Text
Open-Source Covenant Rabbi Jonathan Crane 43
More Theos, Less Ology Rabbi Jeremy Gordon 50
A Progressive Reform Judaism Rabbi Evan Moffic 56
Spiritual Mappings: A Jewish Understanding of Religious Diversity Rabbi Or N. Rose 63
The Religion of Torah Benjamin D. Sommer 71
Ways of Talking About God
Five Pillars of Orthodox Judaism Rabbi Asher Lopatin 81
Toward a New Jewish Theological Lexicon Rabbi Michael Marmur 86
Martin Buber: The Dialogue with God Rabbi William Plevan 93
Radically Free and Radically Claimed: Toward the Next Stage of Liberal Jewish Theology Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi 102
Can Traditional Jewish Theology Still Speak to (Some of) Us? Marc B. Shapiro 114
A Quest for God
A Quest-Driven Faith Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove 123
Theological Proximity: The Quest for Intimacy with God Simon Cooper 129
Longing to Hear Again Rabbi Leon A. Morris 135
Walking the Walk Rabbi Daniel Nevins 143
On This Sacred Ground Rabbi Eliyahu Stern 149
The God in Between
The Radical Divinity Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum 159
How I Came to Theology, or Didn't Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein 170
The Theology of the In-Between Benjamin Sax 175
First Fruits of the Seasons of Hope and Renewal Rabbi Naamah Kelman 183
Suggestions for Further Reading 198