The interface of Jewish and Christian theology has always been vexing. Partly this is because of the intrinsically incommensurate realities of the two faiths. And partly it has been because of Christian interpreters' uncritical practice of supersessionism, which has been combined with political power that is used in controlling and abusive ways.
Academic theology can have a future only if theologians themselves are interested in it. Why should anybody else read it if theologians are so caught up in experimenting with every philosophical movement and political program that they ignore their own field? If this volume is any indication, theology seems to have rediscovered itself as a tradition with its own resources and issues.
What came first, the chicken of belief or the egg of ritual? And how do they relate to each other? This is a central question posed by Arnold Eisen in his absorbing and wide-ranging account of contemporary Jewish practice. The transformation of that practice resulted from two events sparked by the French Revolution: the Enlightenment and the emancipation of the Jews.
The scenario might have seemed unlikely: prominent Muslims and Jews from the United States trekking across the Atlantic in mournful, spiritual solidarity to visit two Nazi concentration camps—and doing it together.
In a major shift, Reform rabbis have publicly acknowledged intermarriage as a given that calls for increased outreach and understanding, rather than as a threat to Jewish identity that must be resisted at all costs.
I went to Lübeck, Germany, this summer to explore my recently discovered Jewish roots. My grandfather built a successful ironworks plant in Lübeck and lived there until he and my grandmother were sent to the concentration camp where he died. I wanted to visit St. Mary’s Church, where my grandparents brought my father to be baptized as a toddler.