Jewish thought

April 23, 2014

Contemporary Jewish Theology: A Reader, edited by Elliot N. Dorff and Louis E. Newman. Here is an introduction to Jewish thought in bite-size pieces. This fine collection offers good tastes of the writings of great Jewish theologians of the early 20th century (such as Martin Buber, Mordecai Kaplan, and Abraham Joshua Heschel), with contemporary reflections on major themes from creation to Israel.

The Future of Jewish Theology, by Steven Kepnes. For theologian Kepnes, nothing is more important in the future of Jewish religion than holiness: holiness in ethics, prayer, prophecy, study, human relations, and ritual time and space. This is an elegant and compassionate journey into the Jewish spirit.

New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future, by Elyse Goldstein. The past few decades have seen remarkable changes in the place and role of women in Judaism. Reflection on those changes offers one of the most important sources of insight into Judaism today. This collection offers a broad introduction to the most recent thought on Judaism and women and on Jewish feminism.

Health Care and the Ethics of Encounter: A Jewish Discussion of Social Justice, by Laurie Zoloth. Health care is a perennial focus of rabbinic thinking and Jewish concern. Zoloth, a leading bioethicist, brings deep Jewish thinking to issues of health care in contemporary American society. Adapting a classic rabbinic practice, her teaching integrates worldly narratives with keen and compassionate ethical reflection.

Justice in the City: An Argument from the Sources of Rabbinic Judaism, by Aryeh Cohen. Rabbinic scholar, social activist, and teacher for our times, Cohen employs the ethical reasoning of the classical Jewish sources and draws on the street smarts of a labor organizer to address the injustices of our day.