There’s an old joke where a Jewish grandmother is watching her two grandchildren. Someone asks her how old the children are. She replies with nachas that the doctor is 4 and the lawyer is 2. The joke underscores how important and pervasive the medical profession is within modern Jewish culture.
In “Jews in Medicine: Contributions to Health and Healing Through the Ages,” Ronald Eisenberg, MD, a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and radiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has written a fascinating work that details the substantial contributions of Jews in the medical field from Talmudic times to the current era.
In “The Lonely Man of Faith,” Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik writes that he has never been seriously troubled by the problem of the Biblical doctrine of creation vis-à-vis the scientific story of evolution at both the cosmic and the organic levels. While it was not a problem for him, it can nonetheless be quite disconcerting for some people. For many others, the supposed scientific conflicts between the Chumash and modern science has them leaving the world of faith for the world of science.
There is a leading belief in Kabbalah that the Tetragrammaton, the four lettered Hebrew name of God, serves as a model for the ideal of spiritual living. Each letter of the Name corresponds to a certain aspect of God and a specific phase of spiritual growth. At the same time, the four letters correspond to the four stages of the traditional Jewish morning prayer. This prayer serves as a spiritual exercise through which a person may cultivate the spiritual virtues associated with each of the four letters of God’s Name.
In “The Jewish Spiritual Path: The Way of the Name” by Rabbi Joshua Golding (Professor of Philosophy specializing in Philosophy of Religion and Jewish Philosophy at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky) combines a theoretical presentation of Kabbalistic concepts with practical guidance rooted in prayer to cultivate a deep spirituality based on the moral and mystical teachings of Judaism. “The Jewish Spiritual Path” provides both an extended commentary on prayer and an intellectually rigorous spiritual self-help book.
Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, “The Jewish Spiritual Path” is an extraordinary study that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it a valued and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, rabbinical, community, and academic library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental studies lists.
Zvika Levy, Israel Prize-winning ‘father of lone soldiers,’ dies aged 70
Zvika (Zvi) Levy, an Israel Prize-winning social activist known as “the father of lone soldiers” in Israel, passed away on Saturday at age 70 after years of suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a muscular disease.
Levy founded the Lone Soldiers organization in 1997, which supports some 3,500 young people annually who leave their families, usually abroad, to volunteer for Israeli army service. The organization also serves more than 1,500 Israeli soldiers who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or are estranged from their parents.
After a long career in the paratroopers unit, he has looked after lone soldiers from more than 40 countries, with most coming from the former Soviet Union, the US, Europe, Ethiopia, and South America.
In the ceremony for the Israel Prize in 2017, Levy accepted his award from a wheelchair, to a standing ovation.
Rabbi Soloveitchik was a great teacher and philosopher
whose views on Judaism and Zionism have influenced several generations of
modern Orthodox Jews, as well as the general Jewish community. Even non-Jews
have demonstrated interest in his ethical philosophy, such as the book written
by the Jesuit priest, Christian Rutishauser for his doctoral thesis: The Human Condition and
the Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (Jersey City, Ktav, 2013).
The essays edited by Kanarfogel and Schwartz examine Soloveitchik’s views of ethics, Biblical hermeneutics, love and cognition, and the history of the Tosafists. The essays are scholarly with copious footnotes, and they are aimed at experts in the field. For this reader, the most interesting contribution was the last in the book: a bibliographic review of the scholarship on Soloveitchik’s thought. Overall, the essays demonstrate that Soloveitchik’s writings on Jewish law and the human experience, while sometimes dated, will continue to apply today and in the future.
This book is recommended for all libraries; however, the scholarly nature of the book may limit its broad appeal.
In his paper “Is There Science in the Bible? An Assessment of Biblical Concordism,” Rabbi Dr. David Shatz writes that “some distinguished scientists, for some reason mostly physicists, push for concordist readings. Other intellectuals, for example those immersed in the humanities, are as a rule wary of, or put off by, such interpretations.” Concordism is a system of textual interpretation that is meant to establish a fusion between biblical texts and scientific data.