JBuzz News February 29, 2012: Senator Carl Levin joins Eastern Michigan University for kick-off of Jewish Studies program

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EMU: Senator Carl Levin joins Eastern Michigan University for kick-off of Jewish Studies program (VIDEO)

Source: Heritage News, 2-29-12

U.S. Senator Carl Levin speaks at the kick-off celebration for Eastern Michigan University’s Jewish Studies program. The minor program began accepting students in fall 2011.

Eastern Michigan University kicked off its new minor program in Jewish Studies on Thursday afternoon in the ballroom of the EMU Student Center. The university was joined in its celebration by U.S. Senator Carl Levin, D – Michigan, who gave the keynote address on his upbringing, Jewish values, and the similarities between the Jewish experience and the immigrant experience.

VIDEO: Heritage Media was in attendance for Levin’s keynote address, and spoke to him briefly afterwards. Check out the video here

JBuzz Op-eds February 28, 2012: Jonathan D. Sarna: General Ulysses S. Grant’s Uncivil War Against The Jews

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Jonathan D. Sarna: Gen. Grant’s Uncivil War Against The Jews

Source: NY Jewish Week, 2-28-12

Ulysses S. Grant.
Ulysses S. Grant.

The surprising tale of how he turned into ‘America’s Haman.’

Purim serves as an appropriate moment to recall a man known for a time as “America’s Haman.” That Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s story ended very differently than the story of Haman in the Book of Esther reminds us how America itself is different, and how often it has surprised Jews for the better.

On Dec. 17, 1862, as the Civil War entered its second winter, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant issued the most Haman-like order in American history: “The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.” Known as General Orders No. 11, the document blamed “Jews, as a class” for the widespread smuggling and cotton speculation that affected the area under Grant’s command. It required them to leave a vast war zone stretching from northern Mississippi to Cairo, Ill., and from the Mississippi River to the Tennessee River.

Less than 72 hours after the order was issued, Grant’s forces at Holly Springs, Miss., were raided, knocking out rail and telegraph lines and disrupting lines of communication for weeks. As a result, news of General Orders No. 11 spread slowly, and did not reach company commanders and army headquarters in Washington in a timely fashion. Many Jews who might otherwise have been banished were spared.

A copy of General Orders No. 11 finally reached Paducah, Ky. — a city occupied by Grant’s forces — 11 days after it was issued. Cesar Kaskel, a staunch union supporter, as well as all the other known Jews in the city, were handed papers ordering them “to leave the city of Paducah, Kentucky, within twenty-four hours.” As they prepared to abandon their homes, Kaskel and several other Jews dashed off a telegram to President Abraham Lincoln describing their plight.

Lincoln, in all likelihood, never saw that telegram. He was busy preparing to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. The irony of his freeing the slaves while Grant was expelling the Jews was not lost on contemporaries. Some Jewish leaders feared that Jews would replace blacks as the nation’s stigmatized minority.

Kaskel decided to appeal to Abraham Lincoln in person. Paul Revere-like, he sped down to Washington, spreading news of General Orders No. 11 wherever he went. With help from a friendly congressman, he obtained an immediate interview with the president, who turned out to have no knowledge whatsoever of the order, for it had not reached Washington. According to an oft-quoted report, he resorted to biblical imagery in his interview with Kaskel, a reminder of how many 19th-century Americans linked Jews to Ancient Israel, and America to the Promised Land:

“And so,” Lincoln is said to have drawled, “the children of Israel were driven from the happy land of Canaan?”

“Yes,” Kaskel responded, “and that is why we have come unto Father Abraham’s bosom, asking protection.”

“And this protection,” Lincoln declared “they shall have at once.”

General-in-Chief of the Army Henry Halleck, ordered by Lincoln to countermand General Orders No. 11, chose his words carefully.  “If such an order has been issued,” his telegram read, “it will be immediately revoked.”

In a follow-up meeting with Jewish leaders, Lincoln reaffirmed that he knew “of no distinction between Jew and Gentile. To condemn a class,” he emphatically declared, “is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad. I do not like to hear a class or nationality condemned on account of a few sinners.”…READ MORE

JBuzz News February 27, 2012: State of American Jewish belief symposium March 4 Hosted by the Center for Jewish Studies of the University of Chicago & Spertus Institute

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State of American Jewish belief

Source: JUF News, 2-27-12

The Center for Jewish Studies of the University of Chicago (in cooperation with Spertus Institute) will hold a one-day symposium on the topic “The State of American Jewish Belief Revisited: At the Edge of a Crisis or at a New Threshhold?” on Sunday, March 4 at Spertus Institute, 610 S. Michigan Ave.

Speakers will include:

Rachel Adler, Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Judaism and Gender, Hebrew Union College-Los Angeles

Saul Berman, Professor, Yeshiva University; Founder, Edah

Arnold Eisen, Chancellor and Professor of Jewish Thought, Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, Stanford University

David Ellenson, President and Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Arthur Green, Rector of the Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Hebrew College, Boston; Professor Emeritus, Brandeis University; and formerly Dean and President, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1984-1993)

Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor of American Studies, University of Minnesota

Recent studies have pointed to declining synagogue membership and denominational identification as signs of a crisis in contemporary American Judaism, a situation usually interpreted as sociological in nature. This symposium will focus on the theological dimensions of the perceived crisis. Six leading thinkers from all streams of American Judaism will come together to share their unique vantage points on the question, put it somewhat provocatively:

Is American Judaism theologically bankrupt?  The symposium will address both the possible causes of this perceived crisis and constructive proposals to counter it. What possibilities exist in, and are specific to, the American Jewish experience that may enable us to re-think Jewish theology?  How can American Judaism best understand, employ, and capitalize on resources within traditional Jewish theological thought in order to address challenges specific to the American Jewish experience at this time?

This conference is the second in a series that the University of Chicago Center for Jewish Studies is holding as part of its mission to engage the Chicago community – and the wider American Jewish community – in intellectually challenging discussions addressing questions of urgent importance to American Judaism and the Jewish people. The first in the series, held in March 2011, addressed themes in the thought of Eliezer Berkovits, an Orthodox Jewish Theologian.

The program will conclude with a reception and is open to the community at no charge. To register, e-mail uofcconference@spertus.edu. or call (312) 322-1773.

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies is a partner in serving our community, supported by the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

JBuzz News February 23, 2012: Senator Carl Levin praises Eastern Michigan University for new Jewish Studies Minor program, speaks about Jewish-American experience

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Senator Carl Levin praises EMU for new program, speaks about Jewish- American experience

Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) spoke at the kick-off for Eastern Michigan University’s new Jewish Studies minor program and discussed various aspects of the Jewish-American experience.

“The Jewish experience very much begins with the immigrant experience,” Levin explained to a crowd of about 175 individuals from the EMU and local communities. “There are plenty of examples of anti-semitism, but for the most part, Jewish immigrants were able to overcome that and leave hatred behind.”

Senator-20-2029

Anmar Alnimar / THE EASTERN ECHO

Levin shared his own family history, telling stories of his grandparents who came to America poor and built successful businesses.

Levin also talked about other important issues within the Jewish community; among these were a sense of community, support for Israel and a commitment to education. He put particular emphasis on the pursuit of social justice and patriotism.

“People should be treated fairly, particularly as it relates to people who are poor and people who have been left behind,” Levin said….READ MORE

JBuzz News & Reviews February 22, 2012: James Loeffler: University of Virgina Professor Explores Lost History of Russian-Jewish Composers

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U.Va. Professor Explores Lost History of Russian-Jewish Composers

Source: UVA Today, 2-22-12

James Loeffler

(Photo: Jack Looney)

University of Virginia historian James Loeffler explores the lost world of Jewish composers working in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution in his new, award-winning book.

“The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire,” examines composers who viewed themselves as both Jewish and Russian and who saw their work contributing to both identities. He focuses on the second half of the 19th century through the Russian Revolution, covering two generations of composers.

“It is an attempt to rethink the stock image of the Jewish experience in Eastern Europe,” said Loeffler, an assistant professor of history in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The research director of Pro Musica Hebraica, Loeffler is a pianist who has been actively involved in Jewish music for the past decade as a scholar, critic and performer. He co-founded the Jewish Music Forum, a new national academic organization supported by the American Society for Jewish Music and the Center for Jewish History in New York, and has served as a music consultant to numerous organizations and institutions.

Loeffler’s book has been lauded by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, receiving its Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicology Book, and the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, which presented him the University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies. His work was a finalist for the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, which recognizes the important role of emerging writers in examining the Jewish experience.

Loeffler’s book fills an important void in the scholarship of these composers, said Joel Rubin, an assistant professor and director of music performance in U.Va.’s McIntire Department of Music.

“This is the first substantial piece of research on this movement,” Rubin said. “A lot of what had existed before was old and romantic and not up to the standards of scholarship we are used to today. It is important he has tackled the subject and I am happy to have more material I can teach to my students.”

Rubin said the composers were influenced by Zionism and feelings of national aspiration, as well as by their Christian Russian contemporaries to create artistic music with Jewish roots. He said Western classical music evolved over a long time, without much contribution from Jews until the latter part of the 19th century.

“These are people who left the shtetl and went to the conservatory,” Loeffler said. “These are the contemporaries of Piotyr Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and later Igor Stravinsky.” Among them was Anton Rubinstein, a Russian-Jewish pianist and composer and a founder of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, the first in Russia.

“The people I write about are complex, but they felt they had to be validated by others,” Loeffler said. “They thought they were Russians and Jews and that they didn’t have to choose. They thought they were furthering classical music, that their twin identities would feed into each other and that they would be more accepted. And for a brief period they were heralded as the young guns, bringing Russian classical music into the modern era.”

But the brief period did not last. Loeffler said they had to choose an identity; if they did not choose, one was assigned.

“They believed art would transcend politics, but they found that it didn’t,” Loeffler said. “The Russian culture liked Jewish music, but it didn’t like Jews.”

Russian composers, though, wrote on many classic Jewish themes, Loeffler said, citing Dmitri Shostakovich and his the song cycle “From Jewish Folk Poetry” and his 13th Symphony, subtitled “Babi Yar.”

“It becomes a symbol that represents to liberals a freer, more pluralistic Russia that embraces minorities and allows free expression – or it warns of the dangers of a fifth column within the society,” Loeffler said. “It becomes a barometer of what kind of Russian you are.”…READ MORE

JBuzz Reviews February 22, 2012: Historian Harold Holzer Reviews Jonathan Sarna’s When General Grant Expelled the Jews

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“When General Grant Expelled the Jews” by Jonathan Sarna

By Harold Holzer

Source: WaPo, 2-22-12

WHEN GENERAL GRANT EXPELLED THE JEWS

By Jonathan D. Sarna

Nextbook/Schocken. 201 pp. $24.95

 

Not all Civil War-era Jews were speculators, peddlers or smugglers, and not all Civil War-era speculators, peddlers and smugglers were Jews. But Americans living through the rebellion — and many crises before and since — often cast blame on the tiny minority that 19th-century Northerners and Southerners often referred to as “the Israelites.” Shocking as it seems, one of the most notorious offenders was the greatest Union hero of the war: Ulysses S. Grant.

That Grant harbored anti-Semitic inclinations should come as no surprise. He was educated at West Point and spent years in the Army, both bastions of period intolerance. In 1862, he assumed a particularly chaotic military command, including border states technically loyal to the Union but filled with slave-owners and Confederate sympathizers. Into this combustible mix swarmed speculators eager to turn chaos into cash — among them, certainly, Jewish ones. Grant and his chief lieutenant, William T. Sherman, groused about the Jews’ presence repeatedly but initially kept their concerns to themselves.

General Grant

(Knopf) – ’When General Grant Expelled the Jews’ by Jonathan D. Sarna

What apparently sent Grant over the edge was the arrival of another camp follower — his greedy father, accompanied by three Jewish business partners, all eager to use the general to secure profitable cotton-trading permits. Grant blamed the Jews.

Still, no historian has been able to fully understand — much less justify — why, on Dec. 17, 1862, Grant issued his notorious General Orders No. 11 deporting Jewish citizens. “The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade,” went the chilling text, “. . . are hereby expelled from [his command in the West] within twenty-four hours.” Those returning would be “held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners.” Just two weeks before Abraham Lincoln was scheduled to extend freedom to one minority group with the Emancipation Proclamation, his most promising general thus initiated a virtual pogrom against another.

In the end, as the gifted and resourceful historian Jonathan D. Sarna points out in this compelling page-turner, General Orders No. 11 uprooted fewer than 100 Jews. But for a few weeks, he suggests, it terrorized and infuriated the Union’s entire Jewish population. It also inspired one of the community’s first effective lobbying campaigns. Jewish newspapers compared Grant to Haman, the infamous vizier of Persia in the Book of Esther. A delegation of Jewish leaders traveled to the White House to protest directly to the president, who quickly but quietly had the order revoked, eager to right a wrong but reluctant to humiliate a valuable military commander. As Lincoln carefully put it, “I do not like to hear a class or nationality condemned on account of a few sinners.” He never mentioned the episode publicly.

Grant tried not to as well, understandably omitting it from his otherwise exhaustive memoirs. In 1868, however, he did issue a letter confessing: “I do not pretend to sustain the Order. . . . [It] was issued and sent without any reflection and without thinking of the Jews as a sect or race. . . . I have no prejudice against sect or race.” But Sarna notes that this weak and “self-serving” statement — neither an admission nor an apology — “did not actually bear close scrutiny.” Besides, it was motivated as much by politics as regret. At the time, Grant was running for president, and Jews were threatening to block-vote against the Republican. Although no statistical evidence survives, most Jews probably did vote Democratic in 1868. The general won anyway. And to his credit, he continued to evolve.

The Jewish tradition encourages atonement and makes forgiveness mandatory. Grant made amends; the Jews forgave. As president, Grant appointed Jews to official posts, welcomed Jewish delegations, supported Jewish relief efforts in Europe and once attended a worship service at a Washington synagogue, the first president to do so. When he died, Jews mourned him as a hero.

Sarna’s account shines brightest around the edges of the story, offering valuable new insights into ethnic politics, press power and the onetime ability of leaders to flip-flop with grace. In a particularly stunning, if disturbing, argument, he suggests that many Northern Jews brought suspicion on themselves by questioning emancipation, fearful that freed blacks, abetted by anti-Semitic abolitionists, would compete with immigrant Jews for economic opportunity. Sarna shows how ineffective communications within Grant’s command further ignited unfounded calumnies against Jews. And he posits that the general’s military subordinates might have urged their overworked chief to ban Jewish speculators in order to leave the field open for their own graft.

Some quibbles: The illustration of “Grant, about 1860” is a photo of a beef contractor mistaken for the general; and Sarna’s occasional embrace of au courant phrases (“He was a one-man Anti-Defamation League,” “speak truth to power”) proves jarring.

What is still the best analysis ever offered about Grant’s greatest mistake came from his widow. In her own unsparing memoirs, Julia Dent Grant called General Orders No. 11 “obnoxious,” admitting that her husband “had no right to make an order against any special sect.” Sarna’s excellent study offers no excuses either and comes closer than ever to an explanation.

Harold Holzer is chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation. His latest book is “Emancipating Lincoln.”

 

JBuzz Interviews February 20, 2012: Eitan Fishbane: A conversation on love and loss with Jewish studies professor

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A conversation on love and loss with Eitan Fishbane

Jewish studies professor whose new memoir recalls the tragic death of his wife at age 32.

Source: Haaretz, 2-20-12

In February 2007, Leah Levitz Fishbane arrived at a hospital in Hackensack, NJ, complaining of severe headaches and vomiting. Within hours, she was in a coma, and two days later, she was dead at age 32, killed by a tumor in her brain that had announced its existence with a swift and dramatic finality. She left behind her husband, Eitan Fishbane, and a 4-year-old daughter, Aderet, and was nine weeks’ pregnant at the time. Not long after Leah’s death, Eitan began recording his memories and meditations about their life together and his responses to the loss. Eventually, Fishbane became convinced that his ruminations might be able to provide comfort to others who had suffered similar losses. The result is the book “Shadows in Winter: A Memoir of Love and Loss” ‏(Syracuse University Press, 156 pages, $19.95‏). The couple had met as graduate students at Brandeis University, where Eitan completed his PhD in 2003, and where Leah, at the time of her death, was working on her own doctoral dissertation, in American Jewish history. The same month Eitan, an assistant professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), published his memoir, Jewish Lights brought out an edition, which he selected and translated, of writings on Shabbat by early Hasidic masters, “The Sabbath Soul: Mystical Reflections on the Transformative Power of Holy Time.” In 2010, Fishbane, today 36, remarried, to Rabbi Julia Andelman. Haaretz spoke with Eitan Fishbane by phone from his home in Teaneck, New Jersey.
•••
When did you actually begin writing this book?

The process of writing began relatively early, within a month of the shivah. Initially it was more of a therapeutic anchor, a stable activity to return to during those fragile days. But the process of writing awakened in me the power of words to heal the writer and to hopefully bring the force of that experience to readers as well. It stretched out over five or six months, though the first three months were really when a lot of the white heat of my experience was flowing out through the writing. [Afterwards, I did] some editing, though I really tried to preserve the authenticity of those early hours, to capture the ferocity of early grief in a way that’s hard to conjure up from a distance.

Eitan Fishbane - February 2012 Eitan Fishbane.

You do that, but am I right that anger isn’t a strong emotion here?

I didn’t feel anger as a dominant emotion. Certainly I did experience moments − I think that everybody in the swell of grief does − but when there was anger, it was less directed at something or someone in particular, more a surge of feeling….READ MORE

JBuzz News February 15, 2012: Israel’s national library digitizes Sir Isaac Newton’s theological writings, posts it online

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Israeli national library digitizes Sir Isaac Newton’s theological writings, puts it online

Source: AP, 2-15-12

He’s considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time. But Sir Isaac Newton was also an influential theologian who applied a scientific approach to the study of scripture, Hebrew and Jewish mysticism.

Now Israel’s national library, an unlikely owner of a vast trove of Newton’s writings, has digitized his theological collection — some 7,500 pages in Newton’s own handwriting — and put it online. Among the yellowed texts are Newton’s famous prediction of the apocalypse in 2060.

(NY Public Library, File/Associated Press) – FILE – Engraving of Isaac Newton based on a 1726 painting by John Vanderbank that was from the frontispiece of a 1726 editiion of Principia, on display on Friday, Oct.8, 2004, at the New York Public Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Israel’s national library, an unlikely owner of a vast trove of Newton’s writings, has digitized his theological collection, and put it online. The curator of Israel’s national library’s humanities collection said Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, Newton was also a devout Christian who dealt far more in theology than he did in physics and believed that scripture provided a “code” to the natural world.

Newton revolutionized physics, mathematics and astronomy in the 17th and 18th century, laying the foundations for most of classical mechanics — with the principal of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion bearing his name.

However, the curator of Israel’s national library’s humanities collection said Newton was also a devout Christian who dealt far more in theology than he did in physics and believed that scripture provided a “code” to the natural world.

“Today, we tend to make a distinction between science and faith, but to Newton it was all part of the same world,” said Milka Levy-Rubin. “He believed that careful study of holy texts was a type of science, that if analyzed correctly could predict what was to come.”…READ MORE

JBuzz News February 13, 2012: Jason Marantz: Manitoban appointed chief executive of the London School of Jewish Studies

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Manitoban to head Jewish school in London

Source: Winnipeg, Free Press, 2-13-12

Manitoban Jason Marantz hopes to bring Jewish adult education and teacher training programs to a new audience after being appointed chief executive of the London School of Jewish Studies Monday.

Marantz, 37, said he is excited about the new position.

“My aim is to firmly establish LSJS as the leading light in the provision of both teacher training and adult education in the UK Jewish community for future generations,” Marantz told The Jewish Post and News.

In his new role, Marantz will be responsible for budgeting and fundraising as well as management of the school.

Born in Winnipeg, Marantz completed his bachelor of arts at the University of Manitoba. In 1999, he moved to the UK to pursue a masters in literacy learning and literacy difficulties before becoming the head of the Wolfson Hillel Jewish Primary School in London.

JBuzz News February 11, 2012: W. Gunther Plaut: Rabbi that Defined Reform Judaism, Dies at 99

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W. Gunther Plaut, Defined Reform Judaism, Dies at 99

Source: NYT, 2-11-12

W. Gunther Plaut, a rabbi whose vast, scholarly and ardently contemporary edition of the Torah has helped define Reform Judaism in late-20th-century North America, died on Wednesday in Toronto. He was 99.

Lanemontgomery

W. Gunther Plaut was the author of more than 20 books.

His son, Rabbi Jonathan V. Plaut, confirmed the death, saying that his father had been ill with Alzheimer’s disease for nearly a decade. At his death, the elder Rabbi Plaut was the senior scholar at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, where he had served as senior rabbi from 1961 to 1977.

One of the most prominent rabbis in the world, Rabbi Plaut (the name rhymes with shout) wrote more than 20 books on Jewish theology, history and culture. He was best known for “The Torah: A Modern Commentary,” his magnum opus, published by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the umbrella organization for Reform Jewish congregations in North America.

First published as a single volume in 1981 and issued in a revised edition in 2005, Rabbi Plaut’s Torah has become a touchstone for Judaism’s liberal branches. While Jews have long studied the Torah — the first section of the Hebrew Bible — with the aid of rabbinic commentaries, none like his had ever before appeared.

“God is not the author of the text,” Rabbi Plaut wrote in the volume’s introduction, “the people are; but God’s voice may be heard through theirs if we listen with open minds.”

The Plaut Torah has sold nearly 120,000 copies, according to its publisher. It is used today in many Reform synagogues, as well as in some Conservative and Reconstructionist ones, throughout the United States and Canada.

“This is the first non-Orthodox full commentary on the Torah published in English for congregational use,” Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, a senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism, as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations is now known, said in an interview on Friday.

Before the Plaut Torah, the commentary most widely used in North American synagogues across the Jewish spectrum was by Joseph H. Hertz, the chief rabbi of Britain. Published in the 1920s and ’30s, Rabbi Hertz’s commentary was written from the Orthodox perspective, and as such it considered the Torah the word of God, given to Moses at Mount Sinai.

The Hertz Torah “represents a point of view that is now unacceptable to many,” Rabbi Plaut told The Globe and Mail of Canada in 1981. “Furthermore, it was written at a time of growing anti-Semitism when Hitler was coming to power, and so it is highly apologetic. Its language is magnificent, but Jews today are entitled to be given insights that go beyond the traditional.”

Rabbi Plaut’s Torah, the first edition to be produced in the New World, spans nearly 1,800 pages and took more than a decade to prepare. Even its cover gives quiet but unmistakable evidence of its unorthodox intent: the 1981 edition opens from left to right, like a conventional English book, instead from right to left, as traditional volumes of Hebrew Scripture do.

Inside, the Five Books of Moses — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy — appear in Hebrew and English, accompanied by Rabbi Plaut’s commentary. (The commentary on Leviticus was written by Rabbi Bernard Bamberger.)

Drawing on scholarship in science, biblical archaeology, Near East studies, folklore, linguistics and feminism, and on non-Jewish texts including Shakespeare, the Koran and the New Testament, the commentaries in the Plaut Torah ascribe layers of possible meanings to the text. This makes probing analytical discussion — even argument — among worshipers not only possible but often satisfyingly inevitable.

“He used critical scholarship, and was open to it, in a book that was going to sit in the pews in synagogues,” Richard Elliott Friedman, the Ann and Jay Davis professor of Jewish studies at the University of Georgia, said Friday. “Which the Conservatives — forget the Orthodox — weren’t even doing then.”…READ MORE