Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century

Edward Fein­stein, ed.
  • Review
By – November 11, 2011
In March 2005, Val­ley Beth Shalom in Enci­no, CA, through its Harold M. Schul­weis Insti­tute, invit­ed Rab­bi Schul­weis and four oth­er pre­em­i­nent Jew­ish thinkers to join in reflec­tive teach­ing and dia­logue. Rab­bis David Ellen­son, Yitz Green­berg, David Hart­man, Harold Kush­n­er, and Rab­bi Schul­weis shared their think­ing on the changes that they have seen in Judaism dur­ing their life­times and their prog­nos­ti­ca­tions for the com­ing gen­er­a­tions of Jews. These dis­cus­sions have now been edit­ed by Rab­bi Fein­stein, and include think­ing about issues such as uni­ver­sal­ism vs. par­tic­u­lar­ism, the nature of reli­gious plu­ral­ism, the mean­ing of the Holo­caust and the State of Israel, rela­tion­ship with God today and more. The vol­ume is con­cise and very read­able, while address­ing deep ques­tions. In addi­tion, some of the writ­ings of the thinkers who are fea­tured in this book are excerpt­ed on the web­site of the Schul­weis Insti­tute, fur­ther clar­i­fy­ing the views of these impor­tant thinkers. What this review­er would hope for is a fol­low up vol­ume that would broad­en the dis­cus­sion to include women’s voic­es (as not­ed by Paula Hyman in her intro­duc­tion) as well as voic­es of the Gen- Y lead­ers, mod­ern lead­ers raised dur­ing the 90’s and ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry, who will be car­ry­ing their lead­er­ship roles into the very future on which this vol­ume reflects.
Rab­bi Arnold D. Sam­lan is a Jew­ish edu­ca­tor and rab­bi liv­ing in Mia­mi, Flori­da. He serves as exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Orloff Cen­tral Agency for Jew­ish Edu­ca­tion of Broward County.

Discussion Questions