CRISIS, COVENANT AND CREATIVITY: Jewish Thoughts for a Complex World
Weight: 1.00 kilograms
CRISIS, COVENANT AND CREATIVITY: Jewish Thoughts for a Complex World
by Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Crisis, Covenant and Creativity deals with some of the most widely discussed issues in contemporary Jewish religious life.
How do religious people deal with tolerance when they are convinced that their religious beliefs carry the truth and that others are mistaken? To what extent should the modern application of "Halachic decision making" be influenced by existential wonder and the religious mission and philosophy of the Jewish people? How does Halachic living lead to a greater awareness of the mystery and beauty of life? As the search for Jewish Identity becomes more and more complex, what is the meaning of Jewish authenticity in light of Jean Paul Sartre's understanding of anti-Semitism?
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a world renowned thinker, lecturer, and ambassador for Judaism and the Jewish people. He is known for his original insights into how Judaism relates to and remains relevant in our complex, modern times. A prolific author, Rabbi Lopes Cardozo's books and essays are read by laymen, Rabbis and academicians throughout the Jewish and non-Jewish world. He is a sought-after lecturer on Judaism and Israel at numerous institutions throughout the world, including the Jewish studies programs at Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard Universities, various Young Israel communities, the Orthodox Union, and the Union of Sephardi Communities. He is the founder and Dean of the David Cardozo Academy and Machon Ohr Aaron in Jerusalem and pens a weekly "Thought to Ponder," which may be subscribed to through the website www.cardozoschool.org. Rabbi Lopes Cardozo is a distinguished member of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Community, received his rabbinical degree from Gateshead Talmudical College, and holds a Doctorate degree in philosophy.
Hardcover, 160 pages
"Rabbi Lopes Cardozo has emerged as one of the most thoughtful voices in contemporary Orthodoxy. He is a man of deep faith and wide intellectual horizons, unafraid to confront the challenges of the age with the quiet confidence of one who is attuned to the music of eternity."
-Rabbi Professor Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Britain
"This book is a series of thoughtful essays in Jewish religious thought, and it will almost certainly fail to command a significant audience. Lopes Cardozo is a Jerusalem-based Orthodox rabbi and lecturer, well educated in Western philosophy, literature, and music, who attempts in this and other books to apply traditional teachings to contemporary philosophical and religious issues. This is an admirable goal, and Lopes Cardozo has some important insights to contribute; but it is not clear who will benefit from his thinking....
Lopes Cardozo marshals his sources effectively, almost brilliantly, bringing Cardinal Newman, Tolstoy, and Sartre, in addition to a vast array of Jewish thinkers, to bear on some deep philosophical problems. His topics are varied, including the importance of religious routine in everyday life, the role of miracles in a rational world, and the distinction between ethical and ritual imperatives in a religious life.
...what Lopes Cardozo actually has to say is always true to the tradition, often original, and sometimes even radical. In fact, many Orthodox readers who lack a modern sensibility may well reject Lopes Cardozo as excessively tolerant of nontraditional ideas and excessively open to dialogue with non-Orthodox Jews....
This is a thinker who has much to say but few who will end up listening."
In today's world, public discourse and exchange of ideas - and indeed, ideas themselves - have become increasingly shallow and simplistic, while, at the same time, more polarized and sectarian than ever. In this context, the thought and writing of Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo comes as a welcome change. In his work, Crisis, Covenant and Creativity, Rabbi Cardozo addresses modern philosophical and theological issues with both clarity and depth.
The language and writing style of the book are coherent and convincing, and the arguments are clearly developed and accessible to the layman. At the same time, the ideas expressed have weight and depth; they are worth pondering, and deserve serious consideration. Those who enjoy thinking deeply about the meaning of religion will appreciate this book.
One of the main subjects of the book is the role of halacha and of mitzvot in shaping a meaningful life. Rabbi Cardozo develops a philosophy of halacha in which the role and function of mitzvot is to impel us to perform certain actions. Those actions, in turn, are meant to affect our spirit and our psyche, infusing our life with purpose and meaning. In addition, the acts of the halacha function as signposts, continuously pointing us to the wondrous and Divine concealed by, and lying beyond, our mundane existence.
My personal favorite essay, Tolerance and the Jewish Tradition, provides a clear definition of tolerance, crucial for the modern age. A truly tolerant person possesses a personal conscience, and holds clear and strong convictions. At the same time, he is aware of the reality of "divided truths" - that is, that there is no one approach which holds the monopoly on all truth. In addition, when he argues, he disagrees with sensitivity to the feelings of the other.
The essay on Shabbat develops into an argument for living a fully integrated cohesive spiritual life. The essay on anti-Semitism provides an interesting and ultimately convincing critique on the nature of modern Jewish identity. All in all, Rabbi Cardozo argues for living an authentic, fully realized religious life, one in which religion and one's relationship to God is experienced as the center of one's existence. His well-educated approach and clear thinking make reading this book a worthwhile experience.
Lookstein Book Digest
In this series of seven essays, Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Dean of the David Cardozo Academy for Jewish Studies and Human Dignity, once again adds a new dimension to our understanding of Judaism. In one essay, Rabbi Cardozo explains how an individual can be tolerant of another person's religious beliefs because tolerance is an inherent part of Jewish tradition, yet that tolerance cannot "always be the final arbitrator in man's search for truth and ethics."
Another article explores how the experience of observing the Sabbath transforms one's very being. This is especially helpful to those who are still searching for meaning in their lives. Other essays discuss the crisis of Jewish identity, antisemitism, the mission of the Jewish people and Jewish philosophy and how Halacha, Jewish law, helps us have a greater awareness and appreciation of wonder. A true gem no mater what your religious persuasion.
-Alex Grobman, Lifestyles Magazine