October 21, 2020
In thinking about the eighty or so texts to include in The New Jewish Canon: Ideas and Debates, 1980-2015, my co-editor Yehuda Kurtzer and I sought the texts that had shaped the larger American Jewish community that we both call home. In some cases, this meant books or articles that for some period of time it seemed that everyone was reading and talking about. In other cases, we chose books and articles whose influence had been less direct—these were often texts that reflected or responded to collective shifts in ritual behavior, political affiliation, or knowledge. And some were texts that few would admit to having read because within the Jewish mainstream these materials were seen as belonging to the fringe; we included these because we believe that acknowledging and seeking to understand dangerous ideas and where they came from is much better than ignoring them.