Judaism in a Post-Halakhic Age

Judaism in a Post-Halakhic Age


Jack J. Cohen

Series: Reference Library of Jewish Intellectual History
ISBN: 9781934843925 (hardcover) 
Pages: 235 pp.
Publication Date: March 2010

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Judaism in a Post-Halakhic Age tackles the following questions: 1) What is Halakhah, and what role has it played in the creative survival of the Jewish people for two millennia? 2) Why is Halakhah no longer capable of functioning as it has until now? 3) What sort of polity and religious culture can be recommended to replace the Halakhic tradition in an era of freedom, democracy, scientific research and religious pluralism?  The author, however, out of his great respect for Halakhic culture, asks what it can still contribute to Jewish civilization and the advance of a united humanity.

Rabbi Dr. Jack J. Cohen has had a long, distinguished career as an educator, author, and public servant. Before settling in Israel in 1961, he served as the educational director of Park Synagogue in Cleveland, the director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, and the rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. During the last six and a half years of his tenure in the United States, he also taught courses in the philosophy of religion and education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In Israel, Dr. Cohen served for 23 years as the director of the Hillel Foundation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and taught an annual seminar for students of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and a course in Jewish thought at the David Yellin College of Education. Dr. Cohen has been widely published in Jewish journals and is the author of a number of books, among them The Case for Religious Naturalism, Jewish Education in Democratic Society, The Reunion of Isaac and Ishmael, Guides for an Age of Confusion, and Major Philosophers of Jewish Prayer in the 20th Century.

Venerable Reconstructionist thinker Jack Cohen here offers a thoughtful, balanced, and morally sensitive viewpoint on the place of halakhah in a contemporary Judaism. His well-reasoned positions will have to be taken seriously as non-Orthodox Jews both in Israel and the diaspora struggle with this key issue.
— Rabbi Art Green, Hebrew College

Table of Contents


Ch. 1. The End of a Remarkable Era
Ch. 2. Law and Standards in a Changing World
Ch. 3. Is the Halakhah Viable? A View from Jerusalem
Ch. 4. Toward an Ideology for Post-Halakhic Jews
Ch. 5. The Halakhah and Jewish Identity
Ch. 6. Halakhah and Conversion
Ch. 7. Halakhah and Educative Ritual
Ch. 8. The Parameters of Jewish Law
Ch. 9. Reflections on the Future