No, Shmuel Rosner, Jews Should Not Keep Their Politics Out Of Passover

Shmuel Rosner suggests we should keep Passover apolitical and disdains the new Seders that reconfigure the Haggadah: In some ways, new readings of the Haggadah are a blessing. They take an ancient text and make it relevant. They make it easier for disconnected Jews to find meaning in the Passover Seder. They enable a contemporaryContinue reading “No, Shmuel Rosner, Jews Should Not Keep Their Politics Out Of Passover”

Chaim Potok’s ‘The Chosen’: Talking About Religion, Identity, And Culture In A Philosophy Classroom

Last week, the students in this semester’s edition of my Philosophical Issues in Literature class began reading and discussing Chaim Potok‘s The Chosen. (We have just concluded our discussions of Chapters 1-5 i.e., Book One, which details the initial encounters between Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter, the book’s central protagonists.) I had not read theContinue reading “Chaim Potok’s ‘The Chosen’: Talking About Religion, Identity, And Culture In A Philosophy Classroom”

Stephen Jay Gould’s Weak Argument For Science And Religion’s ‘Separate Domains’

Stephen Jay Gould‘s famous ‘Two Separate Domains‘ argues, roughly, that religion and science operate in different domains of inquiry, and as such do not conflict with each other: We get the age of rocks, and religion retains the rock of ages; we study how the heavens go, and they determine how to go to heaven.Continue reading “Stephen Jay Gould’s Weak Argument For Science And Religion’s ‘Separate Domains’”

Isaac Bashevis Singer on A Rabbi’s Crisis

In Isaac Bashevis Singer‘s “I Place My Reliance on No Man” (collected with other short stories in Short Friday) Rabbi Jonathan Danziger goes to pray in his synagogue one Monday morning. As he prays, he encounters a crisis: When the rabbi came to the words, ‘I place my reliance on no man,’ he stopped. The words stuck inContinue reading “Isaac Bashevis Singer on A Rabbi’s Crisis”

Woody Allen’s Guide to Civil Disobedience and Revolution

Today is Easter Sunday. Jesus was a Jew and a rebel. So, on this great day in Jewish history, and in honor of Jewish rebellion, here is Woody Allen on civil disobedience and revolutions. In perpetrating a revolution, there are two requirements: someone or something to revolt against and someone to actually show up andContinue reading “Woody Allen’s Guide to Civil Disobedience and Revolution”

Generals and their Strategies: Patton and Napoleon on the Koran

Today, on my new Tumblr (samirchopra.tumblr.com) I posted two quotes on the Koran (or the Quran, take your pick). The first, by George S. Patton: Just finished reading the Koran—a good book and interesting. (George S. Patton Jr., War As I Knew It, Bantam Books, 1981, page 5. War Diary for North Africa landings ‘Operation Torch’,Continue reading “Generals and their Strategies: Patton and Napoleon on the Koran”

Russell on Marx as Excessively Practical Messiah and Schoolman

In his sometimes cranky, often witty, and always erudite History of Western Philosophy Bertrand Russell paints deflationary portraits of many members of the Western philosophical tradition.  (Russell is particularly witty when dealing with Kant and Nietzsche; those treatments will soon form the subject of posts here). He also shows a rare talent for the artful digression,Continue reading “Russell on Marx as Excessively Practical Messiah and Schoolman”