Jewish Theology in Our Time: : A New Generation Explores : the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Jewish Theology in Our Time: : A New Generation Explores : the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

At every critical juncture in Jewish history, Jews have understood a dynamic theology to be essential for a vital Jewish community. This important collection, which features a preface by Dr. Carole Balin, Professor of Jewish History at HUC-JIR/NY and essays by HUC-JIR faculty and alumni, sets the next stage of Jewish theological thought, bringing together a cross section of interesting new voices from all movements in Judaism to inspire and stimulate discussion now and in the years to come.  Provocative and wide-ranging, these invigorating and creative insights from a new generation’s thought leaders provide a coherent and inspiring picture of Jewish belief in our time. 

“Anyone engaged in constructing a contemporary Jewish theology must proceed carefully so as not to try to shove the square pegs of modern thought and experience into the cylindrical holes of classical Jewish life and thinking,” writes Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, Ph.D., who edited the volume. Nevertheless, an awareness of all these challenges should not discourage the project and progress of Jewish theology, but rather serve to mark the path along which the journey should proceed. It is not an easy or identifiable road. Flipping through the pages of this book, you will readily see that we live in an age when the boundaries of what constitutes Jewish theological thought are as wide as they are sometimes imperceptible.” 

From the Garden of Eden onward, the God-idea has taken on a varied and ever-evolving number of expressions within Judaism. From Mount Sinai to the prophets of the exile, from Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed to Kabbalah, from Chasidism to mid-twentieth-century North America, theological inquiry, diverse in its content and idiom, has sustained the Jewish People.  The passionate voices of a new generation of Jewish thinkers continue that dialogue with God, examining the dynamics of what Jews can believe today. 

Contributors to the volume include HUC-JIR faculty and alumni: 

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, D.H.L., dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University, where he is vice president, received his doctorate in philosophy from HUC-JIR under the supervision of Dr. David Ellenson. 

Rabbi Carole B. Balin, Ph.D., was ordained at HUC-JIR and is professor of Jewish history at HUC-JIR/New York. She is currently working on an updated version of the 1984 edition of Liberal Judaism with Eugene Borowitz and Francie Schwartz. 

Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., a rabbi and scholar who was ordained at HUC-JIR, is a member of the HUC-JIR/Jerusalem faculty and the Shalom Hartman Institute’s director of lay leadership education and co-director of its North American Scholars Circle.

Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D., serves as congregational scholar at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, New York, and was ordained at HUC-JIR. 

Rabbi Jonathan Crane, Ph.D., a former Wexner Graduate Fellow at HUC-JIR, is a visiting instructor at the University of Toronto. 

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, dean of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, is active in feminist causes and a staunch advocate of a Progressive, pluralistic, democratic Israel. 

Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., is assistant professor of Jewish theology, vice president for academic affairs at HUC–JIR, and specializes in the thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel. 

Rabbi Evan Moffic is senior rabbi of Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Illinois, was ordained at HUC-JIR, and has written on American Jewish history, on Zionism, and responsa related to conversion. 

Rabbi Leon A. Morris is the rabbi of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, New York, and the  founding director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.


Praise for


A New Generation Explores the Foundations & Future of Jewish Belief

Edited by Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, PhD

Foreword by Rabbi David J. Wolpe

Preface by Rabbi Carole B. Balin, PhD

Jewish Lights (Woodstock, VT);; 800-962-4544

Hardcover / $24.99 / 240 pages / August 2010 / ISBN 978-1-58023-413-9

“Demonstrates that there is not only a future to the Jewish theological enterprise in America but an exciting, fully realized, and challenging future. Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mordecai Kaplan would be thrilled. This book belongs on the shelf of every serious student of Jewish thought.” —Rabbi Neil Gillman, PhD, Aaron Rabinowitz and Simon H. Rifkind Emeritus Professor of Jewish Philosophy, The Jewish Theological Seminary; author, Doing Jewish Theology: God, Torah and Israel in Modern Judaism

“Intellectually and spiritually exhilarating. Indeed, it augurs well for the future of American Judaism.” —Paul Mendes-Flohr, PhD, professor of Jewish thought, University of Chicago Divinity School; professor emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem 

“The Jewish conversation about God has continued for thousands of years. The wonderful collection of new voices represented in [this book] enriches not only the conversation but also the reader who will discover how rich, varied, and meaningful that conversation can be.” —Rabbi Laura Geller, senior rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills











JEWISH THEOLOGY IN OUR TIME: A New Generation Explores the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief (6” x 9”, 240 pp, Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-58023-413-9, $24.99) is available from Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, Indigo/Chapters, Waldenbooks, B. Dalton,,, and many other booksellers, or directly from Jewish Lights Publishing, P.O. Box 237, Woodstock, VT  05091; Tel: (802) 457-4000; Fax: (802) 457-4004; For credit card orders, call (800) 962-4544. Add $3.95 shipping and handling for the first book, $2.50 for each additional book.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.