Can Jewish tradition face our modern understanding of justice, equality and human progress? Can mitsvot survive modernity’s deep critique of authority and culture of personal autonomy? To Be a Holy People: Jewish Tradition and Ethical Values addresses ancient and modern moral questions. Building on biblical and rabbinic traditions, it analyzes how Jewish ethics relates to Jewish law, justice, equality and compassion, as well as the challenge of violence in the name of religion. It provides food for thought on subjects ranging from gender, freedom and military ethics to Jewish particularism and contemporary universalism.
About the Author
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn holds a doctorate in moral philosophy from Columbia University and Orthodox rabbinic ordination from Pirchei Shoshanim in Israel. He was founding editor of The Edah Journal. His books include Jewish Theology and World Religions; Plowshares in Swords? Reflections on Religion and Violence; Covenant and Hope; Two Faiths, One Covenant?; and The Jewish Connection to Israel. His English writings have been translated into Hebrew, German, Italian and Spanish. He and his wife, Lila Magnus Korn, live in Jerusalem.
Praise for To Be a Holy People
“For many Jews, Torah is nothing but ethics; for others it is nothing but halakhah. In this indispensable book, Eugene Korn shows that both views are historically false and conceptually incoherent. Korn has been a leading spiritual and intellectual voice demanding that Jews guided by halakhah respond to the moral challenges of modernity. Jews have survived the challenges of science, and must now confront the challenges of contemporary ethics. We should be thankful to have Korn to guide us. This is a remarkable philosophic and religious book.”
-Prof. Menachem Kellner, Chair, Dept. of Philosophy and Jewish Thought, Shalem College, Jerusalem, & Wolfson Professor Emeritus of Jewish Thought, University of Haifa
“Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn makes an invaluable contribution to Jewish ethics and halakhic thinking in his study, To Be a Holy People. He draws us away from halakhah modelled on mathematics and encourages us to study the interplay between halakhah, ethics, tsedeq and hesed. He demonstrates how a great halakhist like Maimonides championed a rejection of strict law in favor of a higher moral standard, insisting that this ethical standard be accepted by every Jew. Korn warns us against religious extremism, showing us how our sacred texts demand that the essential equality of all persons be respected.”
-Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat & Chancellor Emeritus of Ohr Torah Stone