Selected Letters and Communications
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
Community, Covenant and Commitment is the fourth volume in the series MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. It includes more than seventy private and public letters written by the Rav ?as Rabbi Soloveitchik was widely known-- as well as a number of detailed interviews conducted with him over the span of some forty years. These materials give us a further glimpse into the prodigious thought of this leader of American Orthodoxy in the crucial decades both prior to and following the Second World War.
The volume is divided into sections focusing on critical areas in which rabbis as well as political, educational, and communal leaders turned to Rabbi Soloveitchik for guidance and insight. In addition, it includes selected letters initiated by the Rav on topics close to his heart in areas of communal, theological, philosophical and personal concerns. Specifically, the volume contains six sections containing letters and communications on areas of: Communal and Public Policy, Educational Issues, American Orthodoxy and the Rabbinate, Religious Zionism and the State of Israel, Inter-Religious Affairs and personal and Philosophical Reflections.
The topics addressed in this volume reflect the entire panoply of concerns that confronted the Orthodox and general Jewish community as its matured and grew in the hospitable setting of the American scene. Together with that, the rise of the modern State of Israel and the challenges that this posed became a focal point of the American Jewish community as well as of the thinking of the Rav. Topics include communal policy for Jewish adoption agencies, interfaith discussions with the Catholic Church, religious and theological attitudes to the State of Israel, interdenominational activities within the Jewish community, advanced Jewish education for young women, the training of learned and professional rabbis, as well as personal issues such as why Rabbi Soloveitchik never settled in Israel. Each letter or communication is prefaced by a short introduction giving its historical context. The entire volume is preceded by a lengthy introduction that discusses many of the background issues addressed in the letters.
The editor of Community, Covenant and Commitment is Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, co-editor of the rabbinic journal Or-HaMizrach, published by the Religious Zionists of America, and author of Divrei Berakahah u-Moed. His career in Jewish education includes teaching at the Frisch and Maayanot Yeshiva High Schools and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Rabbi Soloveitchik (1903-1993) was not only one of the outstanding talmudists of the twentieth century, but also one of its most creative and seminal Jewish thinkers. Drawing from a vast reservoir of Jewish and general knowledge, "the Rav," as he is widely known, brought Jewish thought and law to bear on the interpretation and assessment of the modern experience. For over four decades, Rabbi Soloveitchik commuted weekly from his home in Brookline, Massachusetts to New York City, where he gave the senior shiur (class in Talmud) at Yeshiva University's affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), where he taught and inspired generations of students, among them many of the future leaders of the Orthodox and broader Jewish community. By his extensive personal teaching and influence, he contributed vitally to the dynamic resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in America.
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