Zeramim

Zeramim Zeramim is an internet journal which provides a platform for the dissemination of new, engaged, ‘applied’ scholarship, in all areas of Jewish Studies.

Operating as usual

02/18/2020
zeramim.org

#CFP
CALLING ALL SCHOLARS:
We are seeking scholarship on the ways that medieval Jewish history paved the way for the modern Jewish experience.
For more, seehttps://zeramim.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Zeramim-iv-1-2-02132020-back-matter.pdf

Is the Book of Job about one person, or is the Book of Job about one people? Nathan Moretto and Richard L. Claman discus...
02/18/2020
Reading Job (Iyyov) as a Stand-In for the People of Israel - Nathan Moretto and Richard L. Claman - Zeramim

Is the Book of Job about one person, or is the Book of Job about one people? Nathan Moretto and Richard L. Claman discuss in "Reading Job (Iyyov) as a Stand-In for the People of Israel."
https://zeramim.org/current-issue/volume-iv-issue-1-2-fall-winter-2019-2020-5779-5780/reading-job-iyyov-as-a-stand-in-for-the-people-of-israel-nathan-moretto-and-richard-l-claman/

Click HERE for a formatted PDF of this article. Reading Job (Iyyov) as a Stand-In for the People of Israel Nathan Moretto and Richard L. Claman This article addresses a paradox in the ‘reception history’ of the Book of Job—that is, in how this book came to be understood by its readers over the...

What meaning might modern Jews find in messianic conceptions of mitzvot? Shai Cherry explores this in "The Camouflage Ta...
02/18/2020
The Camouflaged Ta'am ("Motive"): Redemptive Implications of Rabbinic Theurgy - Shai Cherry - Zeramim

What meaning might modern Jews find in messianic conceptions of mitzvot? Shai Cherry explores this in "The Camouflage Ta'am ('Motive'): Redemptive Implications of Rabbinic Theurgy."

https://zeramim.org/current-issue/volume-iv-issue-1-2-fall-winter-2019-2020-5779-5780/the-camouflaged-taam-motive-redemptive-implications-of-rabbinic-theurgy-shai-cherry/

Click HERE for a formatted .PDF of this article. The Camouflaged Ta’am (“Motive”): Redemptive Implications of Rabbinic Theurgy* Shai Cherry Introduction The literature that most influenced and informed the Rabbis’ worldviews was the Hebrew Bible.[1] In that canon, living long on the Land tha...

Seeking witty, learned, 'targumic' biblical translations based on an ancient Palestinian triennial lectionary cycle? Loo...
08/07/2019
Introducing Ḥumash Kol Ha-tor and M’gillot Kol Ha-Tor: Some preliminary Considerations - Martin S. Cohen - Zeramim

Seeking witty, learned, 'targumic' biblical translations based on an ancient Palestinian triennial lectionary cycle? Look no further than Martin S. Cohen's "Introducing Ḥumash Kol Ha-tor and M’gillot Kol Ha-tor: Some Preliminary Considerations" in the latest issue of Zeramim at https://zeramim.org/introducing-ḥumash-kol-ha-tor-and-mgillot-kol-ha-tor-some-preliminary-considerations-martin-s-cohen/ .

And...
an excerpt from the forthcoming work...
from Exodus 3:13-15:

Moses said, “Let’s suppose that I actually do go to the Israelites and say to them that ‘the God of your ancestors has sent me to you’ and they respond by asking me, ‘What is God’s name?’ What shall I tell them then?”
14 And to this too God had an answer. “Tell them,” God said to Moses, “that My name is Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, for I am what I am!” And then God answered more usefully, “You can just say this to the Israelites, ‘Ehyeh sent me to you.’”
15 But then, reconsidering, God spoke to Moses again. “Say this more formally to the Israelites,” God said, “‘יהוה, the God of your fathers—that is, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ For that is My true name for eternity, the name by which I shall be recalled in every generation.

The article below is not fully formatted; for a fully formatted version of this article, CLICK HERE. Introducing Ḥumash Kol Ha-tor and M’gillot Kol Ha-tor: Some Preliminary Considerations Martin S. Cohen My forthcoming Kol Ha-tor commentary on the Torah and the five m’gillot includes a fresh t...

What compels people to make new translations of the Bible? Why should the Jewish community care when a new translation e...
08/07/2019
On Bible Translations - Adele Berlin - Zeramim

What compels people to make new translations of the Bible? Why should the Jewish community care when a new translation emerges?

Adele Berlin provides an overview "On Bible Translations" in the latest issue of Zeramim: https://zeramim.org/on-bible-translations-adele-berlin/ .

The article below is not fully formatted; for a fully formatted version of this article, CLICK HERE. On Bible Translations Adele Berlin The topic of Bible translation has come to the fore recently with Robert Alter’s The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary[1], a work that completes Alter.....

Interdisciplinary scholarship is great. But is it always practical?Alan Mittleman's "Reconstruction and Retrieval: On Hi...
08/07/2019
Reconstruction and Retrieval: On Historical and Philosophical Interpretations of Scripture - Alan Mittleman - Zeramim

Interdisciplinary scholarship is great. But is it always practical?

Alan Mittleman's "Reconstruction and Retrieval: On Historical and Philosophical Interpretations of Scripture" suggests that Bible scholars and philosophers have much to learn from each other before entering into the other's realm.

Read this in the latest issue of Zeramim at https://zeramim.org/reconstruction-and-retrieval-on-historical-and-philosophical-interpretations-of-scripture-alan-mittleman/ .

The article below is not fully formatted; for a fully formatted version of this article, CLICK HERE. Reconstruction and Retrieval: On Historical and Philosophical Interpretations of Scripture Alan Mittleman Several years ago, I hosted Prof. Lenn Goodman at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where ...

Is the God who is central to Jewish liturgy the God who wants child sacrifice or shuns it? Does the divine will that for...
08/07/2019
Contemporary Jewish Theology in Light of Divergent Biblical Views on Revelation’s Content - David Frankel - Zeramim

Is the God who is central to Jewish liturgy the God who wants child sacrifice or shuns it? Does the divine will that forges Jewish practice emerge from the details of ritual law, or does ritual conform to the private creative interpretations of the devout practitioner?

In other words, when the Bible presents conflicting ideas of who God is and what God wants, what's a modern Jew to do?

See David Frankel's article "Contemporary Jewish Theology in Light of Divergent Biblical Views on Revelation’s Content" in the latest issue of Zeramim: https://zeramim.org/?page_id=2390

The article below is not fully formatted; for a fully formatted version of this article, CLICK HERE. Contemporary Jewish Theology in Light of Divergent Biblical Views on Revelation’s Content David Frankel Introduction Over the past two decades or so, discussion amongst critically oriented bibl...

08/07/2019
zeramim.org

ANNOUNCING THE RELEASE OF OUR NEW SPECIAL ISSUE (III:3):

Biblical Scholarship as a Modern Jewish Hermeneutic

featuring:
- "Contemporary Jewish Theology in Light of Divergent Biblical Views on Revelation’s Content" by David Frankel
- "Reconstruction and Retrieval: On Historical and Philosophical Interpretations of Scripture" by Alan Mittleman
- "On Bible Translations" by Adele Berlin
- "Introducing Ḥumash Kol Ha-tor and M’gillot Kol Ha-tor: Some Preliminary Considerations" by Martin S. Cohen

Read the WHOLE ISSUE @ https://tinyurl.com/yynzdd8d for free, and go to zeramim.org to learn more.

Has Biblical scholarship advanced Jewish communal life? Should it?We'll explore these questions and more in our upcoming...
11/22/2018
Submissions - Zeramim

Has Biblical scholarship advanced Jewish communal life? Should it?

We'll explore these questions and more in our upcoming special issue of Zeramim. For the full Call for Papers, check out: https://zeramim.org/submissions/

Zeramim: An Online Journal of Applied Jewish Thought presents a call for papers for our Spring 2019 issue on Biblical Scholarship as a Modern Jewish Hermeneutic Although Bible scholars continue to ask new questions regarding the historicity, origins, and implied subtexts of the Hebrew Bible’s cont...

How "academically honest" can we be when we seek religious truth? In "A Biblical Challenge: Can an Academic Approach Aim...
11/22/2018
A Biblical Challenge: Can an Academic Approach Aimed at ‘Best Explanation’ of the Biblical Text Be Imported Into the Synagogue-Sermon World of ‘Interpretation?’ - Richard L. Claman - Zeramim

How "academically honest" can we be when we seek religious truth? In "A Biblical Challenge: Can an Academic Approach Aimed at ‘Best Explanation’ of the Biblical Text Be Imported Into the Synagogue-Sermon World of ‘Interpretation?,’" Richard L. Claman questions how what we preach must change in light of the findings of biblical scholars.

See all that and more in the latest issue of Zeramim at https://wp.me/P7nepk-l6

Click here for a fully formatted version of this article. A Biblical Challenge: Can an Academic Approach Aimed at ‘Best Explanation’ of the Biblical Text Be Imported Into the Synagogue-Sermon World of ‘Interpretation?’ Richard L. Claman     Recent years have seen a renewed discussion of th...

Science vs. religion is a gross and false dichotomy. In "Overlapping Magesteria: What Science and Religion Have In Commo...
11/22/2018
Overlapping Magesteria: What Science and Religion Have In Common - Michael Wasserman - Zeramim

Science vs. religion is a gross and false dichotomy. In "Overlapping Magesteria: What Science and Religion Have In Common," Michael Wasserman searches for the common grounds in the thought produced by both realms.

See all that and more in the latest issue of Zeramim at https://wp.me/P7nepk-kX

Click here for a fully formatted version of this article. Overlapping Magesteria: What Science and Religion Have In Common   Michael Wasserman     I am a rabbi from a family of scientists. I have scientific skepticism in my blood, but I have never felt that it conflicted with my work of building ...

The origins of process theology lie beyond Judaism, and the work of translating a philosophical trend has been a conside...
11/22/2018
Jewish Process Theology and the Problem of Evil: The Cases of Hans Jonas and Bradley Shavit Artson - Bar Guzi - Zeramim

The origins of process theology lie beyond Judaism, and the work of translating a philosophical trend has been a considerable undertaking. In “Jewish Process Theology and the Problem of Evil: The Cases of Hans Jonas and Bradley Shavit Artson,” Bar Guzi compares the work of two Jewish process theologians and their significance today.

Read all about it--and more--in the latest issue of Zeramim at https://zeramim.org/current-issue/volume-iii-issue-1-fall-2018-5779/jewish-process-theology-and-the-problem-of-evil-the-cases-of-hans-jonas-and-bradley-shavit-artson-bar-guzi/

Click here for a fully formatted version of this article. Jewish Process Theology and the Problem of Evil: The Cases of Hans Jonas and Bradley Shavit Artson   Bar Guzi Introduction The problem of evil is one of the greatest challenges to every theistic system. Is it possible to reconcile a belief ....

What were American Reform Jewish leaders talking about when they accepted patrilineal descent? In "Patrilineal Descent &...
11/21/2018
Patrilineal Descent & the Shaping of Intermarriage Discourse in American Judaism - Zev Eleff - Zeramim

What were American Reform Jewish leaders talking about when they accepted patrilineal descent? In "Patrilineal Descent & the Shaping of Intermarriage Discourse in American Judaism," Zev Eleff breaks down the proceedings that led to this historical decision.

See more in the latest issue, at https://zeramim.org/current-issue/volume-iii-issue-1-fall-2018-5779/patrilineal-descent-the-shaping-of-intermarriage-discourse-in-american-judaism-zev-eleff/

Click here for a fully formatted version of this article. Patrilineal Descent & the Shaping of Intermarriage Discourse in American Judaism[1]   Zev Eleff     In 1982, historian Jonathan Sarna issued a critique of the common acceptance of intermarriage in American Jewish life as a “disease” af...

Our newest issue is out now--featuring scholarship by Rachel Adelman, Zev Eleff, Bar Guzi, Michael Wasserman, and Richar...
11/21/2018
Current Issue - Zeramim

Our newest issue is out now--featuring scholarship by Rachel Adelman, Zev Eleff, Bar Guzi, Michael Wasserman, and Richard L. Claman. Check it out at www.zeramim.org .

The Conservative Movement is, I suggest, committed to what might be called a “propositional” theory of liturgy.

Have some teaching to share with Zeramim?Check outwww.zeramim.org/submissions
08/13/2018
Submissions - Zeramim

Have some teaching to share with Zeramim?
Check out
www.zeramim.org/submissions

General Submission Guidelines Content Zeramim welcomes the submission of essays in any subject of ap-plied Jewish studies—articles analyzing subjects of Jewish inquiry that offer a unique lens on any aspect of Jewish life or thought that affects the present and/or future of how Jewish culture, rel...

What does Midrash have the power to change? For Hazal, perhaps even the rules of the physical world!
06/25/2018
Zeramim

What does Midrash have the power to change? For Hazal, perhaps even the rules of the physical world!

Martin S. Cohen asks if the earliest rabbis believed they could change the laws of physics. (Hint: They very well may have.)
https://wp.me/P7nepk-iQ

Judith Hauptman​ uses the Talmud to solve the mystery of what the author of Un'taneh Tokef thought repentance, prayer, a...
06/20/2018
A Talmudic Reading of the High Holiday Prayer Un’taneh Tokef - Zeramim

Judith Hauptman​ uses the Talmud to solve the mystery of what the author of Un'taneh Tokef thought repentance, prayer, and righteous living could really do.
https://wp.me/P7nepk-io

For a formatted .PDF, click HERE. A Talmudic Reading of the High Holiday Prayer Un’taneh Tokef Judith Hauptman Jews flood the synagogues on Rosh Hashanah. Many who do not show up at any other time find their way to services on the very day that the liturgy is the longest. True, they …

Martin S. Cohen asks if the earliest rabbis believed they could change the laws of physics. (Hint: They very well may ha...
06/20/2018
Rabbinic Self-Confidence: Bending the World to the Word - Martin S. Cohen - Zeramim

Martin S. Cohen asks if the earliest rabbis believed they could change the laws of physics. (Hint: They very well may have.)
https://wp.me/P7nepk-iQ

For a formatted .PDF, click HERE.   Rabbinic Self-Confidence: Bending the World to the Word   Martin S. Cohen     Restoration and Innovation   There is a restorative feel to much of rabbinic literature.[1] The traditional way to understand the famous opening of Pirkei Avot (“Moses received [t...

Joseph H. Prouser writes about Solomon Schechter's anti-Mormon rhetoric. Why would Schechter have said such things?https...
06/20/2018
Quacks and Real Americans: Solomon Schechter’s Anti-Mormonism - Joseph H. Prouser - Zeramim

Joseph H. Prouser writes about Solomon Schechter's anti-Mormon rhetoric. Why would Schechter have said such things?

https://wp.me/P7nepk-iD

For a formatted .pdf, click HERE.   Quacks and Real Americans: Solomon Schechter’s Anti-Mormonism   Joseph H. Prouser   Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive… —Joseph Smith[1] The love of God’s...

Nelly Altenburger​ answers how Jewish law asks us to respond to the proliferation of guns in our environs.https://wp.me/...
06/20/2018
Jewish Law and Guns: A Modest Proposal - Nelly Altenburger - Zeramim

Nelly Altenburger​ answers how Jewish law asks us to respond to the proliferation of guns in our environs.

https://wp.me/P7nepk-ip

For a formatted .pdf, click HERE. Jewish Law and Guns: A Modest Proposal Nelly Altenburger Question Given the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, is there a clear Jewish position regarding gun ownership? May a Jew own guns for self-protection? May a Jew sell firearms to the public or own a store t...

Jill Hammer​ provides a meditation for Sukkot's rituals of Simchat Beit HaSho'evah, turning us back to the very beginnin...
06/20/2018
Offering to the Foundation Stone - Jill Hammer - Zeramim

Jill Hammer​ provides a meditation for Sukkot's rituals of Simchat Beit HaSho'evah, turning us back to the very beginning of the foundations of the universe.

https://zeramim.org/current-issue/volume-ii-issue-3-spring-2018-5778/offering-to-the-foundation-stone-jill-hammer/

For a formatted .pdf, click HERE.   Offering to the Foundation Stone Jill Hammer     Ritual is an organically occurring human activity. No one culture invented ritual—it is something humans do naturally. Ritual is a kind of adult play, a way of making meaning, communicating experiences, beliefs...

06/15/2018

Volume II, Issue 3 comes out next week.

03/06/2018
zeramim.org

With recent shakeups of democracy, global climate change and higher rates of depression in the world, Chancellor Arnold Eisen asks, "Are We Witnessing the End of the Enlightenment?"

He also provides an answer in the latest issue of Zeramim:

https://zeramim.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Zeramim-ii-2-03062018-0103-Eisen-Are-We-Witnessing-the-End-of-the-Enlightenment.pdf

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As I consider the debates surrounding intermarriage that arose recently in the Conservative Jewish world, I often find these conversations turning back to questions that revolve around patrilineal descent. American Reform Jews used to expect that intermarriage was something beyond the pale of their own denomination, but conversations about the structure of the Jewish family significantly shifted in the 1980s, when Reform Jewish leaders pronounced a new outlook on patrilineal descent. I am very grateful to R' Dr. Zev Eleff's research and his uncovering some fascinating archival material about this historical change in American Jewish life. The whole new issue of Zeramim, in which Eleff's latest article appears, can be read in a designed PDF at https://tinyurl.com/y8mbmk8x .
A lot about my Jewish outlook changed in 2011, when a forum issue of Conservative Judaism centred on Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson's work on process theology introduced me to this philosophical outlook that helped me accept chaos and theodicy in a way that I found not only sensible but, in a way, comforting. I often point to Artson's work when discussing why there is evil in the world, and I am grateful for Bar Guzi's article here, which contextualizes Artson alongside Hans Jonas' own Jewish writings on process theology. I hope that those to whom process theology is still foreign territory will find something meaningful in encountering this mode of thought. The whole new issue of Zeramim, in which Guzi's latest article appears, can be read in a designed PDF at https://tinyurl.com/y8mbmk8x .
I have often been amazed by the degree to which science--for those who are, like me, less quick in understanding scientific proofs--itself requires certain leaps of faith in the accuracy of reported results, observations, and proposed theories. Towards that end, I am grateful for Rabbi Michael Wasserman's essay articulating some of the harmonies shared between religion and science. The whole new issue of Zeramim can be read in a designed PDF at https://tinyurl.com/y8mbmk8x .
In this piece, Richard Claman reviews some of the challenges that face even the most basic interpretation of the Hebrew Bible and demonstrates some of the many difficulties we face as moderns trying to find meaning in this enigmatic anthology. I'm very excited to see what sorts of responses this article may elicit. The whole new issue of Zeramim can be read in a designed PDF at https://tinyurl.com/y8mbmk8x .
I'm very excited that Zeramim is putting together a new special issue right now on how biblical scholarship has changed the shape of contemporary Judaism. If you've been thinking about this or have something to say about how Judaism ought to look in 2018 (or 2019), in light of the greatest insights learned from biblical studies, feel free to submit something to our upcoming special issue. Details at zeramim.org/submissions
Great article by my friend of 40+ years Rabbi Dina Shargel: