The Talmud and the Internet: A Journey Between Worlds

Jonathan Rosen, Author
Jonathan Rosen, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $16 (132p) ISBN 978-0-374-27238-8
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Paperback - 132 pages - 978-0-312-42017-8
Open Ebook - 112 pages - 978-1-4299-3588-3
Hardcover - 132 pages - 978-0-8264-5534-5
Paperback - 134 pages - 978-0-8264-6453-8
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In 1990, when the Forward was established as a national Jewish weekly newspaper, Rosen was appointed arts and culture editor. For 10 years, until his recent resignation, he presided over a sprightly and highly regarded section of features and book reviews. This book is an autobiographical memoir in which he muses about his experiences and his family, while comparing the ocean of the Talmud with the vastness of the Internet. Both are described in clear language as unfinished metaphors for tradition and technology. Rosen artfully mingles facts about his wife, parents and grandmothers with erudite thoughts about his broad range of reading in Judaica and the classics. He explores John Donne, the Odyssey, Josephus and Henry Adams, mingling them with his admiration for Rabbi Akiva and Yochanan ben Zakkhai (the founder of Yavneh, where ""Talmudic culture was saved""). The book ends with a moving account of visiting the present-day Lord Balfour on his Scottish estate, where Rosen's father spent WWII, having escaped from Vienna on a Kindertransport. Finally, Rosen expresses the hope that his baby daughter will maintain her connection to family history and the past, represented by the Talmud, while embracing the future, represented by the Internet. The book reveals far more about the author than it does about the Talmud or the Net, but it successfully introduces readers to all three with considerable sensitivity. (Sept.)
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