cover image Jewish Priorities: Sixty-Five Proposals for the Future of Our People

Jewish Priorities: Sixty-Five Proposals for the Future of Our People

Edited by David Hazony. Wicked Son, $35 (432p) ISBN 978-1-63758-744-7

“If you could stand before the Jewish people and advocate for a single priority for our collective future, what would it be?” asks Hazony (The Ten Commandments) of an eclectic array of rabbis, historians, and social media influencers in this diverse and dynamic essay collection. The author, who sought to spark dialogue “at the dawn of a new phase of Jewish life,” spotlights essays that contradict each other; for example, in “TikTok and the Talmud,” influencer Miriam Anzovin describes how she created irreverent videos about her Talmud study to prove that the practice should be “personally meaningful” rather than gatekept by yeshivas or bound to specific interpretative practices, while in “Study Talmud the Old-Fashioned Way,” rabbi Uri Pilichowski opines that working “with a teacher who is suffused with the ancient traditions... of our people,” is required to grasp the text’s myriad intricacies. Though some of the featured topics are predictable, including discussions of particularism versus nationalism, others break new ground—Joe Schwartz writes of the need for fantasy literature that explores Jewish heroes, histories, and sagas, while Dara Horn’s “Praise the Living Jews” advocates using the framework of successful Holocaust education models to teach the “actual content of [current] Jewish culture,” rather than the sanitized morality of “nice dead Jews.” The result is a mind-expanding look at how Judaism can survive and thrive in the 21st century. (Oct.)