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A Selection of Recent Book Grants

Targum Shlishi has supported several book projects recently, with grants for many stages of work, from basic research to image procurement to translation. Helping to bring new books into the world is part of the foundation’s commitment to Jewish education.

“The book projects we support are those that we feel strongly about in terms of their contribution to furthering knowledge, exploring aspects of the Jewish world, and encouraging readers to expand their knowledge,” says Andrea Gollin, program director of Targum Shlishi. “We hope this round-up of a few of our recent book grants will help get the word out on these worthy projects and that it will inspire all of us to continually strive to read more, learn more, and stay curious.”

Hybrid Judaism: Irving Greenberg, Encounter, and the Changing Nature of American Jewish Identity by Darren Kleinberg

Rabbi Darren Kleinberg’s book, published by Academic Studies Press, is part of Dr. Marc B. Shapiro’s series “Studies in Orthodox Judaism.” The book presents a consideration of the life and theology of Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg, placed in the context of American religious history, historiography, and sociology. The work explores the changing face of the American Jewish community, as well as the evolving ways that scholars of religion in America have understood religious identity. Additionally, Kleinberg presents a systematic treatment of Irving Greenberg’s theology of encounter. In what is a rapidly changing American Jewish community, Greenberg’s theology could not be more relevant. The American Jewish community desperately needs voices that will help it understand the nature of the changes that are taking place. Greenberg’s theology does precisely that. With profound insight and sensitivity, Greenberg offers a theological perspective – entirely overlooked until now – that sees a messianic promise embedded in the shifting tides of contemporary American Judaism.

Rabbi Darren Kleinberg, Ph.D., was ordained in 2005 and completed his doctorate in 2014.  He currently serves as Head of School at Kehillah Jewish High School, in Palo Alto, CA. Prior to arriving at Kehillah, he was the Founding Executive Director of Valley Beit Midrash in Phoenix, AZ.

Encyclopedia of Talmudic Disputes and Perspectives by Nachman Cohen

Nachman Cohen’s multiyear project includes four volumes concerning the oldest Talmudic disputes, those between the Houses of Hillel and Shammai (published by Torah Lishmah Institute and available for purchase through the Institute). “It is the goal of the Encyclopedia to study the jurisprudential perspectives of the rabbis of the Talmud through an in-depth study of their legal and aggadic statements,” explains Cohen. The hundreds of disputes between the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai chiefly concerned Jewish law.

Nachman Cohen is director of Torah Lishmah Institute, founding rabbi of Young Israel Ohab Zedek of North Riverdale/Yonkers, chairman of the Board of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, and an adjunct professor at the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University.

From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah: Tannaitic Inheritance Law in its Legal and Social Contexts by Jonathan S. Milgram

What are the origins of early rabbinic inheritance laws? Why are they so different from biblical inheritance laws? How can historical study uncover the origins of the rabbis’ legal innovations? These are some of the questions that Jonathan Milgram’s book addresses. From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah: Tannaitic Inheritance Law in its Legal and Social Contexts (Mohr Siebeck Publishers, 2016) is a study in legal history that, taking the earliest Jewish inheritance laws as its model, demonstrates that the origins of the laws are best explained when examined against the backdrop of the legal and social contexts of antiquity.

Milgram examines the Jewish practices of inheritance in light of parallels and antecedents in biblical, ancient near eastern, Greek, Elephantine, Judean desert and Roman sources. He notes that the radical transformation of inheritance practices between the biblical and tannaitic periods emerged out of the dynamic differences between the social and economic structure of biblical Israel versus rabbinic Judea.

Jonathan Milgram is an assistant professor of Talmud and rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary.

In Your Walking on the Way: A Theory of Halakha Based on the Thought of Franz Rosenzweig by Leon Wiener Dow

In this study, published by Bar Ilan University Press, the author sets out to construct a theory of halakha according to the thought of Franz Rosenzweig (1998–1924), A German Jewish philosopher, theologian, and translator who also founded a center for adult Jewish education. In his correspondence, Rosenzweig both claimed to have presented a theory of halakha in his iconic work The Star of Redemption, yet he also wrote of his plans to, upon completion of The Star, spend a number of years studying halakha and Talmud, with the eventual hope of composing a book on the halakha, which illness prevented him from realizing. The author sees the primary purpose of this work is to show that there do in fact exist in Rosenzweig’s thought ample foundations on which to construct a theory of halakha. The secondary aim of the work is to demonstrate that Rosenzweig’s approach to halakha reflects a deep, albeit intuitive, understanding of the halakha. The approach which emerges from his writings, as I show, is deeply concordant with significant trends within the halakhic discourse. The third – and more ambitious – aspiration of this study is to demonstrate that not only is the halachic discourse broad enough to include Rosenzweig’s approach; it is enriched by doing so. Targum Shlishi also supported this work in an earlier version, as the book is based on the doctorate that the author wrote at Bar Ilan University, for which he received a Targum Shlishi dissertation research grant.
Leon Wiener Dow is a research fellow and member of the faculty at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and a rabbi and educational director of the Hevruta Gap-Year program.

Study Guide for “The Final Journey: How Judaism Dignifies the Passage”

This study guide augments the curriculum for the program “The Final Journey: How Judaism Dignifies the Passage.” This recently developed curriculum, launched in 2015, teaches high school students about the mitzvah of tahara (ritual purification of the body after death). The course was launched at Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton, Florida, with the objective of creating a model that could be replicated in Jewish high schools throughout the world. The high school developed the course in partnership with Rochel Berman, author of the book Dignity Beyond Death: The Jewish Preparation for Burial. Part of her mission in writing the book was to “bring this unique and beautiful ritual out of obscurity.” After her book was well-received, one of her next steps was to share the information in it with young people.

The realization of the study guide, along with a comprehensive video for each lesson, is an important step in making the program replicable.

The study guides and other materials may be obtained by contacting Rochel Berman at

Book update: Eli’s Story: A Twentieth Century Jewish Life by Meri-Jane Rochelson, which Targum Shlishi supported in its early stages, has been accepted for publication in 2018 by Wayne State University Press.

Other recent book grants: For press releases on other recent book grants go here and here.

About Targum Shlishi

Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website.

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