skip to Main Content

Yitz Greenberg and Modern Orthodoxy: The Road Not Taken—New Book Builds On Academic Work of Oxford University Symposium In Part Sponsored By Targum Shlishi

(Miami, FL) February 1, 2020 — Yitz Greenberg and Modern Orthodoxy: The Road Not Taken (Academic Studies Press) a new collection of essays edited by Adam Ferziger, Miri Freud-Kandel, and Steven Bayme, expands upon a series of academic conversations that took place during a 2014 symposium at Oxford University sponsored in part by Targum Shlishi. The collection features an opening essay by Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg and a series of critical essays written by 12 academic scholars, each grappling with with Greenberg’s ongoing legacy.

Altogether, the essays examine how Greenberg’s theology and philosophy have both informed and diverged from current-day Modern Orthodoxy—a historical reality that the book’s editors and Greenberg himself collectively call “the road not taken.” These works grew out of a symposium held at Oxford University in the summer of 2014, during which sixteen academics convened with Greenberg to discuss his body of work and thought.

Greenberg is an influential theologian who has had a wide-ranging career as a rabbi, historian, activist, author, and leader of multiple major Jewish organizations. He is a revolutionary thinker on an array of issues including the Jewish people’s encounter with the challenge of modernity; confronting the Holocaust as a transformative event; the creation of Israel as the Jewish assumption of power that heralds the beginning of a third era in Jewish history; and the importance of Jewish-Christian dialogue.

“It is my belief that Rabbi Greenberg is one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of the past half-century,” says Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “I am gratified and hopeful that this book, along with the RabbiIrvingGreenberg.com archive and further critical engagement with his work, will allow Greenberg’s ethical, pluralistic theology to inspire generations to come. It is my hope that, through the endurance of his work, Modern Orthodoxy of the future can and will correct course to rejoin Greenberg on his ‘road not taken.’” To read more of Rubin’s thoughts on Greenberg’s ongoing legacy, visit this link.

Eugene Korn, in a recent review in The Jewish Week, says that “the book makes clear, whatever the future holds, [that] thinking Jews can learn from Rabbi Greenberg’s profound reflections on Jewish history and peoplehood, his honest probing of challenges confronting modern Jews, his conviction in ethical Judaism and his strengthening of Jewish life for so many of our people.”

Four excerpts from this pioneering work have been made freely accessible on www.RabbiIrvingGreenberg.com, a website and online archive dedicated to Greenberg’s work produced by Targum Shlishi. These excerpts include an introductory essay by Greenberg detailing his firsthand experience of how the “road not taken” has influenced his philosophies and his personal growth. For a PDF version of this essay go here. Other published excerpts include the Editors’ Foreword, a Table Of Contents, and “Divine Hiddenness and Human Input: The Potential Contributions of a Postmodern View of Revelation to Yitz Greenberg’s Holocaust Theology,” an essay by Tamar Ross. These excerpts, along with further writing by and about Greenberg, can be found at this link.

To purchase the book, please visit this link.

To further explore the work and legacy of Rabbi Greenberg, please visit: 

  • Go here for the full website and online archive dedicated to Greenberg’s work and produced by Targum Shlishi.
  • Go here to read Steven Bayme’s reflection on the symposium in The Jewish Week, “Yitz Greenberg’s Impact.”
  • Go here for a profile from Jewish Sages of Today about Greenberg.

About Targum Shlishi

Targum Shlishi, a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, 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. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter..

Back To Top