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From YU Press and Maggid Books, A Guide for the Jewish Undecided

A Guide for the Jewish UndecidedPublished by Yeshiva University Press, in collaboration with Maggid Books, Rabbi Dr. Samuel Lebens' A Guide for the Jewish Undecided (2022) brings philosophy, science and decision theory into conversation with Jewish tradition to make the case for the importance of Orthodox Judaism in the modern world.

Lebens, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Haifa, has previously published research on diverse topics, including the philosophy of Bertrand Russel, metaphysics and the philosophy of religion. In addition to his academic research, Lebens studied at numerous yeshivot in Israel and received rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. In A Guide for the Jewish Undecided, Lebens draws from his wide-ranging interests in order to make the argument that traditional Judaism is humanistic, outward-looking and nuanced.

 "Lebens utilizes his philosophical training and knowledge to take the reader into the thicket of philosophical discussion," said Rabbi Moshe Lichtenstein, co-rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion. "This book serves the vital role of catering to those who seek to justify belief through reason, and it does so in a self-confident, sincere, and unapologetic manner."

The book opens with a foreword by Daniel Rynhold, dean and professor of Jewish philosophy at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and director of the Revel doctoral program. Subsequent chapter titles include "Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God," "The Riddle of Rational Regret" and "Did Sinai Happen?" In these chapters, Lebens tackles the fundamental beliefs of Judaism and defines the nature of rationality. He tackles the question of theodicy and considers whether belief bound up in personal upbringing can be considered reliable.

Ultimately, Lebens makes the case that Orthodox Judaism is not only a philosophically sound tradition but one that is deeply relevant in our modern world. He argues that by embracing their traditions, Orthodox Jews accept a broader responsibility toward humanity.

"YU Press is proud to have partnered with the wonderful team at Maggid in publishing Professor Leben's impactful and inspiring volume making the case for passionate and purposeful Jewish commitment," said Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern, senior advisor to the provost and managing editor at YU Press. 

A Guide for the Jewish Undecided was a finalist for the inaugural Rabbi Sacks Book Prize of the Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks-Herenstein Center for Values & Leadership.

A sample of the book is available online at