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Straus Center Books

A Shakespearean Seder: Elements of the Exodus in Shakespeare’s Henry
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A Shakespearean Seder: Elements of the Exodus in Shakespeare’s Henry V

Adapted from a conversation between the late Professor Paul Cantor and Dr. Shaina Trapedo and originally released as an episode of Twice Blest—a podcast exploring Shakespeare and the Hebrew Bible from the Straus Center—this short eBook features Professor Cantor unpacking the influence of Exodus and early Israelite leaders, including Moses, Joshua, and David, on Shakespeare’s compelling and complex representation of English sovereignty in Henry V

Esther in America
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Esther in America

The Book of Esther has inspired and impacted the American project since its very inception. Rabbis and ethicists, abolitionists and artists, preachers and presidents, have understood the text to speak to their moment. It has offered solace to immigrants, forged solidarity, impacted politics, and, in the spirit of Esther 4:14, roused individuals to realize that deliverance was not to come from some other place, but from their own heroic actions on behalf of their people. As we Americans once again find ourselves navigating antisemitism and bigotry, questioning the limits and purposes of power, reassessing gender dynamics, and grappling with how to keep an ethnically diverse empire from imploding, it is once again to Esther we must turn, to the timeless scroll that continues to urge us to find strength and redemptive possibility in the least expected of places.

Proclaim Liberty

Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land: The Hebrew Bible in the United States

Edited by Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern, Dr. Matthew Holbreich, and Dr. Jonathan Silver, this sourcebook, the first of its kind, assembles foundational documents of American history side by side with the biblical verses that inspired them, allowing readers to see with their own eyes the impact the Hebrew Bible has had on the American idea. The editors' selections of source material, including sermons, letters, and seminal presidential addresses, demonstrate how the music of the Hebrew Bible accompanied the entirety of the American republic's history and served as a primary source of political and cultural vocabulary in the minds of the Puritan settlers, revolutionaries, African slaves, leaders of the civil rights movement, and the broader population. 

Books of the People

Books of the People: Revisiting Classic Works of Jewish Thought 

The Jews have ever been a people molded by the written word, so it is no coincidence that certain texts have come to play critical roles in the continuum of Jewish discourse. Edited by Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern, Books of the People: Revisiting Classic Works of Jewish Thought presents ten foundational books written between the 10th and the 20th centuries that have dramatically influenced the development of Jewish thought, examined by contemporary scholars of Jewish studies. Each scholar revisits a particularly salient work and discusses its themes, its historical context, the circumstances and background of its author, and its relevance to contemporary society.

Torah and Western Thought

Torah and Western Thought: Intellectual Portraits of Orthodoxy and Modernity

The twentieth century saw Jewish Orthodoxy experience a golden age of leaders and teachers who sought to bridge the world of Judaism and the West. Some of these Torah figures were deeply impacted by an academic field, such as philosophy or literature. Others developed a Torah-based perspective on developments within the West, such as the rise of Zionism, democracy, or biotechnology, and reflected on the very nature of religious knowledge. This volume invites twenty-first-century thinkers to paint intellectual portraits of these luminaries, illustrating how each figure bridged the worlds of Judaism and the West and instilling in us the courage to do the same.

Menachem Begin's Zionist Legacy

Menachem Begin's Zionist Legacy

This collection of brilliant and never-before-published essays by six of the most perceptive observers of Jewish and American life gives fresh insight into the personal, political, and religious character of one of Israel’s most remarkable and controversial figures.

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