Item description for Orthodoxy Awakens: The Belkin Era and Yeshiva University by Victor B. Geller...
This book tells the story of the emergence of Torah Judaism in the United States and Canada between the years of 1940 and 1975. It was during this period of time that Jewish religious life and education succeeded in a modern, pluralistic and democratic society for the first time in history. Much of the Torah practice and scholarship that typifies American Jewry today stands as a tribute to Rabbi Dr. Samuel Belkin, a singularly gifted man, and to the university he helped create. A young, poor immigrant, Belkin grasped the opportunity of an open, benevolent American society to renew the Jewish community's ability to combine it eternal teachings with the contemporary virtues of the adopted land which he deeply loved. This book also discusses the rebirth of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, an important agency of Torah life, and describes the priceless legacy of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the preeminent Torah giant of this exciting period.
Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at promiseangels.com!
Reviews - What do customers think about Orthodoxy Awakens: The Belkin Era and Yeshiva University?
A Valuable Contribution May 23, 2004
Through this well written work Geller makes a valuuable contribution to our understanding of the evolution of Orthodoxy in America. Especially important is the context into which he puts Yeshiva Univerisity's stance, which, through the lens of today's yeshiva-oriented orthodoxy, might appear as comprimising. He makes us relive the balancing act performed by those pioneers who struggled with the task of bringing Judaism to an environment without the luxury of a firm orthodox infrastructure or its social acceptance.
The chip on Geller's shoulder toward Agudah style Orthodoxy is apparent on more than a few occasions as is his dreamy wistfulness regarding how centrist orthodoxy might have "prevailed" if not for this or that. (I find it interesting that what in fact has prevailed is, in Geller's mind, deficient compared to centrist Orthodoxy). But that partisanship is OK. It is even welcome. It contributes to the candor and sense of reality that makes the book all the more readable (unlike this review).
I especially enjoyed the juicy tidbits about Rabbis Belkin, Soloveitchik, Shkop, Revel and others; the type of which we are deprived by the biographies so popular by the heimish today. As a student of yeshivish humor I love the quip uttered by Rabbi Belkin demostrating his disdain for the level of scholarship of his staff compared to those of Europeran yeshivos, "I can shake any building in Washington Heights and one or two Roshei Yeshiva will fall out". It made the whole book worth reading.
I recommend this book to all those interested in gaining perspective and raw facts on Orthodoxy in America. It will provide some insight to those wondering how modern Orthodoxy became what it is today. Also, I think it is valuable for yeshivish types to read this book to appreciate that the compromises made by YU were not that dissimilar from the compromises that today's yeshivish-endorsed kiruv movement makes as a matter of course. Also at 18 bucks on this site it is a bargain that any kind of orthoodox person can (and should) appreciate.