A smart, hip and provocative book for anyone interested in the rich diversity of Jewish thought on contemporary questions.
Should we edit our children’s genes? Are there things that can’t be forgiven? Are Jews still expecting a messiah? Is Judaism good for women? Should Jews strive to be happy? What does Judaism say about love? Are we commanded to vote? Is democracy a Jewish idea? Does Jewish law forbid racism? Is silence consent? What sins should we atone for in our use of social media? When does life begin? Do Jews believe in an afterlife? Can robots be Jewish?
In this book, rabbis spanning the range of modern Jewish thought, from Humanist and Reform to Orthodox and beyond, consider these difficult and provocative questions of our time and many others. Sometimes they agree—but not often.
You don’t have to be a scholar to follow these lively, accessible voices. They offer intelligent discussion of topics both timely and timeless, deep interrogation of Jewish text, law and commentary and an unparalleled look at the breadth, creativity and continued relevance of the Jewish tradition.
Editor Amy E. Schwartz provides delightful commentary, celebrating the rabbinic impulse to question every assumption and highlighting the many and sometimes surprising ways ancient texts can speak to us today.
“Can Robots Be Jewish? is a celebration—of the ongoing vitality of the Jewish encounter with modernity, of the shared religious language that persists across denominations, of the spiritual power of machloket l’shem Shamayim, argument for the sake of Heaven. No matter where you position yourself on the Jewish spectrum, this book is a gift.” —Yossi Klein Halevi, senior fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute and author of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
“The old joke—‘two Jews, three opinions’— turns out to vastly understate the reality. This wonderful book shows the breadth of Jewish thinking in a way that brings wisdom and humor to vexing questions. It focuses not on doctrine or ritual but on how to live as good Jews in a rapidly changing world. Who ever thought a collection of essays on ethical dilemmas could be a page-turner?”—Steven Waldman, co-founder of Beliefnet and author of Sacred Liberty: America’s Long, Bloody and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom
“Fresh, delectable, to be consumed in nibbles or in one rapturous sitting. We may be a disputatious people, but on this we can agree: Can Robots Be Jewish? is the chocolate babka of books, leavened with pulpit humor and dusted with divine crumbs of timeless wisdom.”—Laura Blumenfeld, author of Revenge: A Story of Hope and daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter and great-great-granddaughter of rabbis
“Ten very different spiritual leaders answer each Big Question with clarity, profundity, occasional levity, and a palpable love for Jewish tradition. My favorite answer is Rabbi Yitz Greenberg’s hilarious response to “Can robots be Jewish?,” which, alone, is worth the price of the book.” —Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America
“In these essays, often both witty and profound, an astonishing variety of rabbis address the great and not-so-great conundrums of our time. It’s hard not to come away from this book feeling more open-minded about yourself and the world we inhabit.“—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity