Author: Zev Eleff

The Jewish Observer: Champion of the Orthodox Right

In March 1970, Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner expressed concern about the state of public opinion among America’s Jews. He described the Jewish media as “manufactured” and “often corrosive.” As one of the principal leaders of the yeshivah world, Rabbi Hutner was well aware that newspapers often portrayed the yeshivah world as being out of touch with […]

Brown V. Board of Education: An Orthodox Cause?

Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, remembering Orthodox Jewry and the Civil Rights Movement In December 1958, Rabbi Isadore Goodman of Memphis traveled up to Indianapolis to help celebrate the dedication of a new Orthodox synagogue building. In his remarks, the Southern rabbi spoke about Orthodox Jewry’s role in the raging Civil Rights […]

The Decline of the Rabbinic Sermon

Many rabbis and lay people took offense at the front page of a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal that explored the culture of “kiddush clubs” in the American Orthodox synagogue. Most likely, their indignation stemmed from the realization that much of what was written is true. My teacher, historian Jonathan Sarna, often called […]

In Search of American Orthodox Jewish History

American Orthodoxy has no sense of history. Records are not kept; documents go astray; historic figures who make significant contributions to the rebirth of Orthodoxy . . .  are quickly forgotten.”1 So wrote Yaakov Jacobs, editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Life magazine in the autumn of 1980. Distressed by the dearth of historical data […]