Skip to content

September 12, 2012

A Conversation on Contemporary Orthodoxy and Jewish Thought

by merkosnews

This past Pesach, at a hotel in beautiful Whistler, BC, Canada, two of Jewish world’s most fascinating and facile speakers sat down to discuss a wide range of current issues: Lord Jonathan Sacks, kt, MA (Oxon), Phd (Kings), Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, and Mr. Dennis Prager, the American syndicated radio talk show host, syndicated columnist, author, and public speaker, and Media Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. Both men are noted for their wit and warmth; their exceptional grasp of contemporary issues facing the Jewish community and the world in general; and their wide circles of influence within the community and the larger world stage.

This conversation – which is available for viewing exclusively at – provides thought-provoking conversation, insights into the relationship between Judaism and other religions, and lots of humor. Dennis Prager is the ‘interviewer’, but it’s more of a conversation — with some audience participation. Rabbi Sacks shares a set of experiences that are truly unique to him – from the Dalai Lama donning a yarmulka, to Sacks being asked to lead a procession of clergy honoring service members killed on D-Day – which would have required him to walk behind a cross. How did he arrive at the solution (which he attributes to the Ministry of Defense’s ‘gemara kop’? You’ll have to watch the footage to find out!

Mr. Prager stakes out an interesting position. While he grew up in the Modern Orthodox community, he describes himself as “neither Reform or Conservative, just a plain G-d- fearing Jew”. He asks questions that seek to clarify the balance between the role of Judaism vs. other religions, the difference in approaches to Antisemitism, the Muslim communities in the USA and Canada as opposed to those in European countries, and the position of the Jew in today’s Western society. Rabbi Sacks addresses these and other topics, as well as questions from the audience, with a judicious and entertaining blend of Torah thought, name-dropping anecdotes, and deep insights. His riff on the Liberty Bell? “Of course it’s cracked. It was made in an English factory!” is an unequalled repository of thousands of video hours of Jewish learning, with lectures given by several hundred exceptional instructors on a wide range of topics, all free of charge and viewable on your own schedule online. Click there to view this exciting exchange, and other compelling content, at


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read more from JLI, TorahCafe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: