Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) was the first Ashkenazic chief rabbi of mandatory Palestine. Admired for the incredible diversity of his talents and interests--talmudist, halakhist, kabbalist, mystic, theologian, moralist, poet, and communal leader--Rav Kook's world outlook extolled breadth and derided narrow specialization. More than any other Orthodox thinker in modern times, he addressed, squarely and boldly, the confrontation between Judaism and the modern world. Kook serves as a natural model to those Jews who seek a religious understanding of and response to the culture and politics of the modern age.
These essays, most published here for the first time, offer a range of analyses and interpretations covering, in an accessible, systematic, and comprehensive fashion the major areas of Rav Kook's thought. Among the issues discussed are: his relationship to the Jewish mystical, philosophical, and halakhic traditions; poetry and spirituality; harmonism and pluralism; tolerance and its limits; Zionism, messianism, and politics; and Rav Kook today.
"An interesting example of the challenge immigrants face as they attempt to emulate established American institutions while retaining those elements that allow them to function as cohesive communities of ethnic and religious identity." -Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Professor of Islamic History, Georgetown University "Rich in cultural analysis, thick description, maps, photographs, and anecdotes, this book should be read by scholars, policy makers, religious leaders, and anyone who wishes to better understand one of the most exciting stories on the American urban landscape at the turn of a new century." -Robert Michael Franklin, President, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia "This book presents the initial results of a team-based ethnographic study aimed at understanding better the richness of religious life in the multiplicity of communities that make up modern Chicago."-"Journal of Contemporary Religion", "The highly successful result of a team-based, ethnographic approach to understanding the diversity-racial, ethnic, cultural, economic-of Chicago's religious communities, exploring important questions about religion's public role in the metropolis. A must read for those interested in the religious diversity and pluralism of American society or contemporary urban restructuring."-Penny Edgell Becker, Department of Sociology, Cornell University, and author of "Congregations in Conflict" " it will alter - or perhaps confirm - your thinking about 'public religion' and how traditional and immigrant congregations address (or don't) member and community needs and attitudes and actions towards larger social issues an obvious choice for religious and congregational studies and urban sociology programs. It is also valuable reading for any cleric or layperson interested in how contemporary urban religious collectives are shaped by and help shape the lives of their own members, surrounding communities, and the larger society." -"Congregations",