Jewish Culture Was Not Always a Response to Non-Jewish Culture

Why read the Talmud as a secular Jew? In part, for its expression of an independent Jewish creativity and spirituality.

Rationalism, Mysticism, Slaves, and a Sukkah Made From an Elephant

The Talmud describes rabbis who were not just judges and legal analysts, but magicians as well

‘Too Holy To Print’: The Forbidden Books of Jewish Magic

Books fraught with danger—curses, secrets, marvelous cures, diviners, demons—caused political intrigue and censorship

Two Books Explore New Perspectives on the Talmud, With a Focus on Women

Ruth Calderon reimagines ancient tales, while Tova Hartman and Charlie Buckholtz examine characters in the margins

In the Talmud, Jews Losing Touch With the Everyday Words of the Holy Land

In staking claims about the validity of Jewish identity, the rabbis show that the Diaspora has existed for nearly as long as Judaism

Math Problem for Talmudic Rabbis: Building the Right Size Sukkah

Pi, irrational numbers, and squaring the circle are all brought to bear to find justifications for tradition

How Large Must a Sukkah Be To Be Called a Sukkah—And Yet Still Be Far From Heaven?

In dissenting opinions, Talmudic rabbis propose and debate every detail of Sukkot’s booth and, in so doing, measure God

Talmud for Boys, Challah-Making for Girls—Gender Rules in Orthodox Day Schools

Gender-typing is at work as early as daycare. A new book examines how this inequity plays out and undermines religious classrooms.

Reading David Foster Wallace Led Me Back to Studying the Talmud

The late author’s work was Talmudic in nature. That’s why his books made me miss the Jewish texts I’d left behind.

In the Talmud, One Sin Is Beyond Repentance: Giving God and Jews a Bad Name

A holy desecration is unethical in part because of the social pressure to reflect well on the tribe

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