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RCA Names Jeffrey Saks as Editor of Tradition

January 31, 2019         כ”א שבט תשע”ט

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks

Rabbi Elazar Muskin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, has named Rabbi Jeffrey Saks as the new editor of Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Thought. The appointment comes following an extensive search by a committee appointed by the RCA. Tradition, founded by Dr. Norman Lamm, is a quarterly journal of the RCA that has been a thought-leader in the Jewish community for 60 years. Saks succeeds Rabbi Shalom Carmy, assistant professor of Jewish philosophy and Bible at Yeshiva University, who served as editor for fifteen years.

Saks, a master educator and prolific writer, is the founding director of ATID (Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions), an in-service fellowship program for young Jewish educators, and together with Rabbi Chaim Brovender, of its WebYeshiva.org program, a fully interactive, online Jewish studies program, using videoconferencing to reach 12,000 people worldwide in an ongoing basis. He is also the Director of Research at The Agnon House, Jerusalem, and is Series Editor of The S.Y. Agnon Library at the Toby Press. Saks has taught in a variety of Israeli yeshivot and midrashoth, currently on the faculty of Midreshet Amudim. A resident of Efrat, Israel, he received his rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University, New York.

Rabbi Muskin said, “After an extensive search we are pleased to announce the appointment of Rabbi Jeffrey Saks as the new editor of Tradition. Rabbi Saks is well-known and well-respected as a thinker and writer. Rabbi Saks has served on Tradition’s Editorial Board for fifteen years and, since 2013, has served as an Associate Editor. We believe that he has the vision and talent to build upon the important legacy of his predecessors to make Tradition even more engaging thought-provoking, and relevant to our community, while, at the same time, maintain its high standards of academic rigor and writing.”Rabbi Saks said, “I am grateful to Rabbi Shalom Carmy for his stewardship of the journal, and even more so, for serving as a beacon of intellectual rigor and a model of serious engagement with ideas in a way that can enrich us all as, in his words, ‘thinking religious Jews.’

“I hope that under my editorship we will draw in new readers and new authors who will offer compelling treatments, commentary and analysis of the nexus of topics facing Orthodox Jewish thought in North America, Israel, and worldwide. It is imperative that alongside rabbis, educators, and lay leaders, all toiling in the field of communal practice, the Modern Orthodox community continue to be engaged with the ideas, texts, and thinkers that can help guide and animate practice. Tradition has always aspired to be a lens through which we can engage in the best of religious thought in ways that can enrich our lives as individuals and as a community. The writing we will feature, and the new voices of men and women we hope to involve, will continue this mission in ways that will be even more engaging to the contemporary world. Toward that goal we hope to expand the Tradition community beyond the quarterly print journal, incorporating social media, a newly redesigned website, and live symposia, to engage a larger audience.

“I first encountered Tradition as a teenager, perplexed by an array of questions and in the process of a religious journey. A youth group adviser gave me a copy of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s monumental ‘The Lonely Man of Faith’ which was then only available as a Photostat from its original 1965 appearance in the pages of the journal. Like so many other readers of that essay and the journal that first published it, my spiritual and intellectual life has been enriched by Tradition. I hope that together with our editorial board we will continue to educate and inspire through our work at Tradition.”

In the first of new appointments to Tradition’s board Saks named Rabbi Chaim Strauchler as an associate editor. Strauchler serves as the rabbi of Shaarei Shomayim in Toronto, is a member of the executive committee of the RCA, and holds degrees from Yeshiva University and Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. 

Former editors of Tradition also include Rabbis Norman Lamm, Walter S. Wurzberger, Emanuel Feldman, and Michael A. Shmidman. Tradition archives and subscription information can be accessed at www.traditiononline.org. Readers of Tradition are invited to join the journal’s Facebook community: www.facebook.com/TraditionJournal.

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Contact:Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice Presidentmdratch@rabbis.org212-807-9000www.rabbis.org

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