What Do You Mean, “Modern Orthodox”?

Miri Freud-Kandel, Simon Hochhauser, James Kugel


As the current chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, approached retirement, and a new appointment is sought, three experts considered the inherent tensions of modern orthodox Jewish practice in Britain and beyond. What place can be found for women, for religious pluralism, for critical scholarship? As the society with which it interacts changes, can Modern Orthodoxy adapt?

Israel-based scholar James Kugel joined UK communal leader Simon Hochhauser for a discussion chaired by Miri Freud-Kandel of the Oxford Centre of Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

The event was in association with a two-term academic research seminar at the Oxford Centre of Hebrew and Jewish Studies in early 2013 on “Orthodoxy, Theological Debate and Contemporary Judaism: A Critical Exploration of Questions Raised in the Thought of Louis Jacobs”.

Miri Freud-Kandel

Miri Freud-Kandel is Fellow in Modern Judaism at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. She is co-convenor of the research seminar on the thought of Louis Jacobs mentioned above. Her publications include Orthodox Judaism in Britain Since 1913: An Ideology Forsaken.

Simon Hochhauser

Simon Hochhauser is a Past President of the United Synagogue, the UK’s largest synagogal body, comprising more than 65 communities with more than 40,000 members.

James Kugel

James Kugel, a specialist in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls, was Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University 1982-2003 and later Director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar Ilan University, Israel. He is author of 13 books, including How To Read The Bible and In the Valley of the Shadow.