Where Have All the Theologians Gone?

The week The Forward has an op-ed from Elliot Cosgrove, a young, dynamic rabbi out of Chicago, asking “Where Have All the Theologians Gone?” He astutely points out the dearth of thinkers contributing to the body of Jewish ideas and belief in the past 15 years:

The Jewish achievements of our age, and there are many, have overlooked the importance of Jewish belief. Our campus Hillels, federations, Holocaust museums, commitments to Israel and social justice work are all extraordinary feats, but they are cultural, institutional or political, not theological.

Ironically, the very successes of the Jewish community have also worked to the detriment of Jewish theological inquiry. The past 50 years have witnessed an extraordinary growth in Jewish studies programs and professors. But with very few exceptions, their achievements have been in journals and the classroom, not in the day to day of Jewish communal life. (MORE)

His thoughts couldn’t be more poignant as the Jewish community struggles to find effective and captivating leaders across all sectors of life.

He issues a thought-provoking challenge, which so far has gone mostly unanswered:

It is incumbent upon every generation to formulate a theology that makes Judaism compelling to the Jews of its age.

The time is ours. Nevertheless, the question remains: Is anyone interested in being part of the conversation?


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