About Studies in Jewish Education X: In Search of Jewish Paideia : Directions in the Philosophy of the Jewish Education
The first topic with which the conference opened was called “Commitment and Openness.” This was understood to mean the interaction between loyalty to a particular tradition and readiness to expose oneself to other world-views and cultures. This intellectual orientation and disposition of personality has always characterized both the writings and demeanor of Prof. Rosenak, to whom this volume is dedicated. Prof. Mordecai Nisan, who delivered the opening lecture at the conference, approached this complex subject from the perspective of the discipline of psychology. The question he put forward for examination was: “is an ‘open' type of commitment possible, namely the kind (of commitment) that does not close a person off to the range of beliefs, values and ways of life that are alien to his commitment, and (perhaps) even contradict it?” Surprisingly, Nisan claimed that “at the basis of the gesture of commitment on the part on an individual lies a nucleus of uncertainty concerning the belief, the value, the practice or the way of life to which he has committed himself.”
The second theme taken up at the conference was also one with which Rosenak has been personally and professionally identified: the theology of Jewish education. Already in his doctoral thesis, Prof. Rosenak distinguished, following Emil Fackenheim, between (1) the life of faith itself (2) philosophy, or the search for truth without an a priori commitment to any particular faith or faith community, and (3) theology – an activity that involves both commitment to a faith and the legitimation of truths that have come to light outside the purview of faith. One of Rosenak's consistent academic pursuits has been the attempt to characterize the relationship between theological principles (as expressed in the works of leading Jewish thinkers of different orientations and denominations) and the philosophy and theory of education.
In the concluding section of this volume, we are proud to present our readers with an occasion to revisit (or visit for the first time) three articles taken from Prof. Rosenak's own most extensive portfolio. The articles have all been translated in order to allow them a wider readership than hitherto possible. An article and a book-chapter that appeared originally in English, “Explicit and Implicit Religious Life and Teaching” and “Education for Jewish Identification,” appear here in Hebrew translation, and the article “HaYehudi HaMechunach: Shelosha Degamim Moderni'im” appears here in English translation.
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