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For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People

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by Nathan Lopes Cardozo 

The Land of Israel and the Jewish people are bound together in mysterious ways that go beyond convention. Here is a nation that has “too much history and too little geography,” as Sir Isaiah Berlin said. Yet even in their exile, the Jews never truly left the land of their birth. Rather, they lifted it from its native soil and transformed it into a portable homeland, taking it with them to all corners of the earth. Only in 1948 after nearly two thousand years did the Jewish people return to its original home. How is it that contrary to all the laws of history, the Jewish people outlived so many powerful empires? How was this tiny nation able to make an unprecedented contribution to the wellbeing of all of humankind? Why did the Jewish people become a source of endless irritation to those who opposed its ethical teachings? Finally, how can the State of Israel rediscover its Jewish identity as the source of its greatest blessing and hope? Nathan Lopes Cardozo addresses these and other questions throughout this remarkable collection of essays. 

About the Author: 

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a world-renowned thinker, lecturer and ambassador for Judaism and the Jewish people. He is known for his original insights into how Judaism can rejuvenate itself, showing new paths to its authentic expression. Rabbi Lopes Cardozo’s writings are read by laymen, members of the clergy and academicians throughout the Jewish and non-Jewish world. He is a sought-after lecturer on Judaism and Israel at numerous institutions of higher academic learning, including Jewish study programs at leading universities, religious academies and rabbinical colleges. He is also the founder and Dean of the David Cardozo Academy, the Aron and Betsy Spijer Institute (also called the Beth Midrash of Avraham Avinu), which is dedicated to recapturing the ideological foundations of Judaism. The Institute is a think tank where rabbis, educators and professors under Rabbi Cardozo’s guidance try to lay the foundations of a new approach to Judaism based on the classical sources. It is also dedicated to educating a new generation of rabbis, teachers and Jewish thinkers based on this philosophy. 

The author of many books on Judaism, Rabbi Lopes Cardozo writes and distributes via e-mail a weekly column, “Thoughts to Ponder,” which also appears on his website, www.cardozoschool.org. Educated in Amsterdam, he received his rabbinical degree from Gateshead Talmudical College, studied at Yeshivat Mir in Jerusalem, and holds a doctorate in philosophy. Rabbi Cardozo is a distinguished member of the Portuguese and Spanish Jewish community and lives with his wife, children and grandchildren in Jerusalem. 


Praise: 

“When the international community formally acknowledged the rights of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland after the First World War, it was implicitly understood that this connection emanated from nearly 3,000 years of Jewish law and tradition. Rabbi Cardozo eloquently reminds his readers of that very fundamental truth in a period when many in the world have unfortunately forgotten it.” 
–Ambassador Dore Gold, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations 

“He possesses the talent to address the major issues confronting our people with eloquence, sophistication and originality.” 
–Rabbi Professor Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University 

“One of the most thoughtful voices... Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a man of deep faith and wide intellectual horizons... attuned to the music of eternity.” 
–Rabbi Professor Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Britain and the Commonwealth 

Celebrating Israel 

Perhaps one of the most under-appreciated Jewish theologians of our time is Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo of Jerusalem. I say this because despite the eloquence and timeliness of his message, found in over half a dozen books, Cardozo is rarely cited in religious or political circles. That is unfortunate for all of us and this review is an attempt to rectify that. 

In his latest book of essays, lectures and studies entitled “For The Love of Israel and the Jewish People,” issued by Urim Publishers in honor of Israel’s 60th birthday, Cardozo sets out to impart a message of hope and confidence in our faith and people. 

Cardozo does not hesitate for one moment to deal with topics that would challenge others. Love for the land of Israel is addressed in seven detailed essays in a sharp and unapologetic manner. Absent is the mindless jargon common among others in the nationalist camp. The style is that of a teacher and rabbi instructing his readers to appreciate the history and religious value to our claim on Eretz Yisrael. There is a pathos that flows through his writing, laced with a clear romance for the land by one whose love for it is based upon the divine commitment to its habitation. No apologetics are forthcoming. 

The essays pertaining to Israeli society, 14 in all, go to the heart of our concerns as to the practical issues and personalities that face our people, daily. 

From a religious perspective, Cardozo deals with Gush Katif, disengagement, Jewish education, Amona, religious heresy, faith and the crisis facing organized Zionismin, in sharp terms, giving his opinions on each in language that is appreciated for its clarity in tone and style. This clarity persists throughout, even when I find myself, at times, in disagreement with the author’s views. 

Anti-Semitism, from Amalek to the Holocaust, is dealt with in five essays, lacking the empty rhetoric used so often at Holocaust gatherings. Reflecting his deep grounding in world history, Cardozo cites such intellectual luminaries as Thomas Cahill, Leo Tolstoy, Roy Eckhardt, Paul Johnson, Matthew Arnold and Will Herberg, in his effort at pointing to the universal significance of the Holocaust and of its appreciation by many non-Jews as a uniquely Jewish tragedy. The lessons to be learned from it are gleaned from our tradition, reflecting our deep faith in G-d and our confidence in our future survival. 

Jewish tradition is highlighted in six essays, touching upon the religious significance of the Tsunami, Purim and the war in Iraq, the deeper meaning of the splitting of the Red Sea and the mystery of the observance of the second day of Yom Tov. 

The studies section features a long essay on the importance of Jean Paul Satre and his fight against bigotry, and an interesting study on the “mortal danger” in the counting of Jews. 

The book concludes with a 13 page text of a lecture given on July 11, 2001, entitled “Jewish Tradition and the Intifada.” It is as fresh and relevant today as it was then. Much can be gained by reading and studying Cardozo’s scholarship on this continuing crisis. 

Please note that each piece is dated, and that this date should be kept in mind when studying each work. 
Rabbi Dr. Cardozo was educated in Amsterdam, received his semicha from Gateshead Yeshiva and learned at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Today, he lives in Jerusalem with his family and is founder and dean of the David Cardozo Academy. 

If there is but one book you wish to choose to read about Israel this year, this is the one. Each essay is self contained and can be read in one to two sittings, an ideal situation for those short on time. Cardozo has the unique talent of being able to make a complex concept easily understood. He is an excellent teacher, thinker and darshan, whose talent will be better appreciated in the years to come. 
-Alan Jay Gerber 
The Jewish Star 

Its author, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, lives in Jerusalem. He runs an academy and a think tank where, according to the book’s jacket, “rabbis, educators and professors under Rabbi Cardozo’s guidance try to lay the foundations of a new approach to Judaism based on classical sources.” 

It is clear from even a quick perusal that Cardozo is a religious Zionist. “All efforts to make Israel into a purely secular state will ultimately lead to its destruction,” he writes. 

“In no way do we advocate an Israeli theocracy, but without a deep commitment to Judaism, the State of Israel will not be able to survive.” 

...However, Cardozo writes well and with passion; so anybody who wants to learn about religious Zionism will find “For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People” a useful introduction to the subject. 
-Leon Cohen 
Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle 

Hardcover, 327 pages 
ISBN 13: 978-965-524-010-8 
publication: 2008 


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