About

Shalom, dear visitor.

I am a PhD student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Department of Jewish Thought, and a Postgraduate Associate in Jewish Philosophy at the Philosophy Department and the Program in Judaic Studies, Yale University, Connecticut.

My PhD dissertation (in submittion process) is entitled “American 20th Century Jewish Thought and Classical American Pragmatism: New Perspectives on the Writings of the Rabbis-thinkers Hayyim Hirschensohn, Mordecai M. Kaplan and Eliezer Berkovits” (Adviser: Dr. Avinoam Rosenak). Here are the first fruits of this research project:

1. “Pragmatism: A New name for some Old ways of thinking in Judaism”, Review-essay [in Hebrew] of David Brezis, Between Zealotry and Grace: Anti-Zealotic Trends in Rabbinic Thought, Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press 2015 [Hebrew] and Hannah E. Hashkes, Rabbinic Discourse as a System of Knowledge, Leiden & Boston: Brill 2015, DAAT 82 (2016), pp. 405-417

2. “The Challenge of the ‘Caring’ God: A. J. Heschel’s Theology in Light of Eliezer Berkovits’s Critique” [Hebrew], Zehuyot 8 (2017), pp. 43-60

3. “R. Ḥayyim Hirschensohn’s Beliefs about Death and Immortality as tested by his Halakhic decision making regarding Autopsies” [Hebrew], DAAT 83 (2017), pp. 339-357

4. “Pragmatism and Jewish Thought: R. Eliezer Berkovits᾽s Philosophy of Halakhic Fallibility”, accepted for publication in The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

Some other papers are in preparation.

I graduated my MA (magna cum laude) at the Department of Jewish Thought, The Hebrew University, in 2007. The MA thesis I wrote (advised by Prof. Moshe Halbertal) is entitled “'If so, there would be no end to the matter' As Halakhic Argument in Rabbinic Texts” (Hebrew; for an English summary see here). In this work I examined a deliberative inclination to limit Halakhic concepts entailing endless normative implications.

From fall 2012 until summer 2016 I was a fellow at The Hartman Institute's Beit-Midrash in Jerusalem. I translated into the Hebrew Prof. Michael Rosenak's Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge: Conversations with the Torah, Boulder, Colorado and Oxford, UK: Westview Press 2001 (co-translation and editing: Dr. Avinoam Rosenak). The book was published as עץ החיים ועץ הדעת: שיחות עם התורה (Yediot Sfarim, Tel Aviv 2013). On winter 2014-2015 I taught two intensive academic courses at the Paideia Institute, in Stockholm (Sweden): 'The Varieties of Medieval Jewish Thought', and 'Modern Jewish Thought: The Turn to the World'.

I am married to Eliraz, we currently live in New Haven and have four children. In this website I reflect on Judaism, social justice, technology, education, and existential issues, from a Jewish-humane and social-welfarist perspective. For comments, questions or inviting lectures you may contact me at nadav.berman(at)yale.edu

All the best,

Nadav Berman Shifman

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