Students of modern Judaism have largely ignored the responsa
literature as a source for comprehending the nature and development
of Jewish history and thought during the last two hundred years.
These original essays argue that the responsa, far from being
unimportant to the investigation of the modern Jewish condition,
provide a helpful framework for analyzing and understanding the
story of the Jewish response to the modern world. The essays focus
on issues of Jewish identity (intermarriage, patrilineal descent,
and apostasy, among others) and reflect upon the variety of paths
Orthodox Judaism has followed in response to the changed social and
religious conditions of the modern era.
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