OU PRESS announces the publication of Bridging Traditions: Demystifying Differences Between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews by Rabbi Haim Jachter and Foundation of Faith: A Tapestry of Insights and Illuminations on Pirkei Avot Based on the Thought and Writings of Rabbi Norman Lamm

04 May 2022

Bridging Traditions is essential reading for Jews of all origins who are interested in understanding their own practices and appreciating those of their brethren, and in seeing the kaleidoscope of halachic observance as a multi-faceted expression of an inner divine unity. 

As the rabbi of a Sephardic synagogue for over twenty years who himself is of Ashkenazic descent and trained in Ashkenazic yeshivot, Rabbi Haim Jachter has a unique vantage point from which to observe the differences in customs and halachot between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. In his new book, Rabbi Jachter applies his wide-ranging expertise to explicating an encyclopedic array of divergences between Ashkenazic and Sephardic halachic practice, while also capturing the diversity within different Sephardic communities. 

The book discusses a plethora of issues which separate Ashkenazim and Sephardim, from the well-known to the obscure. In each chapter, Rabbi Jachter provides the sources and rationales behind the practice of each community. Throughout, Rabbi Jachter explains the opinions of both earlier and contemporary poskim and demonstrates how halacha unfolds in often unexpected ways.   

Foundation of Faith, a commentary on Pirkei Avot based on the teachings of Rabbi Norman Lamm and edited by Rabbi Mark Dratch. Inspiring and profound, the commentary is a scintillating demonstration of Rabbi Lamm’s invaluable message for contemporary Jewry.  

A gifted orator, teacher, scholar, and rabbinic leader, Rabbi Norman Lamm was renowned for a distinguished career that included the presidency of Yeshiva University, authorship of numerous books and articles on Jewish philosophy and other aspects of Jewish thought and studies, and a leadership role in the Jewish community which has left a lasting impact. As the spiritual leader of The Jewish Center in New York City for decades, Rabbi Lamm mesmerized his congregants with sermons legendary for their profound intellectual substance and soaring eloquence. With a rare combination of penetrating scholarship and eloquence of expression, he successfully presented a Torah view of contemporary Jewish life that still speaks movingly to all. 

Published posthumously in memory of Rabbi Lamm and his wife Mindella, who passed away last year, as well as in memory of the untimely passing of their late daughter Sara, it was edited with care by Rabbi Mark Dratch. Love of Torah, veneration of tradition, positive engagement with the modern world and contemporary culture, and the importance of a life built on overarching Jewish values are just a few of the themes that animate this volume, all expressed with Rabbi Lamm’s characteristic mastery. 

Rabbi Mark Dratch is the Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America. He served as a pulpit rabbi, founder of JSafe: The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse Free Environment, and Instructor of Jewish Studies and Philosophy at Yeshiva University. 

This work will undoubtedly be warmly welcomed as a classic of Jewish thought and exegesis by the ever-growing number of people who appreciate Rabbi Lamm’s unique voice. 

OU Press, the publishing division of the Orthodox Union, publishes quality works of Jewish thought and practice, including Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Torah Beloved: Reflections on the Love of Torah and the Celebration of the Holiday of Matan Torah, and Derashot LeDorot: A Commentary for the Ages as well as additional books on Jewish law such as Halacha Yomis: A Daily Halachic Companion and Beurei HaTefillah: A Guide to Jewish Prayer 

Requests for review copies and inquiries should be sent to oupress@ou.org.