Religion: U.S. Judaism's Man of Paradox

The dominant force in Orthodoxy is a revered Boston rabbi

Although Joseph B. Soloveitchik is U.S. Orthodox Judaism's most illustrious philosopher, only a small scattering of his thousands of lectures have ever been published. He is a leading Zionist who has baffled his closest followers by never once visiting the state of Israel. In the U.S., he created the progressive, or "Modern," wing of Orthodoxy by synthesizing tradition and contemporary culture; but paradoxically for Soloveitchik, now that Orthodoxy is well established in the U.S.,* it tends increasingly to reject his outlook and retreat behind sectarian walls.

Soloveitchik, 81, is known to his devotees...

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