In 1917, a group of visionaries broke ground on an institution that would ultimately change the landscape of Jewish life in America. The idea of The Jewish Center was nothing less than revolutionary. The sermons and articles in this volume are intended to tell a small part of the story that has unfolded over the course of these past one hundred years. To grapple with the tensions of tradition and modernity; to integrate the values of our mesora with the very best of Western civilization; to use Torah and mitzvot as a guide to navigate the complexities of contemporary life: These were among the ambitions of the founders of the Jewish Center. The world has changed substantially in the past century, but their goals have not.
In conjunction with the yearlong Centennial celebration of The Jewish Center, this volume presents in print for the first time a collection of sermons delivered by the rabbis of The Jewish Center over the course of its first century. They reveal a great deal about the culture, history, and faith of The Jewish Center. They reflect on historic events, the advances within Orthodox Judaism and life on New York’s Upper West Side. The scholarly essays that follow in the second part of the volume provide yet another window into The Center’s extraordinary past.