Cross-Currents is a journal of thought and reflections, from an array of Orthodox Jewish writers. We post about issues of the day and issues of our days, representing our individual perspectives.
Like most journals in blog format, editorial control is extremely loose, and writers are free to disagree and debate. Through reading Cross-Currents, we hope that you will become aware of diverse views representing a traditional Jewish perspective. Any impressions you may have had of the Orthodox as being monolithic or humorless should rapidly be dispelled; we’ll see about the other stereotypes as we go. By hearing about Orthodoxy from the Orthodox, it is our hope that you will — if not a member of our community — develop a more balanced and nuanced perspective than that which you find in the general and Jewish media.
In 1998, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein published an on-line journal of Jewish Thought, called Cross-Currents, with articles written by himself and others. The name Cross-Currents reflected, in his words, the aspiration “to expose the intersection between two currents: the timeless flow of authentic Torah thought, and the ebb and tide of current affairs.” Though the material was thoughtful and well-articulated, publication lapsed under pressure from other projects.
In recent years, weblogs have provided a forceful alternative to mainstream media outlets, even discrediting stories that appeared on the major news networks. In 2004, having seen the effectiveness of these political weblogs, Rabbi Yaakov Menken of Project Genesis suggested to Rabbi Adlerstein the development of an online Jewish journal using the same technology — and the new Cross-Currents.com was born.
Torah has much to say and offer concerning the problems of an increasingly complex world. Jews (and non-Jews) are increasingly turning to Torah to see what a 3300-year-old Divine system has to say about the issues that confront us. Even those who find themselves outside the observant world will learn from what Torah Judaism has to offer, even if (in the words of Reform leader Leonard Fein) it will offer them only “a vote, not a veto.”
Stories about Orthodox Jews and Judaism which misrepresent us are frequent fare in both the Jewish and secular press, and many of our essays discuss these as well. We also offer an alternative view of the modern twists on the timeless Torah, or instruction, that is Judaism, so often glowingly chronicled in the other outlets you may read.
This, then, is our take on the news, a different perspective than the one you are used to seeing. We’ll be self-critical, yes, but analytical and fair as well. Some will tell you that we’re engaging in “apologetics,” but we are unafraid to help those with a more honest and impartial viewpoint to understand how we actually see things, versus what the media might tell you.
We hope you’ll find Cross-Currents to be helpful, informative, and above all an enjoyable read.
Please note that many of our writers are accomplished public speakers, and may be available to speak in your community. Please send your inquiries to speakers -at- cross-currents.com. Please also keep in mind that our writers are a diverse group. They often disagree with each other. Any contribution is the responsibility of that author alone. Those views are not necessarily shared by the editors or the other writers. (While comments are moderated, we do not exercise any editorial control over our listed senior writers.)