October 3, 2011 13:54 Age: 3 yrs

Michael J. Broyde, Professor of Law

Contending with Catastrophe: Jewish Perspectives on September 11th
K’hal Publishing, 2011

In this collection of essays, writers from the Jewish tradition consider the response to disaster in light of Jewish law, ethics, and theology.

The first section, editor Michael Broyde writes, focuses on “a particular tragedy in a particular area of family law—the problem of the many individuals who went missing” because of 9/11, and on the ways Judaism as a religious legal system addressed resulting cases.

Reflections in the second section speak to ethical and theological responses, among them these words of the late Orthodox Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik: “Suffering, in the opinion of Judaism, must not be purposeless, wasted. Out of suffering must emerge the ethical norm, the call for repentance, for self-elevation. Judaism wants to convert the passional frustrating experience into an integrating, cleansing, and redeeming factor.”

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