Hadar Chicago: R. Shai Held Book Talk

Rabbi Shai Held Professor Arnold Eisen

In Person
Date and Time
North Suburban Synagogue Beth El


A common misconception is that love is a “Christian idea” and not a Jewish one. But what if we have it all wrong? Join Rabbi Shai Held as he introduces the central themes of the book then joins Professor Arnold Eisen in a conversation on the centrality of love to  the Jewish vision of ethics, spirituality, and theology. What can Judaism teach us about love, and what can a renewed focus on love reveal to us about Judaism?

About the Book
A dramatic misinterpretation of the Jewish tradition has shaped the history of the West: Christianity is the religion of love, and Judaism the religion of law. In the face of centuries of this widespread misrepresentation, Rabbi Shai Held—one of the most important Jewish thinkers in America today—recovers the heart of the Jewish tradition, offering the radical and moving argument that love belongs as much to Judaism as it does to Christianity. Blending intellectual rigor, a respect for tradition and the practices of a living Judaism, and a commitment to the full equality of all people, Held seeks to reclaim Judaism as it authentically is. He shows that love is foundational and constitutive of true Jewish faith, animating the singular Jewish perspective on injustice and protest, grace, family life, responsibilities to our neighbors and even our enemies, and chosenness.

Ambitious and revelatory, Judaism Is About Love illuminates the true essence of Judaism—an act of restoration from within.


7:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Reception & Book Signing

7:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Evening Minyan

8:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Teaching and dialogue on Judaism is About Love

Faculty Bio

Rabbi Shai Held

Rabbi Shai Held, one of the most influential Jewish thinkers and leaders in America, is President and Dean of the Hadar Institute in New York City. Rabbi Held received the prestigious Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the most influential rabbis in America and to the Forward's list of the most prominent Jews in the world. He is the author of Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence (2013), The Heart of Torah: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion (2017), and Judaism is About Love (2024).

Professor Arnold Eisen

Professor M. Arnold Eisen, one of the world’s foremost authorities on American Judaism, is chancellor emeritus of The Jewish Theological Seminary and professor of Jewish Thought. Professor Eisen became chancellor in 2007 and stepped down in spring 2020 to return to teaching and scholarship as a full-time member of the JTS faculty. During his tenure as chancellor, he transformed the education of religious, pedagogical, professional, and lay leaders for North American Jewry, with a focus on graduating highly skilled, innovative leaders who bring Judaism alive in ways that speak authentically to Jews at a time of rapid and far-reaching change. Before coming to JTS, Chancellor Eisen served on the faculties of Stanford, Tel Aviv, and Columbia universities. He is an award-winning writer and advocate for the Jewish community.

Judaism Is About Love: R. Shai Held in Conversation with
Professor Arnold Eisen

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