According to the publisher, Rowman & Littlefield’s Lexington Books imprint:
“A Jewish Public Theology” draws from Halakhah, Jewish law, to address some of the most searing current policy issues. Abraham Unger examines how Jewish tradition speaks to globalization and its attendant political and economic cleavages. Classical Jewish thought sits on a perch outside of the defining parameters of the global political conversation and as such cannot be pigeon holed as populist, leftist, or rightist. Judaism was born in antiquity and therefore predates by millennia these current ideological biases. That intellectual distance, both due to the long arc of Jewish history, and outsider minority status as a tradition, allows for a critical distance. Unger explores how the Jewish tradition compels the living out of a public policy framework through the forging of equitable communities using arguments that go beyond political orthodoxies. In this socially fragile era, the possibility of that message offers a hopeful discourse of significant possibility for all humankind.
Patrick J. Ryan, a Jesuit priest and the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University, had the highest praise for Unger’s new book.
“Rabbi Abraham Unger brilliantly outlines in this succinct book the scope of a Jewish public theology, one conceived under the shadow of Sinai and its Divine Lawgiver, but still open to humanistic dialogue with other people of faith and even with people of no explicit faith,” Ryan said. “Not since the days of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr, and John Courtney Murray has there been such an eloquent spokesperson for political thought enlightened by faith. In a time of worldwide political dyspepsia this book offers an antidote for public hatred and venomous speech. I recommend Unger’s work with the greatest enthusiasm.”
Abraham Unger is associate professor and director of urban programs in the Department of Government and Politics at Wagner College and senior research fellow at the Carey Institute of Government Reform. He joined the Wagner faculty in 2007. Unger earned his Ph.D. degree from Fordham University.
Unger is also Wagner College’s campus rabbi, and he is spiritual leader of Congregation Ohav Zedek, an Orthodox Union synagogue in Bayonne, N.J. In 2009, Unger was a co-founder of the Faith and Public Policy Roundtable, a coalition of mainstream religious clergy and academics from houses of worship, seminaries and universities, and ecclesiastical organizations throughout New York City. He was the 2011 winner of Wagner College’s Reverend Lyle Guttu Award, given to “those individuals who have somehow contributed to the Wagner community, the local community or the global world in a spiritual way.”
Unger was previously the author of “Business Improvement Districts in the United States: Private Government and Public Consequences,” published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. Read more about BIDs in this Wagner Magazine article, or watch this video of Abe Unger talking about rebuilding New York City with BIDs.
For more about Abe Unger, read some of the news stories featuring him from 2008 through 2014.