Pro Musica Hebraica “highlight[s] an overlooked aspect of Jewish culture”

  • The Wall Street Journal

Charles Krauthammer’s office in Washington does not lack for artifacts. He obviously cherishes the snapshot of himself with a laughing Ronald Reagan and the board where he plays chess with Natan Sharansky. But the room’s centerpiece is the sepia photograph of a serious-looking man in a fur hat. He was a chief rabbi of Krakow—and Mr. Krauthammer’s great-great-grandfather. Mr. Krauthammer is not a believer, but the affinity across the generations is strong. “I consider myself a Shinto Jew,” he tells me. “I engage in ancestor worship.”
Mr. Krauthammer, a Washington Post columnist and Fox News analyst, grew up in Montreal in a modern-Orthodox home. By the age of 16 he was no longer living a religious life, but a class on Maimonides at McGill University brought him back into the fold. It was there that he understood for the first time “that Jewish philosophy was not parochial, was not superstitious, but was at the level of the great philosophies of Western culture.”

This “moment of revelation” renewed in Mr. Krauthammer “a sense of wonder about Jewish tradition and culture” even as his career took him into the world of political commentary. His great-great-grandfather, he jokes, “spent his life writing commentaries on the Torah. I spend my life writing commentaries on New York Times editorials—which is an argument against evolution.”

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