Allison's Book Bag

A Famous Jewish Writer

Posted on: June 25, 2015

DennisPragerNew York’s Jewish Week described Dennis Prager as “one of the three most interesting minds in American Jewish Life.” Tomorrow I’ll review his two recent books on the Ten Commandments, one for children and one for adults. Save the date: June 26!

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

Prager was born to modern Orthodox Jewish parents. In tenth grade, while attending Yeshiva of Flatbush in New York, he met Joseph Telushkin. The two later became close friends and authored two books together.

After high school, he attended Brooklyn College and graduated with double major in anthropology and history. For graduate school, he attended the Middle East and Russian Institutes at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Later, he also studied international history, comparative religion, and Arabic at the University of Leeds.

Although he continues to maintain many traditional Jewish practices, Prager abandoned his Orthodoxy as an adult. Even so, after withdrawing from academia, Prager and his friend wrote an introduction to Judaism. The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism was intended for the nonobservant Jews and became a bestseller.

In April 1976, the founder and director of the Brandeis Institute, invited Prager to succeed him as the director. Prager remained at the institute until 1983, during which time he succeeded in influencing many young Jews and built up a cadre of “Prager followers”.

In his personal life, he married Janice Goldstein in 1981. Two years later, they had their son.

WRITING BACKGROUND

Dennis Prager has a lot of credits to his name. For example, his syndicated column is published in newspapers across the country and on the Internet. His writings have also appeared in major national and international publications including: Commentary, The Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal. In 1985, Prager launched his own quarterly journal, currently named Prager Perspectives.

He’s also considered one of America’s most respected radio talk show hosts. For ten years, Prager conducted a weekly interfaith dialogue on radio with representatives of virtually every religion in the world.

From 1992 to 2006, he taught the Hebrew Bible verse-by-verse at American Jewish University. All the lectures are available on CD and digital download.

Prager has lectured on all seven continents, in 45 U.S. states and in nine of Canada’s 10 provinces. He has engaged in interfaith dialogue with Muslims in the Persian Gulf, Hindus in India, Catholics at the Vatican, and Protestants at Christian seminaries throughout America.

In 2011, Dennis co-founded a website called Prager University that offers five-minute videos on various subjects. According to Prager, he created the site to challenge the “unhealthy effect intellectually and morally” of the American higher education system. New videos are added to the website about once a week.

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2 Responses to "A Famous Jewish Writer"

fascinating work and appreciating his inclusion of Canada in lecturing!
Just a quick headsup on the next Canadian Book Challenge beginning on July 1st – the 9th annual ! Would love to see you participating, Allison – and ty for commenting your interest on my post 🙂

Thanks for your comment! The books I reviewed by Dennis Prager were actually the first time I had heard of him.

I wish I could participate in the next Canadian Book Challenge. Unfortunately, I only recently got back from vacation. I’m also trying to get organized for two writing clubs that I’ll teach this summer. By the time I get to catch my breath, the challenge will probably be over. Sigh.

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Summer Reviews

Books can take connect us with strangers, take us to unique places, and introduce us to new ideas. They can also offer hope in a chaotic world. And so I must share what I read!

Each week, I’ll introduce you to religious books, Advanced Reader Copies, animal books, or diversity books. Some I’ll review as singles and others as part of round-ups. Just ahead, there will be reviews of:

  • Joni: The unforgettable story of a young woman’s struggle against quadriplegia & depression by Joni Eareckson
  • The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen
  • Brothers in hope : the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan–refugees by Mary Williams
  • The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee

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