Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Unpious.com, one of the more fascinating and diverse websites for no-longer Haredi Jews, just posted a really nice review of the book. You can read it here: http://www.unpious.com/2011/12/book-review-strictly-kosher-reading/

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The marketing department at Academic Studies Press just let me know that SKR has already sold over 500 copies since publication under six months ago. Not yet Harry Potter, but by the standards of academic monographs on admittedly obscure topics, not bad at all. Ken Yirbu!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kol Hamevaser

Yeshiva University's student newspaper of Jewish studies has published a lengthy and detailed review. Click here to read it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Amazon Prices

I have no idea why Amazon has hiked the price of the softcover up to some ridiculous amount, but if you are interested in a more reasonably priced copy, please email me  and I should be able to arrange something.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jewish Ideas Daily

Jewish Ideas Daily has published a thoughtful review, connecting the book to wider theories of American marketing.

Short quote: "This book almost explodes with fascinating information about Haredi authors, critics, and debates in the pages of magazines unknown to outsiders.  Finkelman may have set out to describe the contribution of Haredi popular culture to the propagation of Haredism, but what he's done is to write an approachable, responsible introduction to Haredi life that demystifies many of its aspects."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Translation of Rabbi Yonah Goodman's Book Review

In the previous post, I linked to Rabbi Yonah Goodman's review of SKR on Kipa. Here is a translation for the non-Hebrew readers among us.

Is the Haredi Community Turning Inward or Outward?
R. Yonah Goodman
Outwardly, it seems that the Haredi community remains faithful to Torah as it understands it, while maintaining maximal opposition to modernity. Is that true? A new book focuses on some profound recent changes in the Haredi community. What does that teach us about our own religious Zionist path?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kipa Reviews SKR

Rabbi Yonah Goodman, a fascinating educator who works at the Orot College in Israel and writes on the Religious-Zionist website Kipa, sees the American Haredi model described in SKR as parallel in many ways to what is happening within Religious Zionism. I agree, though there are certain differences. (If I get permission, I'll post a translation of his review here.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hirhurim on SKR

Gil Student, probably the most prominent Orthodox blogger in English, just posted a very positive review.

My favorite line -- "the must-read book of the year for every “hocker” and armchair critic..."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

SKR hits Venice Beach

Rabbi Eliyahu Fink, a Ner-Yisrael trained rabbi currently leading the Pacific Jewish Center on Venice Beach, has posted a review of the book, mostly positive but with some substantive and stylistic criticisms as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview in the Jewish Star

The Five-Towns based Jewish newspaper, The Jewish Star, has published an interview with me, focusing on the book and the issues it raises. You can read that interview here.

Amazon Lowers Prices for SKR

I have no idea how they figure out how much to charge for books, and why it seems to change all the time, but it looks like Amazon has dropped the cost of SKR to $19+ for softcover.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Failed Messiah on SKR

Shmarya Rosenberg at the website, Failed Messiah, an Orthodox watchdog site, seems to have liked the book very much.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SKR Reviewed on "Bookjed"

R. Dr. Shalom Berger offers a friendly review in the most recent edition of "Bookjed." (The issue also includes an interesting review of the most recent book on Taglit-Birthright).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Author Interview

I had a enjoyable and pleasant conversation about Strictly Kosher Reading with my friend, colleague, and former employer, Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, as part of ATID's "Jewish Educators' Book Club." You can download the conversation here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Purchasing Info

If you have made it here, you are probably interested in Haredi popular literature. You can purchase the recently published book directly from Academic Studies Press, from Amazon (hardcover or soft), or send me an e-mail (yoel.finkelman@gmail.com) and I might be able to arrange for a discounted copy. Editors who want a review copy can also be in touch with me or the publisher.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Advanced praise for Strictly Kosher Reading

In Strictly Kosher Reading, Yoel Finkelman introduces, interrogates and theorizes contemporary Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) popular literature of a variety of genres, from fiction to biography to popular theology, revealing the tensions inherent in a tradition that simultaneously rejects American culture while adapting--and sometimes adopting--its values and attitudes. As such, the book provides fascinating insights into an aspect of Haredi culture little known outside of Orthodox Jewish circles in a scholarly, yet highly accessible, way.

MaryAnn Beavis, Founding Editor, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture

Haredi Judaism is still in its early stages of development, but has already been the focus of numerous scholars, most of whom look at the learned writings of this community. In this new book, Yoel Finkelman has opened up for us the world of popular culture and thought in the haredi world. His concern is how haredim view themselves and how they write about their community and history. At the same time that haredi society attempts to create walls between itself and the wider culture, its writings for the masses are very much influenced by general trends, even in areas as important as marriage and parenting. Combining keen sociological insight with historical knowledge, Finkelman is a wonderful guide to the recent trends in haredi society.

Marc B. Shapiro, Weinberg Chair of Jewish Studies, University of Scranton

Yoel Finkelman presents a penetrating and fascinating analysis of the ways in which American “haredi” (“ultraorthodox”) writers and educators use the broader culture to create and maintain clear boundaries between themselves and the outside society and culture. With acute observations and a very effective writing style, this book is for anyone interested in the areas of American Orthodox Judaism, Jewish education, religion and media, as well as the broader social scientific area of culture and cognition.

Chaim I. Waxman, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Jewish Studies, Rutgers University