Noah Feldman

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Noah Feldman
Noah Feldman.jpg
Born 1970 (age 43–44)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality United States
Fields Legal studies, religion, politics
Institutions Harvard Law School
Alma mater Harvard College
University of Oxford
Yale Law School

Noah Feldman (born 1970) is an American author and professor of law at Harvard Law School.

Education and career[edit]

Feldman grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, where he attended the Maimonides School.[1]

He graduated from Harvard College in 1992 and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to University of Oxford, where he earned a D.Phil in Islamic Thought in 1994. Upon his return from Oxford, he received his J.D., in 1997, from Yale Law School, where he was the book review editor of the Yale Law Journal. He later served as a law clerk for Associate Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2001, he joined the faculty of New York University Law School (NYU), leaving for Harvard in 2007. In 2008, he was appointed the Bemis Professor of International Law.[2]

He worked as an advisor in the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq following the 2003 invasion of the country. While his initial work, under Jay Garner, was unfocused, he was authorized, under Paul Bremer's transitional team to help formulate the country's new constitution. However, what role if any he played in formulating the country's new constitution has not been established. It is not clear that he played any significant part in this constitutional work because his advisory role ended shortly after it began; whether he quit or was fired has never been made clear. He is a senior adjunct fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and regularly contributes features and opinion pieces to The New York Times Magazine[3] and Bloomberg View columns.[4]

He is fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, and French, besides English.[5]

Work and views[edit]

As an academic and public intellectual, Feldman is concerned with issues at the intersection of religion and politics. In the United States, this has a bearing on First Amendment questions of church and state and the role of religion both in government and in private life. Feldman's other area of specialty is Islam. In Iraq, the same reasoning leads him to support the creation of a democracy with Islamist elements. This last position has been lauded by some as a pragmatic and sensitive solution to the problems inherent in the creation of a new Iraqi government;[6] others have taken exception to the same idea, however, characterizing Feldman's views as simplistic and shortsighted.[7]

Feldman was a featured speaker, alongside noted Islamic authority Hamza Yusuf, in the lecture Islam & Democracy: Is a clash of civilisations inevitable?, which was subsequently released on DVD. An excerpt from Feldman's 2008 book, The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State, appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and was attacked by Leon Wieseltier for "promoting" Islamic law as a "swell basis" for a political order. This, according to Wieseltier, amounts to "shilling for soft theocracy" and is hypocritical since Wieseltier presumes that neither he nor Feldman would actually choose to rear their own children in such a system.[8]

Criticism of Modern Orthodox Judaism[edit]

In a New York Times Magazine article, "Orthodox Paradox", Feldman recounted his experiences of the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion of the Modern Orthodox Jewish community in which he was raised, specifically at his high school alma mater, the Maimonides School.[9] He contended that his choice to marry a non-Jew led to ostracism by the school, in which he and his then girlfriend were allegedly air-brushed out of the 1998 photograph of his class reunion published in the school newsletter. His marriage to a non-Jew is contrary to orthodox Jewish law, although he and his family had been active members of the Harvard Hillel Orthodox minyan. The photographer's account of an over-crowded photo was used to accuse Feldman of misrepresenting a fundamental fact in the story, namely whether he was purposefully cropped out of the picture, as many other class members were also cropped from the newsletter photo due to space limitations.[10] His supporters noted that Feldman's claim in the article was that he and his girlfriend were "nowhere to be found" and not that they were cropped or deleted out of the photo. Yet others view this claim by Feldman's supporters as disingenuous, noting that elsewhere Feldman had publicly encouraged the suggestion of air-brushing. Leon Wieseltier attacked Feldman for the dishonesty of "exposing the depredations" of Orthodox Jewish law while praising sharia as "bold and noble," and called Feldman's essay a "pathetic whine".[11]

His critique of Modern Orthodox Judaism has been commented on by many, including Hillel Halkin, columnist for the New York Sun;[12] Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor of the New Jersey Jewish News;[13] Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union;[14] Rabbi Shalom Carmy, tenured professor of Jewish philosophy at Yeshiva University;[15] Rabbi Norman Lamm, chancellor of Yeshiva University;[16] Rabbi Shmuley Boteach;[17] Gary Rosenblatt, editor of Jewish Week,[18] the editorial board of the Jewish Press;[19][20] Rabbis Ozer Glickman and Aharon Kahn, roshei yeshiva at Yeshiva University;[21][22] Ami Eden, Executive Editor of The Forward; Rabbi David M. Feldman, author of Where There's Life, There's Life;[23] and Jonathan Rosenblum, columnist for the Jerusalem Post.[24] In addition, the American Thinker published responses by Ralph M. Lieberman,[25] Richard Baehr,[26] and Thomas Lifson.[27]

Feldman also argued pro bono in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals against the efforts of a Jewish group in Tenafly, New Jersey, the Tenafly Eruv Association, to erect an eruv. However, his arguments were rejected in 2003 and the eruv was, in fact, permitted.[28]

During the Amish "beard-cutting" attacks trial of 2012, Feldman argued against applying the Federal hate-crimes law in the case. He argued in a Bloomberg View column that strife amongst co-religionists, including for example "two gangs of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic teenagers from competing sects", could be brought under the law. "Any dispute that takes place in the context of a church, mosque or synagogue would be ripe for federal intervention. Over time, a hate-crimes law designed as a shield to protect religious groups against bias could easily become a sword with which to prosecute them", he then concluded.[4] The sixteen Amish men and women in the 2012 case were subsequently found guilty.[29]

Public perception and image[edit]

Feldman's work on the Iraqi constitution was controversial at the time, and some, including Edward Said, felt he was not experienced enough with the country to undertake such a task.[30]

In 2005, The New York Observer called Feldman "one of a handful of earnest, platinum-résumé’d law geeks whose prospects for the Big Bench are the source of constant speculation among friends and colleagues."[31]

Feldman was given the Most Beautiful Brainiac award from New York Magazine, and the magazine also named him as one of "the influentials" in ideas, alongside Jeffrey Sachs, Saul Kripke, Richard Neuhaus, and Brian Greene.[32]

In 2008, he was among the names topping Esquire magazine's list of the "most influential people of the 21st century". The magazine called him "a public intellectual of our time."[33]

In 2011, Noah Feldman appeared in all three episodes in the Ken Burns PBS series Prohibition as a legal commentator.

Family and personal life[edit]

Born and raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, the son of Roy E. Feldman and Penny Hollander Feldman, Noah Feldman has two children and lives in Cambridge, Mass. Feldman has two brothers: Simon Feldman, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College, and Ezra Feldman, a poet.

He was married to Jeannie Suk in 1999. The marriage ended in divorce in 2011. He has two children, a son and a daughter.

Books[edit]

  • ——— (2003), After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-17769-4 
  • ——— (2004), What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-12179-6 
  • ——— (2005), Divided By God: America's Church-State Problem – and What We Should Do About It, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-28131-9 
  • ——— (2008), The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-12045-4 
  • ——— (2010), Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices, Twelve 
  • ——— (2013), The Cool War: The Future of Global Competition, Random House isbn=978-0812992748 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AFTEREFFECTS: THE LAW; American Will Advise Iraqis On Writing New Constitution", The New York Times, May 11, 2003. Accessed April 21, 2008. "Professor Feldman grew up in Boston an Orthodox Jew. As a child, he learned Hebrew and Aramaic to read the ancient and medieval religious texts taught at the Maimonides School, a private Jewish school in Brookline, Mass."
  2. ^ Faculty page, law.harvard.edu.
  3. ^ "When Judges Make Foreign Policy", September 25, 2008, example NYT Magazine article, retrieved 2014-03-01.
  4. ^ a b Feldman, Noah, "Beard-cutting is horrid. It isn’t a hate crime", Bloomberg News via Ohio.com, September 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  5. ^ "Biography of Noah Feldman". The Globalist. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  6. ^ "No review ID passed in! Can't display page" a/o 2012-09-20.
  7. ^ "Jihad is Over! (If Noah Feldman Wants It.)". Campus Watch. May 19, 2003. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Theologico-Politicus". Tnr.com. November 15, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  9. ^ Feldman, Noah, "Orthodox Paradox", New York Times, 2007-07-22
  10. ^ "Snap, Crackle, But Not Cropped", thejewishweek.com
  11. ^ Wieseltier, Leon. "Theologico-Politicus", The New Republic
  12. ^ ""The Fact of Jewish Particularity" by Hillel Halkin". Nysun.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  13. ^ ""The Way We Do the Things We Do" by Andrew Silow-Caroll". Njjewishnews.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  14. ^ ""Letter to the Editor" by Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb". The New York Times. August 5, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  15. ^ ""Truth and Consequences" by Rabbi Shalom Carmy". Kolhamevaser.com. July 28, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  16. ^ ""A Response to Noah Feldman" by Rabbi Norman Lamm". Forward.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  17. ^ Shmuley Boteach, "Stop Ostracizing the Intermarried", Jerusalem Post
  18. ^ ""Modern Orthodoxy Under Attack" by Gary Rosenblatt". Thejewishweek.com. November 15, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Feldman's Complaint" by Editorial Board[dead link]
  20. ^ "Conceding a Point to Feldman?" by Editorial Board[dead link]
  21. ^ "Kol Hamevaser website". Kolhamevaser.com. July 31, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  22. ^ Rabbi Aharon Kahn: Selichos and Noah Feldman[dead link]
  23. ^ "The Imperative to Heal". Jstandard.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  24. ^ Rosenblum, Jonathan. ""Feldman's Bad Faith" by Jonathan Rosenblum". Fr.jpost.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  25. ^ ""Question of Proper Journalistic Standards" by Ralph M. Lieberman". Americanthinker.com. July 28, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  26. ^ Posted at 12:14 pm (July 28, 2011). ""More Cultural Relativism From The Times" by Richard Baehr". Americanthinker.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  27. ^ Posted at 12:51 pm (July 28, 2011). ""Bending the Truth to Slur Orthodox Jews" by Thomas Lifson". Americanthinker.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  28. ^ Rosenblum, Jonathan. "Think Again: Feldman's bad faith", The Jerusalem Post, August 9, 2007. Accessed April 21, 2008. "But the clearest evidence of Feldman's animus for modern Orthodoxy is absent from his piece: his pro bono representation of the city of Tenafly, New Jersey in its efforts to prevent the construction of an eruv. Feldman knew full well that the absence of an eruv allowing the wheeling of baby carriages on Shabbat would prevent modern Orthodox Jews, like his former classmates, from being able to move to the suburbs, and that the Tenafly litigation would serve as a precedent in many similar battles raging around the country."
  29. ^ Eckholm, Erik, "Jury Convicts Amish Group of Hate Crimes", New York Times, September 20, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  30. ^ Fahim, Kareem (June 22, 2004). "Have a Nice Country". Village Voice. 
  31. ^ Schneider-Mayerson, Anna (2005-11-03). "The Little Supremes". New York Observer. 
  32. ^ "The Most Influential in Ideas". New York Magazine. May 8, 2006. 
  33. ^ "75 Most Influential People of the 21st century: Noah Feldman". Esquire. October 1, 2008. 

Appearance in, Prohibition: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick DVD X0009AUBLZ

External links[edit]