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Prager speaking at CPAC in March 2016.
August 2, 1948 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Brooklyn College
University of Leeds
|Occupation||Radio host, political commentator, creator of Prager University (a YouTube channel), author, and television personality|
|Spouse(s)||Janice Adelstein or Goldstein (1981–1986; divorced; 1 child)
Francine Stone (1988–2005; divorced; 1 child)
Susan Reed (2008–present)
Early life and education
Prager was born to modern Orthodox Jewish parents. He attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York. There, in the 10th grade, he met Joseph Telushkin. The two became close friends and would later co-author two books. He went on to attend Brooklyn College and graduated with a double major in anthropology and history. Between 1970 and 1972, he attended the Middle East and Russian Institutes (now Harriman Institute) at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Prager also studied international history, comparative religion, and Arabic at the University of Leeds.
Prager left Columbia University without finishing his master's degree and decided to write an introduction to Judaism with his friend, Telushkin: The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism. Published in 1976, it became a bestseller that was popular in all major American Jewish movements. The book was intended for nonobservant Jews. Unlike Telushkin, who became an Orthodox rabbi, Prager abandoned his Orthodoxy as an adult but continues to maintain many traditional Jewish practices.
In April 1976, Shlomo Bardin, the founder and director of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, invited Prager to succeed him as the director, and Prager hired Telushkin as education director. Prager remained at the institute until September 1983. During his tenure, he succeeded in influencing many young Jews and built up a cadre of "Prager followers." He married Janice Goldstein in 1981, and in 1983, they had their son, David.
In 1982, KABC (AM) in Los Angeles hired Prager to host a talk show on religion every Sunday night. Prager hosted the show for more than ten years. He and Telushkin published another book in 1983, Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism. Later that year, Prager became the Monday-Thursday talk show host for KABC, but he refused to work on Friday night, the beginning of Shabbat. He also wrote a syndicated column for newspapers across the country. In 1985, Prager launched his own quarterly journal, Ultimate Issues, which was renamed to Prager Perspectives in 1996.
Since 1999, he has hosted a nationally syndicated talk show from KRLA in Los Angeles. His show has some recurring segments. The "Happiness Hour" is based on his book Happiness Is a Serious Problem and occurs on the second hour of his show on Fridays. Other regular segments are the "Male/Female Hour," and "Ultimate Issues."
Prager also started a website, "Prager University", offering five-minute videos on various subjects such as the Ten Commandments, the minimum wage, the Middle East, Global warming, and happiness with a conservative perspective. Video contributors are varied and include columnists George Will and Bret Stephens, British historians Paul Johnson and Andrew Roberts, American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks, former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar, several university professors, and Prager himself. According to Prager, he created the site to challenge the "unhealthy effect intellectually and morally" of the American higher education system.
Views and opinions
Prager wrote in 2006 that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not be allowed to take his Congressional oath using a Qur'an because "American civilization" has been based on the Bible and its values, and an oath on another religious text would be unprecedented. Prager explained that though he is a religious Jew and so holds the Old Testament as sacred, he would take his oath of office on a Bible that included both the Old Testament and the New Testament, as he would honor a tradition that goes back to President George Washington, and that is the Bible in which nearly all Americans believe. In response, a former New York City Mayor, Ed Koch, called for Prager to end his service on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council. On December 4, in an interview with Prager, Tucker Carlson also disagreed: "I'm no great defender of the Koran but I'm not sure why America is imperiled by Keith Ellison's taking the oath on it." In response, Prager explained, "It's not imperiled by his taking the oath on it, it's imperiled for substituting the Bible for the first time since George Washington had a Bible at his inauguration.... The question is not what he believes in. The question is, 'what is the central text of the American value system?' That‘s why I think this is important. Otherwise I couldn't care less."
Prager's columns are handled by Creators Syndicate. He has been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and Commentary. His weekly syndicated column appears on such online websites as Townhall.com, National Review Online, Jewish World Review and elsewhere. He also writes a bi-weekly column for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
He is also the author of seven books:
- The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism (with Joseph Telushkin) (1986) ISBN 0-671-62261-7.
- Think a Second Time (44 Essays on 44 Subjects) (1996) ISBN 0-06-098709-X.
- Happiness Is a Serious Problem: A Human Nature Repair Manual (1999) ISBN 0-06-098735-9.
- Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism (with Joseph Telushkin) (2003) ISBN 0-7432-4620-9.
- Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph (2012) ISBN 0-06198512-0.
- The Ten Commandments: Still The Best Moral Code (2015)
- The Ten Commandments: Still The Best Path To Follow (2015) (for children)
His books have been translated into Spanish, German, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.
- For Goodness Sake, 1993.
- For Goodness Sake II, 1996.
- Israel in a Time of Terror, 2002.
- Baseball, Dennis, & the French, 2011.
- Patterns of Evidence – Exodus, 2014.
- "U.S. conservative groups funding free trips to Israel for Republican leaders, Time reports". Haaretz. December 8, 2014.
- Levine, Sam (October 29, 2014). "Conservative Pundit Dennis Prager Says College Sexual Assaults Are Lies To Get Votes". The Huffington Post.
- "About us". Townhall.
- Karesh & Hurvitz 2005, p. 402.
- "Biography". The Dennis Prager Show.
- "Happiness Is a Serious Problem", Goodreads, Amazon
- "Dennis Prager", Talk radio, Town hall
- "Dennis Prager", Talk radio, Town hall
- Hallowell, Billy. "Radio Host Dennis Prager Has a New Online 'College' to Combat Liberal Bias and Teach Judeo-Christian Values". The Blaze.
- "Rabbi Kahane vs. Dennis Prager". YouTube. 1985.
- Prager, Dennis (November 28, 2006). "America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on". American Thinker.
- "Koch Calls for Pundit's Ouster from Shoah Council". The Jewish Daily Forward. December 8, 2006.
- "'Tucker' for Dec. 4". MS NBC. MSN.
- "The Greatest Days of Your Life". Creators.
- "Dennis Prager Articles – Political Columnist & Commentator". Townhall.
- "Dennis Prager Archive". National Review Online.
- Prager, Dennis (2012-04-24). Still the Best Hope. ISBN 978-0-06209781-1.
- "DNB, Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek". Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek.
- Dennis Prager (bio), Key Speakers
- "For goodness sake II". World cat.
- "Israel in a Time of Terror (Video 2002)". IMDb. October 22, 2002.
- "Baseball, Dennis & The French — Highlights". YouTube. Google.
- "Patterns of Evidence" (press release).
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