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 (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".
In 2009, Prager 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. In 2016, fifteen of these videos have been classified as "restricted" by YouTube.
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.
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.
- "Dennis Prager Bemoans Immorality". Atlanta Jewish Times, Marcia Caller Jaffe August 31, 2016
- "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.
- "Dennis Prager". Sara E. Karesh; Mitchell M. Hurvitz (2005). Encyclopedia of Judaism. Infobase Publishing. pp. 402–. ISBN 978-0-8160-6982-8.
- "Why the Jews? The Reason for Anti-Semitism, by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin". Commentary Magazine, Mona Charen / Oct. 1, 1983
- "YouTube restricts access to Alan Dershowitz video". Boston Globe, Hiawatha Bray October 14, 2016
- Hallowell, Billy. "Radio Host Dennis Prager Has a New Online 'College' to Combat Liberal Bias and Teach Judeo-Christian Values". The Blaze.
- "Warning: This Article Is Educational". Wall Street Journal, Oct. 19, 2016
- "Koch Calls for Pundit's Ouster from Shoah Council". The Jewish Daily Forward. December 8, 2006.
- "Dennis Prager Warns Conservatives About Defeating Themselves". NewsMax, Brian Freeman | 18 Oct 2016
- "DNB, Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek". Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek.
- "For goodness sake II". World cat.
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