|This article may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted citations that do not verify the text. (December 2014)|
Prager speaking at the California Capitol Building in 2008
August 2, 1948 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Brooklyn College|
|Occupation||Radio host, political commentator, founder of Prager University, 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 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 1970–72, 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 withdrew from academia and left graduate school. He decided to write an introduction to Judaism with his friend Joseph Telushkin. The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism was published in 1976 and became a bestseller, popular in all major American Jewish movements. The book was intended for the nonobservant Jews. Unlike Telushkin, who became an Orthodox rabbi, Prager abandoned his Orthodoxy as an adult although he continues to maintain many traditional Jewish practices.
In April 1976, Shlomo Bardin, the founder and director of the Brandeis 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 Sabbath. He also wrote a syndicated column for newspapers across the country. In 1985, Prager launched his own quarterly journal, Ultimate Issues, which were 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 called "Prager University", that offers five-minute videos on various subjects such as the Ten Commandments, minimum wage, the Middle East Crisis, 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. New videos are added to the website about once a week.
Views and opinions
Prager opined in 2006 that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not take his Congressional oath using a Koran because "American civilization" has been based on the Bible and its values, and because an oath on another religious text would be unprecedented. Prager explained that though he is a religious Jew and therefore only holds the Old Testament 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 because that is the Bible in which nearly all Americans believe. In response, the late 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 criticized this, saying: "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 0061985120.
- The Ten Commandments: Still The Best Moral Code (2015)
- The Ten Commandments: Still The Best Path To Follow (for children) (2015)
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.
- "Townhall.com – the Leading Conservative and Political Opinion Website". Townhall.com.
- Karesh & Hurvitz 2005, p. 402.
- "Biography – The Dennis Prager Show". The Dennis Prager Show.
- Billy Hallowell. "Radio Host Dennis Prager Has a New Online ‘College’ to Combat Liberal Bias and Teach Judeo-Christian Values". The Blaze.
- "Prager University". prageruniversity.com.
- Dennis Prager (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". msnbc.com.
- "The Greatest Days of Your Life".
- "Dennis Prager Articles – Political Columnist & Commentator". townhall.com.
- "Dennis Prager Archive – National Review Online". National Review Online.
- Prager, Dennis (2012-04-24). Still the Best Hope. ISBN 9780062097811.
- "DNB, Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek". Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek.
- "For goodness sake II".
- "Israel in a Time of Terror (Video 2002)". IMDb. October 22, 2002.
- "BASEBALL, DENNIS & THE FRENCH -- Highlights". YouTube.
- "Patterns of Evidence".