Whenever I have lunch with my close friend Carl (not his real name), a conservative Republican, a Jew, and a successful businessman, our conversation ranges over a wide spectrum of topics and ideas. Carl is one of the smartest people I know. He’s also a good man, quietly charitable and sincere, and possessed of a grand smile and infectious laugh.
Though Carl is not Orthodox, in my opinion he is deeply religious. He attends the Daf Yomi class at my synagogue — a huge commitment in terms of time and intellectual effort. And I can always count on him to pose questions about halacha (Jewish law) to which I usually have no coherent answer.
Carl and I like to clue each other in to favorite books, blogs, movies, and worthy political groups. When we first met, Carl loaned me a slim but provocative volume entitled Judaism, Law & the Free Market. It’s a challenging and splendid work written by Joseph Isaac Lifshitz, a Torah scholar, and published by the Acton Institute.