In addition to the scholarly articles he has contributed to peer reviewed publications, Rabbi Allen has edited two books on Jewish law and co-written along with Harvey Haber a book of introductory prayers for various occasions. Rabbi Allen has also made a significant contribution to the understanding of Jewish theology, philosophy, history, and religious practice through his books.

Thinking about Good and Evil: Jewish Views from Antiquity to Modernity

The most comprehensive book on the topic, Thinking about Good and Evil traces the most salient Jewish ideas about why innocent people seem to suffer, why evil individuals seem to prosper, and God’s role in such matters of (in)justice, from antiquity to the present.

Starting with the Bible and Apocrypha, Rabbi Wayne Allen takes us through the Talmud; medieval Jewish philosophers and Jewish mystical sources; the Ba’al Shem Tov and his disciples; early modern thinkers such as Spinoza, Mendelssohn, and Luzzatto; and, finally, modern thinkers such as Cohen, Buber, Kaplan, and Plaskow. Each chapter analyzes individual thinkers’ arguments and synthesizes their collective ideas on the nature of good and evil and questions of justice. Allen also exposes vastly divergent Jewish thinking about the Holocaust: traditionalist (e.g., Ehrenreich), revisionist (e.g., Rubenstein, Jonas), and deflective (e.g., Soloveitchik, Wiesel).

Rabbi Allen’s engaging, accessible volume illuminates well-known, obscure, and novel Jewish solutions to the problem of good and evil.

The Cantor: From the Mishnah to Modernity

The Cantor explores the evolving relationships between cantors and the communities they served as well as the relationships between cantors and the rabbis along with whom they served. With a focus on representative texts – many of which are translated into English for the first time – readers will gain insights into the origins of the position and the changing attitudes towards those who served in that position. This study opens a portal into understanding Jewish communal life from the time of the Mishnah until today and explores the ambivalence of both Jewish authorities and the Jewish public towards the cantor. The future of the cantor as a synagogue professional is also considered.

Prescription for an Ailing World

In 1924, an Australian minister observed that while the world may be getting better off, the world is not getting better. Almost one hundred years have passed and little has changed. No doubt people today are healthier and wealthier than ever before. But people do not seem to be any more virtuous. New technologies have changed the way people live, but violence, torture, terrorism, cruelty, deception, dishonesty, and disrespect continue to threaten how well people live. Wayne Allen argues that while humanity may be ailing, it is not beyond treatment and cure. By embracing ten essential principles rooted in the Bible and putting them into practice it is possible to make people better. Allen takes the reader through a tour of the sad state of moral health of humanity and suggests a remedy. With remarkable humor and sharp insight, Allen will bring readers to an appreciation of how the world can be transformed.

Further Perspectives on Jewish Law and Contemporary Issues

As a dynamic tradition, Judaism has always relied on experts to interpret sacred texts for modern times. Responding to the questions posed to him from congregants, other rabbis, and Jews around the world, Rabbi Allen blends his special sensitivity with profound scholarship in addressing a wide range of religious issues. This book is a window into how an ancient tradition can still keep its relevance today.

Perspectives on Jewish Law and Contemporary Issues

This book is a collection of 85 responsa written between 1988-2008. Using a wide array of Talmudic and halakhic sources along with archaeology, philology, artwork, music history and medicine, Rabbi Wayne Allen of Beth Tikvah in Toronto, addresses a wide range of subjects with which the modern Jewish world continues to grapple. Based on the authors more than thirty years of congregational experience, the book deals with issues such as virtual synagogues, women in Jewish Law, weddings, funerals, tattoos, astrology, cloning, mourning, the Ketubah and clergy confidentiality.