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Dennis Prager

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Dennis Prager
Dennis Prager by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Prager speaking at CPAC in March 2016.
Born (1948-08-02) August 2, 1948 (age 70)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater
Occupation
  • Radio host
  • Political commentator
  • Founder of PragerU
  • Author
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)
  • Janice Adelstein
    (m. 1981; div. 1986)
  • Francine Stone
    (m. 1988; div. 2005)
  • Susan Reed
    (m. 2008)
Children 2
Website dennisprager.com

Dennis Mark Prager (/ˈprɡər/; born August 2, 1948) is an American nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host and writer. He founded PragerU, an American non-profit organization that creates videos on various political, economic, and philosophical topics from a conservative perspective.

Early life and education

Dennis Prager was born in New York City on August 2, 1948, to Hilda Prager (née Friedfeld; 1919–2009) and her husband, Max Prager (1918–2014). Prager and his siblings were raised as Modern Orthodox Jews. 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 history and Middle Eastern Studies. 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.[1]

Career

Prager speaking at the California Capitol Building in 2008.

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.[2] 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.[1]

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 Adelstein in 1981, and in 1983, they had their son, David.[1]

Media

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.[3] 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.[1]

Since 1999, he has hosted a nationally syndicated talk show from KRLA in Los Angeles and Salem Radio Network. 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", occurring on the second hour of his Wednesday show, and "Ultimate Issues Hour", which takes place on the third hour of his Tuesday show.

PragerU

In 2009, Prager started a website called PragerU, which creates five-minute videos on various topics from a conservative perspective.[4][5] According to Prager, he created the site to challenge the "unhealthy effect intellectually and morally" of the American higher education system.[6] BuzzFeed described PragerU as "one of the biggest, most influential and yet least understood forces in online media." Videos produced by PragerU are on track to receive one billion views in 2018. Videos covers topics such as "racism, sexism, income inequality, gun ownership, Islam, immigration, Israel, police brutality" and speech on college campuses. BuzzFeed wrote that "the biggest reason PragerU has escaped national attention is that it mostly doesn't do Trump," with none of its videos being about Donald Trump or the political news cycle.[7]

Views

According to National Public Radio, Prager is an "outspoken conservative" who "often targets multiculturalism, Muslims and LGBTQ people." He also defends free speech "vociferously", including comedian Kathy Griffin's photo stunt in which she held up a model of President Trump's severed head.[8]

Islam

Prager in 2006 criticized Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, for announcing that he would use the Quran for the reenactment of his swearing in ceremony. Prager made the incorrect assertion that an oath on any book other than the Bible would be unprecedented. In response, former New York City Mayor, Ed Koch, called for Prager to end his service on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council.[9]

LGBT rights

Prager opposes same-sex marriage.[10] He has suggested that if same-sex marriage were legalized, then "there is no plausible argument for denying polygamous relationships, or brothers and sisters, or parents and adult children, the right to marry."[8][10] In 2014, he claimed that the "heterosexual AIDS" crisis was something "entirely manufactured by the Left."[10]

Donald Trump

Although Prager endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, he said that Trump was his "17th choice out of 17 candidates." He clarified that he "was not a Trump supporter, when there was a choice," but added, "There is no choice now."[11] Prager had previously said that Trump was "unfit to be a presidential candidate, let alone president".[7] Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic noted that Prager had also said that he could not "trust the integrity or conscience of a man or woman who publicly humiliates his or her spouse" through adultery; that those who lie to besmirch the names of others cannot be trusted; and that "any human being with a functioning conscience or a decent heart loathes torture."[12] Prager said that endorsing Trump was in line with his principles because "We hold that defeating Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, and the Left is also a principle. And that it is the greater principle."[12][13]

Barack Obama

In 2015, Prager headlined the title of one of his columns about the Iran nuclear agreement, "1938 and 2015: Only the Names Are Different", implying that Obama was the equivalent of Neville Chamberlain whose Munich Agreement with Hitler is widely regarded as a failed act of appeasement toward Nazi Germany.[14]

News media

In July 2017, Prager stated that "the news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does."[10]

Published works

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,[15] 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 eight books:

Filmography

References

  1. ^ a b c d Karesh, Sara E.; Hurvitz, Mitchell M. (2006). Encyclopedia of Judaism. Facts On File. pp. 402–403. ISBN 978-0-8160-6982-8. 
  2. ^ Kirsch, Jonathan (May 16, 2018). "A Rational View of the Torah". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 13 July 2018. 
  3. ^ "Why the Jews? The Reason for Anti-Semitism, by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin". Commentary Magazine, Mona Charen / Oct. 1, 1983
  4. ^ "YouTube restricts access to Alan Dershowitz video". Boston Globe, Hiawatha Bray October 14, 2016
  5. ^ "YouTube restricts access to Dershowitz video - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-08-27. 
  6. ^ Hallowell, Billy. "Radio Host Dennis Prager Has a New Online 'College' to Combat Liberal Bias and Teach Judeo-Christian Values". The Blaze. 
  7. ^ a b Bernstein, Joseph. "How PragerU Is Winning The Right-Wing Culture War Without Donald Trump". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-03-12. 
  8. ^ a b Lulu Garcia-Navarro. "Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra Confronts Controversy Over Right-Wing Guest Conductor". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-08-27. 
  9. ^ "Koch Calls for Pundit's Ouster from Shoah Council". The Jewish Daily Forward. December 8, 2006. 
  10. ^ a b c d Deb, Sopan (2017-08-07). "Santa Monica Symphony Roiled by Conservative Guest Conductor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-27. 
  11. ^ Carter, Evan (September 8, 2016). "Q&A: Dennis Prager off the air". The Collegian. 
  12. ^ a b Friedersdorf, Conor. "Dennis Prager Puts Defeating Clinton Ahead of All His Other Principles". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-08-27. 
  13. ^ "Trump, Conservatives, and the 'Principles' Question". National Review. Retrieved 2017-08-27. 
  14. ^ "Republican leaders who support Trump are modern-day Neville Chamberlains". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-08-27. 
  15. ^ "Dennis Prager Warns Conservatives About Defeating Themselves". NewsMax, Brian Freeman | 18 Oct 2016
  16. ^ "For goodness sake II". World cat. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Dennis Prager on IMDb
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