- Full Name Dennis Prager
- Occupation Radio Talk Show Host, Writer, Author
- Nationality America
- Birthplace Brooklyn, USA
- Birth Date August 2, 1948
Dennis Prager | Biography 2021
Dennis Prager is an American writer, author, radio talk show host, and co-founder of Prager University. He prominently advocates Judaism and is known for his bold and broader commentary on politics.
Dennis Prager is an American writer, author, radio talk show host, and co-founder of Prager University. He prominently advocates Judaism and is known for his bold and broader commentary on politics. Each of his books is still printing and selling.
Who is Dennis Prager?
Dennis Prager is an American radio show host, producer, and writer. He is criticized for his interpretation of Traditional Judaism via his shows and books.
Among his books, ‘The Nine Questions People Ask about Judaism’, and ‘Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism’, are the best-selling ones. The first was translated to more than 12 languages and is the most referred introduction to Judaism.
Dennis began his journey as a speaker, lecturing on Russian and Jewish history, but became famous for sharing his experiences at the Soviet Union working for the Israeli government. He later established himself as a radio talk show host.
The Los Angeles Times praised him as “An amazingly gifted man and moralist whose mission in life has been crystallized – ‘to get people obsessed with what is right and wrong.’”
Prager was born on August 2, 1948, to Max and Hilda Prager in Brooklyn, New York. Max was an accountant who fought during World War II, and Hilda was a nursing home administrator. Dennis was their second child, and their family was a modern orthodox follower.
Dennis could not speak until he was four years old. He did his schooling in Yeshiva of Flatbush, in Brooklyn, New York. However, he was unsure about his actions and future. His parents gave him an ultimatum backed with an option of freedom. Dennis took it seriously and taught himself classical music and Russian. Later in 10th grade, he met his lifetime friend Joseph Telushkin with whom he used to have endless talks about religion and Judaism
Despite his superficial bits of knowledge and adventures, Dennis did not do well in high school. He enrolled at Brooklyn University as it was the only college he could reach with his grades. In 1970, Dennis graduated from Brooklyn with a double major in Anthropology and History. From 1970-1972, he did a fellowship at the Middle East and Russian Institutes of the Columbia University School of International Affairs.
Here, he won an essay competition and received a scholarship to study abroad at Leeds College in England. There he chose to study comparative religion and Arabic studies. He also taught Russian and Jewish history at Brooklyn College from 1972-1973.
Off to Russia
While studying at Leeds, the Israeli government approached him to deal with Jewish artifacts into the Soviet Union and collect the names of Jewish people who wanted to relocate to Israel. After the mission, he began speaking on the struggles of Jewish people in the Soviet. The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry movement even named him their national spokesperson.
In 1976, Dennis Prager, along with his friend Telushkin, published a book ‘The Nine Questions People Ask about Judaism’, by Simon and Schuster. The book became one of the best sellers and popular among all major American Jewish movements.
Later, the same year, Dennis became the Director of the Brandeis Institute, succeeding its founder Shlomo Bardin. Dennis also hired Telushkin as its Educational Director.
Dennis Prager had an enormous academic influence on the institute. It succeeded in attracting thousands of people on the Sabbath (a day set aside for rest and worship) and hundreds of students to attend the institution.
Dennis also launched a singles group, leading to several marriages and a group for interfaith couples to bring them closer to Judaism. He served at the institution from 1976-1983.
Along with his institutional duties, Dennis Prager gave lectures on multiple universities. He covered all seven continents, 45 states of the USA and nine provinces of Canada. He used to adapt his lectures into Russian and Hebrew, whenever he was in Russia and Israel.
In 1986, he was appointed by President Reagan as the U.S delegate to the Vienna Review Conference on the Helsinki Declaration. Then later by President Bush to the U.S Holocaust Memorial Council.
In 2011, he co-founded an online university Prager University, shortly PragerU, along with Allen Estrin. The courses provided by the universities were five-minute-long material covering Political Science, History, Philosophy/Religion, Economics, and Psychology.
Acknowledging his extraordinary contribution to academics, Pepperdine University awarded Dennis with an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1996.
Radio and Television
Prager began hosting a radio talk show ‘Religion on the Line’ on KABC Radio in Los Angeles in 1982. The Show discussed various topics on morality, ethics, and values varying in the context from war, gang violence, politics, dating, religion, parenting, etc.
Among his highlighted articulations were one, wherein Dennis Prager condemned President Bush for delaying the 10 billion dollars loan guaranteed to Israel for their infrastructural development. It read, “I’ve always contended that you can tell a great deal about someone by what he or she gets angry at. And when you see that someone gets far angrier at the only democratic ally of the United States in the Middle East--the country that more than any other country in the world votes with the United States in the United Nations--than he does with the totalitarian rulers of China, then you have a right to question: What animates this man’s passions?”
Dennis, further in his speech that went for about 15 minutes disproved the President’s virtuous deficiency and accused him of lacking a ‘moral Weltanschauung’. He continued the weekly show, for more than 10 years from its first airing.
After the show’s national accomplishment, it got syndicated by newspapers, televisions, in 1999 for a year. Later, Denni switched his show to KRLA and aired it from Monday through Friday for two hours from his home station. His show was listened to in approximately 150 radio stations across the United States and Internet.
Dennis also indulged in the production of films alongside his radio shows. He produced a documentary in 2002, ‘Israel In Time of Terror’, covering the daily threat and terror an average Israeli had to deal with. Due to the intense educational composition of the documentary, it was incorporated by colleges, churches, universities, and synagogues as a powerful depiction of Israel. But before that he had published, ‘For Goodness Sake’ (1993), ‘For Goodness Sake II’ (1996), followed by ‘Baseball, Dennis, & the French’ (2011), and ‘No Safe Spaces’ (2019).
Dennis Prager’s first published book was in 1975, with Joseph Telushkin, ‘Eight Questions People Ask About Judaism'. The book received a massive success that it was re-published by Simon & Schuster with an added question, ‘The Nine Questions People Ask about Judaism’. The second version of the book was translated into more than 12 languages, and it is still one of the widely referred books to introduce Judaism.
His second book was also with Telushkin in 1983, ‘Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism'. This book too was revised in 2003 with an additional reflection of the global developments. The same year, he began writing columns for newspapers across the country, and by 1985 he launched ‘Ultimate Issues’, a quarterly journal of his own which later in 1998 was renamed ‘Prager Perspective’ published bi-weekly.
Dennis Prager’s third publication was his solo book, ‘Think A Second Time’ published by HarperCollins in 1996 with 44 essays on 44 different subjects.
In 1998, he wrote ‘Happiness Is a Serious Problem’, after his devastating divorce and the following therapy. It was a best-seller, and one of his shows, ‘Happiness Hour’ was based on this book. It aired every Friday on his radio show.
His other books were, ‘Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph’ (2012), ‘The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code’ (2015), ‘The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Path to Follow’ (2015), written for children, ‘The Rational Bible: Exodus' (2018) and ‘The Rational Bible: Genesis’ (2019).
Prager married Janice Goldstein in 1981, and they had a son David in 1983. In August of 1986, Janice filed for a divorce, which disturbed him greatly and led him to lose his daily talk show. He went to therapy for a year to gain back his balance, and the entire experience of his divorce and the therapy made an impact on his book, ‘Happiness Is a Serious Problem’.
In 1988, Dennis married Francine Stone and they had a daughter Anya.
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