A must for every serious thinker probing American Jewish culture, history and theology.
-- Alfred GottschalkPresident, Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion
These highly knowledgeable essays provide us with a new and more complex image of a central personality in 20th century American Jewish life. They are indispensable for understanding the influences that helped shape Mordecai Kaplan's thought and personality, the nature of his relationships with significant contemporaries, and the various aspects of his ideology and practical program for American Jewry.
-- Professor Michael A. MeyerDepartment of Jewish HistoryHebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion
This leading American Jewish thinker of the pre-war period is still the point of departure for any attempt to construct a Judaism for this new age in the history of the Jewish people. The volume brings them an and this thought to life.
-- Dr. Arthur GreenPresident, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
For years Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Argentina, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka were tenacious promoters of interreligious dialogues on faith and reason. They both sought to build bridges among Catholicism, Judaism, and the world at large. On Heaven and Earth, originally published in Argentina in 2010, brings together a series of these conversations where both men talked about various theological and worldly issues, including God, fundamentalism, atheism, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization. From these personal and accessible talks comes a first-hand view of the man who would become pope to 1.2 billion Catholics around the world in March 2013.
As a congregational rabbi for half a century and the best-selling author of twelve books on faith, ethics, and how to apply the timeless wisdom of religious thought to everyday challenges, Rabbi Harold S. Kushner has demonstrated time and again his understanding of the human spirit. In this compassionate new work, his most personal since When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Kushner relates how his time as a twenty-first-century rabbi has shaped his senses of religion and morality. He elicits nine essential lessons from the sum of his teaching, study, and experience, offering a lifetime’s worth of spiritual food for thought, pragmatic advice, inspiration for a more fulfilling life, and strength for trying times.
With fresh, vital insight into belief (“there is no commandment in Judaism to believe in God”), conscience (the Garden of Eden story as you’ve never heard it), and mercy (forgiveness is “a favor you do yourself, not an undeserved gesture to the person who hurt you”), grounded in Kushner's brilliant readings of Scripture, history, and popular culture, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life is compulsory reading from one of modern Judaism’s foremost sages.
Distilling the wisdom of an extraordinary career, this profoundly inspiring yet practical guide to well-being is truly the capstone to Kushner’s luminous oeuvre.
From the Hardcover edition.
—from the Foreword by Arthur Hertzberg, 1995
The first trait to seek in a spouse (Day 17)
When, if ever, lying is permitted (Days 71-73)
Why acting cheerfully is a requirement, not a choice (Day 39)
What children don't owe their parents (Day 128)
Whether Jews should donate their organs (Day 290)
An effective but expensive technique for curbing your anger (Day 156)
How to raise truthful children (Day 298)
What purchases are always forbidden (Day 3)
In addition, Telushkin raises issues with ethical implications that may surprise you, such as the need to tip those whom you don't see (Day 109), the right thing to do when you hear an ambulance siren (Day 1), and why wasting time is a sin (Day 15). Whether he is telling us what Jewish tradition has to say about insider trading or about the relationship between employers and employees, he provides fresh inspiration and clear guidance for every day of our lives.
From the Hardcover edition.
A profoundly and unexpectedly intimate, deeply affecting summing up of his life so far, from one of the most cherished moral voices of our time.
Eighty-two years old, facing emergency heart surgery and his own mortality, Elie Wiesel reflects back on his life. Emotions, images, faces and questions flash through his mind. His family before and during the unspeakable Event. The gifts of marriage and children and grandchildren that followed. In his writing, in his teaching, in his public life, has he done enough for memory and the survivors? His ongoing questioning of God—where has it led? Is there hope for mankind? The world’s tireless ambassador of tolerance and justice has given us this luminous account of hope and despair, an exploration of the love, regrets and abiding faith of a remarkable man.
By linking New Testament scholarship to the Shoah, Christian liturgical life, and developments in the church, this volume addresses the important questions at the heart of Christian identity, such as: Are only Christians saved? Why did Jesus die? Why is Israel so important to Jews, and what should we think about the conflict in the Middle East? How is Christianity complicit in the Holocaust? What is important about Jesus being a Jew?
What would it be like to journey back to the first century and sit at the feet of Rabbi Jesus as one of his Jewish disciples? How would your understanding of the gospel have been shaped by the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the Jewish culture in which you lived?
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus takes you on a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can transform your faith. Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg paint powerful scenes from Jesus’ ministry, immersing you in the prayers, feasts, history, culture, and customs that shaped Jesus and those who followed him. You will hear the parables as they must have sounded to first-century Jews, powerful and surprising. You will join the conversations that were already going on among the rabbis of his day. You will watch with new understanding as the events of his life unfold. And you will emerge with new excitement about the roots of your own Christian faith.
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus will change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus. It will also help you to adapt the rich prayers and customs you learn about to your own life, in ways that both respect and enrich your Christian faith. By looking at the Jewishness of Jesus, Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg take you on a captivating journey into the heart of Judaism, one that is both balanced and insightful, helping you to better understand and appreciate your own faith.
This newly expanded softcover edition includes a discussion guide for both individuals and groups, and instructions for a simple home Passover Seder celebration.
Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub; Ha-Satan or the Adversary; Iblis or Shaitan: no matter what name he travels under, the Devil has throughout the ages and across civilizations been a compelling and charismatic presence. In Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the supposed reign of God has long been challenged by the fiery malice of his opponent, as contending forces of good and evil have between them weighed human souls in the balance.
In The Devil, Philip C. Almond explores the figure of evil incarnate from the first centuries of the Christian era. Along the way, he describes the rise of demonology as an intellectual and theological pursuit, the persecution as witches of women believed to consort with the Devil and his minions, and the decline in the belief in Hell and in angels and demons as corporeal beings as a result of the Enlightenment. Almond shows that the Prince of Darkness remains an irresistible subject in history, religion, art, literature, and culture.
Almond brilliantly locates the "life" of the Devil within the broader Christian story of which it is inextricably a part; the "demonic paradox" of the Devil as both God's enforcer and his enemy is at the heart of Christianity. Woven throughout the account of the Christian history of the Devil is another complex and complicated history: that of the idea of the Devil in Western thought. Sorcery, witchcraft, possession, even melancholy, have all been laid at the Devil's doorstep. Until the Enlightenment enforced a "disenchantment" with the old archetypes, even rational figures such as Thomas Aquinas were obsessed with the nature of the Devil and the specific characteristics of the orders of demons and angels. It was a significant moment both in the history of demonology and in theology when Benedict de Spinoza (1632–1677) denied the Devil's existence; almost four hundred years later, popular fascination with the idea of the Devil has not yet dimmed.
–Professor Ari L. Goldman, Columbia University, and author of The Search for God at Harvard
“Love your neighbor as yourself” is the best-known commandment in the Bible. Yet we rarely hear anyone talk about how to apply these words in daily life. In this landmark work, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, one of the premier scholars and thinkers of our time, gives both Jews and non-Jews an extraordinary summation of what Jewish tradition teaches about putting these words into practice.
Writing with great clarity and simplicity as well as with deep wisdom, Telushkin covers topics such as love and kindness, hospitality, visiting the sick, comforting mourners, charity, relations between Jews and non-Jews, compassion for animals, tolerance, self-defense, and end-of-life issues. This second volume of the first major code of Jewish ethics written in the English language is breathtaking in its scope and will undoubtedly influence readers for generations to come. It offers hundreds of practical examples from the Torah, the Talmud, the Midrash, and both ancient and modern rabbinic commentaries–as well as contemporary anecdotes–all teaching us how to care for one another each and every day.
A Code of Jewish Ethics, Volume 2: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself is a consummate work of scholarship. Like its acclaimed predecessor, which received the National Jewish Book Award, it is rich with ideas to contemplate and discuss, while being primarily a book to live by. Nothing could be more important in these strife-torn times than learning how to love our neighbors as ourselves. The message of this book is as vital and timely now as it has been since time immemorial.
From the Hardcover edition.
Jan Assmann, one of the most distinguished scholars of ancient Egypt working today, traces the concept of a true religion back to its earliest beginnings in Egypt and describes how this new idea took shape in the context of the older polytheistic world that it rejected. He offers readers a deepened understanding of Egyptian polytheism and elaborates on his concept of the “Mosaic distinction,” which conceives an exclusive and emphatic Truth that sets religion apart from beliefs shunned as superstition, paganism, or heresy.
Without a theory of polytheism, Assmann contends, any adequate understanding of monotheism is impossible.
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the Public Library Association
In classical rabbinic texts, Ishmael is depicted in a variety of ways. By examining the biblical account of Ishmael’s life, Carol Bakhos points to the tension between his membership in and expulsion from Abraham’s household—on the one hand he is circumcised with Abraham, yet on the other, because of divine favor, his brother supplants him as primogenitor. The rabbis address his liminal status in a variety of ways. Like Esau, he is often depicted in antipodal terms. He is Israel’s “Other.” Yet, Bakhos notes, the emergence of Islam and the changing ethnic, religious, and political landscape of the Near East in the seventh century affected later, medieval rabbinic depictions of Ishmael, whereby he becomes the symbol of Islam and the eponymous prototype of Arabs. With this inquiry into the rabbinic portrayal of Ishmael, the book confronts the interfacing of history and hermeneutics and the ways in which the rabbis inhabited a world of intertwined political, social, and theological forces.
At age 30 Evan Moffic became the leader of a large congregation. He had great success. But he couldn't find happiness. Then he found a 2000-year-old prayer. In it were hidden elements of Jewish wisdom. They became a part of his life and those of his congregation and transformed them and him.
What if we had a clear path to follow when life disappointed us? What if we had a time-tested guide for a life of deeper meaning and happiness? That is what Rabbi Moffic discovered in an ancient Jewish prayer.
Based on ten practices any person can follow, the prayer has helped thousands of people-couples, teenagers, empty nesters struggling with loss, divorce, and ruptured relationships-find renewed meaning and purpose in their lives.
Moffic discovered the power of the prayer when he was called to become the youngest rabbi to lead a large US synagogue at just thirty years of age. The prayer became his guidepost, providing him with the wisdom to lead beyond his years. By incorporating the power of this prayer into his life and using it to guide his congregation and community, he became known as "the smiling rabbi."
In the tradition of Rabbi Harold Kushner, Rabbi Evan Moffic opens up the Jewish wisdom tradition with insights for today. Drawing from interactions with thousands of congregants, as well as his own experience; relating stories of real people; providing accessible commentary from contemporary psychologists; and sprinkling in warm humor, this rabbi of a new generation reveals the means and meaning of joyous living that will appeal to everyone.
Key elements of Rabbi Nachman`s magic and magnetic force are illuminated in this research, which presents Bratslavian mysticism as a unique link in the history of Jewish mysticism. The mystical worldview is the axis of this book, but its branches stretch out to key issues in the Bratslavian world such as belief and imagination, dreams and the land of Israel, melodies and song.
As Ruth Goodhill says in her foreword, "These selections from the works of the prophetic giant of the twentieth century, Abraham Joshua Heschel, represent my personal response to his writings. This book, conceived during his lifetime, is offered as an introduction to his thought and to his profound understanding of the agonies of modern society."
Most of the selections are taken from God in Search of Man, The Insecurity of Freedom, Man Is Not Alone, The Sabbath, The Prophets, and Who Is Man? Among the categories in which the excerpts have been grouped are "Questions Man Asks, " "Man's Needs, " "Caring for Our Old, " "Teaching Our Young, " "Law, "" The Sabbath, " and "One World."
This book is about Shabbat--the Jewish treasure that comes around every seven days. In the midst of our freedom, Shabbat offers roots and inspiration, along with joy and hope. In the midst of a world of endless choices and paths, Judaism provides the rich resources developed for living a life of meaning over centuries of practice. In particular, Judaism offers Shabbat as a way to deepen, renew, and refresh our lives.
Through additional essays, poetry, and personal insights, as well as many new inspiring and creative ideas, this updated edition of Gates of Shabbat offers a roadmap to discovering and exploring what Shabbat can mean to you.
My Ha-Haggadah has evolved each year with timely updates and references. Hashtags, even. Just like in olden times! So if you are apprehensive about a seder in your near future, consider adding the Ha-Haggadah to the mix. It's a mitzvah!
In a close analysis of texts by the Christian theologians Eusebius, Aphrahat, and Chrysostom on one hand, and of the central Jewish works the Talmud of the Land of Israel, the Genesis Rabbah, and the Leviticus Rabbah on the other, Neusner finds that both religious groups turned to the same corpus of Hebrew scripture to examine the same fundamental issues. Eusebius and Genesis Rabbah both address the issue of history, Chrysostom and the Talmud the issue of the Messiah, and Aphrahat and Leviticus Rabbah the issue of Israel. As Neusner demonstrates, the conclusions drawn shaped the dialogue between the two religions for the rest of their shared history in the West.
Science may tell us what we are, Mittleman says, but it cannot tell us who we are, how we should live, or why we matter. Traditional Jewish thought, in open-minded dialogue with contemporary scientific perspectives, can help us answer these questions. Mittleman shows how, using sources ranging across the Jewish tradition, from the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud to more than a millennium of Jewish philosophy. Among the many subjects the book addresses are sexuality, birth and death, violence and evil, moral agency, and politics and economics. Throughout, Mittleman demonstrates how Jewish tradition brings new perspectives to—and challenges many current assumptions about—these central aspects of human nature.
A study of human nature in Jewish thought and an original contribution to Jewish philosophy, this is a book for anyone interested in what it means to be human in a scientific age.