This guide contains a complete, authoritative account of the Jewish people - including profiles of Biblical and political leaders - and focuses on understanding the Jewish influence on American and world culture, offering insights into the Yiddish and Hebrew languages, theater, art, literature, comedy, film, television, and more.
In Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed, a perfect textbook for independent and classroom study, Rabbi Benjamin Blech presents a comprehensive explication of the Jewish faith. What does it meant to be a Jew? How does religion affect the ways in which Jewish people think and act? What are the basic concepts of Judaism? This volume answers these vital questions.
The Kabbalistic classic, Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation), teaches that creative consciousness exists in three states (space, time, and soul), which are reflected in the form, name, and numerical value of each letter. Rabbi Yisrael Ba al Shem Tov (founder of the Chassidic movement) taught that each letter also exists in each of the three dimensions of Worlds, Souls, and Divinity.
Through Rabbi Ginsburgh s treatment, based on these teachings, the alef-beit emerges from this work as the key to opening up the entire panorama of Jewish spirituality.
This translation is based on Gra version of the Sefer Yetzirah and includes the author's extraordinary commentary on all its mystical aspects including kabbalistic astrology, Ezekiel's vision and the 231 gates. Also included are three alternative versions to make this volume the most complete work on the Sefer Yetzirah available in English.
He began writing about all three faiths in the 1970s, long before it was fashionable to treat Islam in the context of Judaism and Christianity, or to align all three for a family portrait. In this updated edition, he lays out the similarities and differences of the three religious siblings with great clarity and succinctness and with that same remarkable objectivity that is the hallmark of all the author's work.
Peters traces the three faiths from the sixth century B.C., when the Jews returned to Palestine from exile in Babylonia, to the time in the Middle Ages when they approached their present form. He points out that all three faith groups, whom the Muslims themselves refer to as "People of the Book," share much common ground. Most notably, each embraces the practice of worshipping a God who intervenes in history on behalf of His people.
The book's text is direct and accessible with thorough and nuanced discussions of each of the three religions. Updated footnotes provide the reader with expert guidance into the highly complex issues that lie between every line of this stunning and timely new edition of The Children of Abraham. ?
The history of Jews in the United States is one of racial change that provides useful insights on race in America. Prevailing classifications have sometimes assigned Jews to the white race and at other times have created an off-white racial designation for them. Those changes in racial assignment have shaped the ways American Jews of different eras have constructed their ethnoracial identities. Brodkin illustrates these changes through an analysis of her own family's multi-generational experience. She shows how Jews experience a kind of double vision that comes from racial middleness: on the one hand, marginality with regard to whiteness; on the other, whiteness and belonging with regard to blackness.
Class and gender are key elements of race-making in American history. Brodkin suggests that this country's racial assignment of individuals and groupsconstitutes an institutionalized system of occupational and residential segregation, is a key element in misguided public policy, and serves as a pernicious foundational principle in the construction of nationhood. Alternatives available to non-white and alien "others" have been either to whiten or to be consigned to an inferior underclass unworthy of full citizenship. The American ethnoracial map-who is assigned to each of these poles-is continually changing, although the binary of black and white is not. As a result, the structure within which Americans form their ethnoracial, gender, and class identities is distressingly stable. Brodkin questions the means by which Americans construct their political identities and what is required to weaken the hold of this governing myth.
People of all faiths and backgrounds are drawn to the inspiration, knowledge, and spiritual insight that Kabbalah offers. But too often writings on Jewish mysticism are impenetrable for the novice, overly simplified for the advanced student, or misrepresent and sensationalize Kabbalistic practice. The Kabbalah Handbook is the first comprehensive single-volume Kabbalah reference guide that is indispensable for Kabbalah students of every level. The Kabbalah Handbook features: - more than five hundred key terms and concepts in straightforward, easy-to-read definitions and thorough, well-researched discussions;
- Hebrew, English, and Hebrew transliteration for each item;
- the language of origin for each term;
- a discussion of all sides of differing opinions within Kabbalistic philosophy;
- pronunciation guides;
- nondiscriminatory, gender-neutral language;
- important historical information;
- extensive cross-referencing that enables readers to find all terms, whether they are looking up a word in English or transliterated Hebrew;
- twenty-eight original and innovative illustrations;
- thirty-two tables and charts that organize and break down unwieldy material into manageable items; and
- appendices covering topics such as the 613 Mitzvot (biblical commandments), the lunar calendar, and the sacred names of God.
The most authoritative guide on cantillation.
Joshua Jacobson?s masterpiece?the comprehensive 1000-page guide to cantillation?is now available in this e-book edition. It is an ideal instructional guide for adult and young-adult students of Torah, for b?nai mitzvah students, and for cantors, rabbis, and Jewish educators of all denominations.
Like the original edition, it includes an explanation of the tradition and a description of the practice of chanting, with all its regional variations and grammatical rules. There is detailed instruction, with musical notation, on chanting of Torah, and shorter instructions for chanting the haftarah, the megillot, and readings for the High Holy Days.
Joshua Jacobson, professor of music and conductor of the acclaimed Boston-based Zamir Chorale, has been Torah chanting since he was 10 years old. That life-long experience, combined with an unquenchable desire to reconnect the art of cantillation with the most convincing and accurate treatment of the ancient text possible, led him to create this indispensable teaching tool. Using Jacobson?s highly acclaimed approach, the ancient words come alive in a new, deeply emotional and most accurate way.
This amazing journey through Tibetan Buddhism and Judaism leads Kamenetz to a renewed appreciation of his living Jewish roots.
The beloved author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Harold S. Kushner here turns to the experience of Moses to find the requisite lessons of strength and faith—the lessons that teach us how to overcome the disappointments that life inherently brings. We can learn how to meet all disappointments with faith in ourselves and the future, and how to respond to heartbreak—how to weather the disillusionment of dreams unfulfilled, the pain of a lost job, divorce or abandonment, illness, and more—with understanding rather than bitterness and despair. With Kushner’s signature warmth, Overcoming Life’s Disappointments is a book of spiritual wisdom—as practical as it is inspiring.
Jews-to-be often find the steps to Judaism foreign, complex, and mysterious. From learning an ancient language, to entering the mikvah (ritual bath), to choosing a Hebrew name, to circumcision, to appearing before a bet din (Jewish court), becoming a Jew is anything but quick and easy. In this engaging and accessible guide, Reuben and Hanin offer practical wisdom for every step of conversion, including:
telling family and friends selecting a denominationchoosing a rabbiunderstanding Jewish ritualscelebrating Jewish holidaysputting aside childhood holidayskeeping ties to the pastadvice on weddings, raising kids, and more
Throughout, the authors focus on developing a healthy spiritual life, while helping readers understand what it means to be Jewish, absorb Jewish teachings, and live a Jewish life.
Now, The Book of Job has been rendered into English by the eminent translator and scholar Stephen Mitchell, whose versions of Rilke, Israeli poetry, and the Tao Te Ching have been widely praised. This is the first time ever that the Hebrew verse of Job has been translated into verse in any language, ancient or modern, and the result is a triumph.
In alternating first-person narratives, Faiga (Fay) and Luzer (Leo) take readers into their very different but inextricably linked experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland. Faiga, the once-dignified young lady from a good home with servants and a seat by the eastern wall of the synagogue, spends two years wandering the perilous countryside, hoping to be taken for a peasant. Mere miles away, knowing nothing of his sister’s fate, Luzer, the leather wholesaler’s only son, lies silent all day in the stifling dark corner of a barn, where the smell of the cows’ warm hides are a piquant reminder of his lost world. Hidden deftly summons that world, as the familiar comforts and squabbles of life in a well-to-do, religious Jewish family are slowly overwhelmed by the grim news coming out of Germany. We follow Faiga and Luzer through the early forebodings and deprivations of the war, into hiding among righteous Poles and erstwhile neighbors-turned-betrayers, and finally, at war’s end, back once more into the world—but not necessarily into safety. Told in a confident, clear, and unsentimental prose, this is a story of heroism and tragedy writ large and small, of two young people coming of age in a world in chaos and then trying to return to "normal" after experiences as unimaginable as they are unforgettable.
Rediscovering the Beauty of Sabbath Rest
Our bodies and souls were created to rest—regularly—and when they do, we experience heightened productivity, improved health, and more meaningful relationships.
In these pages you’ll find wonderful stories of the senator’s spiritual journey, as well as special Sabbath experiences with political colleagues such as Bill Clinton, Al and Tipper Gore, John McCain, Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and others. Senator Joe Lieberman shows how his observance of the Sabbath has not only enriched his personal and spiritual life but enhanced his career and enabled him to serve his country to his greatest capacity.
Written in a compelling, accessible style, this book answers the most common questions about Jewish people and culture, drawn from the steady stream of queries Michael L. Brown's ministry receives every month.
As a Messianic believer, Brown provides clear answers to questions like "Are there Jewish denominations?" and "Do the Jewish people expect a literal Messiah?" The book also addresses Christians' questions about their own relationship to the Old Testament law, such as "Should Christians observe the Sabbath on Saturday?" and "Are Gentile Christians spiritual Jews?"
The foundation of Hebrew and Jewish religion, thought, law, and society is the Torah-the parchment scroll containing the text of the Five Books of Moses that is located in every synagogue. This accessible guide explains the Torah in clear language, even to those who were not raised in the Jewish religious tradition. Christians who want to know more about the Jewish roots of Christianity need to understand the Torah, as do followers of Islamic tradition and those interested in the roots of Abrahamic faiths. The Torah For Dummies explains the history of the Torah, its structure and major principles, and how the Torah affects the daily lives of people who follow the Jewish way of life.
By learning to understand the Sefirot--the ten spiritual properties that flow from the cosmic source into our heart--we can connect to the universe and profoundly transform our experience of daily life. For example, Hessed, or "loving-kindness," represents the desire to be generous, while Gevurah is the desire to focus intently or withhold. These properties must be balanced in order for harmony and well-being to occur. Rabbi Laibl Wolf shows how to maintain that balance and enjoy a healthy and productive life by using simple meditation and creative visualization techniques to grasp the spiritual nature of our life.
Practical Kabbalah draws upon ancient wisdom but offers a modern interpretation and easy-to-understand techniques for delving deeper into our selves and our world and for reaping the bounteous gifts that were always meant for us.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Given their staggering importance, you would think that all societies, and certainly our educational and religious institutions, would be intent on studying them closely. Sadly, this is not the case. Our schools ignore them and our churches and synagogues take them for granted. But here's a simple test: Who among us can even name all of the Ten Commandments? And even among those who can name them, how many can explain them in a way that makes sense to the modern eye and ear?
If you are a person of faith, this book will strengthen it; if you are agnostic it will force you to rethink your doubts; if you're atheist, it will test your convictions. For people who have thought little about the Ten Commandments, as well as for those who have a sophisticated understanding of them, it will be a revelation.
That's a lot to ask of a little book, but the only thing that's little here is the length. The ideas are very big.
With the stated purpose of restoring ethics to its central role in Judaism, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin offers hundreds of examples from the Torah, the Talmud, rabbinic commentaries, and contemporary stories to illustrate how ethical teachings can affect our daily behavior. The subjects dealt with are ones we all encounter. They include judging other people fairly; knowing when forgiveness is obligatory, optional, or forbidden; balancing humility and self-esteem; avoiding speech that shames others; restraining our impulses of envy, hatred, and revenge; valuing truth but knowing when lying is permitted; understanding why God is the ultimate basis of morality; and appreciating the great benefits of Torah study. Telushkin has arranged the book in the traditional style of Jewish codes, with topical chapters and numbered paragraphs. Statements of law are almost invariably followed by anecdotes illustrating how these principles have been, or can be, practiced in daily life. The book can be read straight through to provide a solid grounding in Jewish values, consulted as a reference when facing ethical dilemmas, or studied in a group.
Vast in scope, this volume distills more than three thousand years of Jewish laws and suggestions on how to improve one’s character and become more honest, decent, and just. It is a landmark work of scholarship that is sure to influence the lives of Jews for generations to come, rich with questions to ponder and discuss, but primarily a book to live by.
From the Hardcover edition.
Saying "I do" is one of the happiest moments in a couple's life together--but planning that trip to the altar can be a stressful ordeal. The minute an engagement is announced two full clans want to celebrate the union their way! When one of those families is Jewish (50 percent of whom now marry outside their faith) and the other is Christian, the religious details can increase the pressure on the bride- and groom-to-be. Celebrating Interfaith Marriages provides all of the expert advice on how to combine elements of the two faiths so everyone can rejoice with the bride and groom on their wedding day.
Devon Lerner draws from her twenty years of officiating interfaith weddings as she discusses the significance of vows and traditions unique to both faiths and suggests how to incorporate them into a service that is balanced and beautiful. She provides Christian and Jewish services readers can mix and match, as well as custom-bled ceremonies contributed by couples who have worked with her over the years. There's a chapter on how to avoid crashes on issues like location, when the ceremony takes place, and whether the bride and groom should see each other before meeting at the altar. A full section of readings, both biblical and secular, are here too, as well as anecdotes that will reassure and amuse. No interfaith couple will want to be without this essential handbook when they plan their special day.
In this insightful and completely updated tome, esteemed rabbi and bestselling author Joseph Telushkin helps answer the question of what it means to be a Jew, in the largest sense. Widely recognized as one of the most respected and indispensable reference books on Jewish life, culture, tradition, and religion, Jewish Literacy covers every essential aspect of the Jewish people and Judaism. In 352 short and engaging chapters, Rabbi Telushkin discusses everything from the Jewish Bible and Talmud to Jewish notions of ethics to antisemitism and the Holocaust; from the history of Jews around the world to Zionism and the politics of a Jewish state; from the significance of religious traditions and holidays to how they are practiced in daily life. Whether you want to know more about Judaism in general or have specific questions you'd like answered, Jewish Literacy is sure to contain the information you need.
Rabbi Telushkin's expert knowledge of Judaism makes the updated and revised edition of Jewish Literacy an invaluable reference. A comprehensive yet thoroughly accessible resource for anyone interested in learning the fundamentals of Judaism, Jewish Literacy is a must for every Jewish home.
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.
In Journey from the Land of No Roya Hakakian recalls her childhood and adolescence in prerevolutionary Iran with candor and verve. The result is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about one deeply intelligent and perceptive girl’s attempt to ﬁnd an authentic voice of her own at a time of cultural closing and repression. Remarkably, she manages to re-create
a time and place dominated by religious fanaticism, violence, and fear with an open heart and often with great humor.
Hakakian was twelve years old in 1979 when the revolution swept through Tehran. The daughter of an esteemed poet, she grew up in a household that hummed with intellectual life. Family gatherings were punctuated by witty, satirical exchanges and spontaneous recitations of poetry. But the Hakakians were also part of the very small Jewish population in Iran who witnessed the iron fist of the Islamic fundamentalists increasingly tightening its grip. It is with the innocent confusion of youth that Roya describes her discovery of a swastika—“a plus sign gone awry, a dark reptile with four hungry claws”—painted on the wall near her home. As a schoolgirl she watched as friends accused of reading blasphemous books were escorted from class by Islamic Society guards, never to return. Only much later did Roya learn that she was spared a similar fate because her teacher admired her writing.
Hakakian relates in the most poignant, and at times painful, ways what life was like for women after the country fell into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who had declared an insidious war against them, but we see it all through the eyes of a strong, youthful optimist who somehow came up in the world believing that she was different, knowing she was special. At her loneliest, Roya discovers the consolations of writing while sitting on the rooftop of her house late at night. There, “pen in hand, I led my own chorus of words, with a melody of my own making.” And she discovers the craft that would ultimately enable her to find her own voice and become her own person.
A wonderfully evocative story, Journey from the Land of No reveals an Iran most readers have not encountered and marks the debut of a stunning new talent.
From the Hardcover edition.
When Joshua Safran was four years old, his mother--determined to protect him from the threats of nuclear war and Ronald Reagan--took to the open road with her young son, leaving the San Francisco countercultural scene behind. Together they embarked on a journey to find a utopia they could call home. InFree Spirit, Safran tells the harrowing, yet wryly funny story of his childhood chasing this perfect life off the grid--and how they survived the imperfect one they found instead.
Encountering a cast of strange and humorous characters along the way, Joshua spends his early years living in a series of makeshift homes, including shacks, teepees, buses, and a lean-to on a stump. His colorful youth darkens, however, when his mother marries an alcoholic and abusive guerrilla/poet.
Throughout it all, Joshua yearns for a "normal" life, but when he finally reenters society through school, he finds "America" a difficult and confusing place. Years spent living in the wilderness and discussing Marxism have not prepared him for the Darwinian world of teenagers, and he finds himself bullied and beaten by classmates who don't share his mother's belief about reveling in one's differences.
Eventually, Joshua finds the strength to fight back against his tormentors, both in school and at home, and helps his mother find peace. But Free Spirit is more than just a coming-of-age story. It is also a journey of the spirit, as he reconnects with his Jewish roots; a tale of overcoming adversity; and a captivating read about a childhood unlike any other.