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In this landmark book, esteemed Buddhist teacher Sylvia Boorstein addresses this incisive question in a warm, delightful and personal way. With the same down-to-earth charm and wit that have endeared her to her many students and readers, Boorstein shows how one can be both an observant Jew and a passionately committed Buddhist.
The Jewish coming-of-age ceremony of bar mitzvah was first recorded in thirteenth-century France, where it took the form of a simple statement by the father that he was no longer responsible for his thirteen-year-old son. Today, bar mitzvah for boys and bat mitzvah for girls are more popular than at any time in history and are sometimes accompanied by lavish celebrations. How did bar mitzvah develop over the centuries from an obscure legal ritual into a core component of Judaism? How did it capture the imagination of even non-Jewish youth? Bar Mitzvah, a History is a comprehensive account of the ceremonies and celebrations for both boys and girls. A cultural anthropology informed by rabbinic knowledge, it explores the origins and development of the most important coming-of-age milestone in Judaism. Rabbi Michael Hilton has sought out every reference to bar mitzvah in the Bible, the Talmud, and numerous other Jewish texts spanning several centuries, extracting a fascinating miscellany of information, stories, and commentary.
At the core of Judaism stands a body of traditions that have
remained consistent over millennia. Yet, the practice of these
rituals has varied widely across historical and cultural contexts.
In "Judaism in Transition," Carmel U. Chiswick draws on her Jewish
upbringing, her journey as a Jewish parent, and her perspective as
an economist to consider how incentives affect the ways that
mainstream American Jews have navigated and continue to manage the
conflicting demands of everyday life and religious observance.
Arguing that economics is a blind spot in our understanding of
religion, Chiswick blends her personal experiences with economic
analysis to illustrate the cost of Jewish
participation--financially and, more importantly, in terms of time
For centuries, Jews have been known as the "people of the book." It is commonly thought that Judaism in the first several centuries CE found meaning exclusively in textual sources. But there is another approach to meaning to be found in ancient Judaism, one that sees it in the natural world and derives it from visual clues rather than textual ones. According to this conception, God embedded hidden signs in the world that could be read by human beings and interpreted according to complex systems. In exploring the diverse functions of signs outside of the realm of the written word, Swartz introduces unfamiliar sources and motifs from the formative age of Judaism, including magical and divination texts and new interpretations of legends and midrashim from classical rabbinic literature. He shows us how ancient Jews perceived these signs and read them, elaborating on their use of divination, symbolic interpretation of physical features and dress, and interpretations of historical events. As we learn how these ancient people read the world, we begin to see how ancient people found meaning in unexpected ways.
Drawing on the timeless wisdom of the torah.Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis reminds us of the principlesnecessary for living a better and more committed life.Inspirational and deeply moving. This book willtouch your heart like no other.
1 and 2 Kings unfolds an epic narrative that concludes the long story of Israel's experience with institutional monarchy, a sequence of events that begins with the accession of Solomon and the establishment of the Jerusalem temple, moves through the partition into north and south, and leads inexorably toward the nation's destruction and the passage to exile in Babylon. Keith Bodner's The Theology of the Book of Kings provides a reading of the narrative attentive to its literary sophistication and theological subtleties, as the cast of characters - from the royal courts to the rural fields - are variously challenged to resist the tempting pathway of political and spiritual accommodations and instead maintain allegiance to their covenant with God. In dialogue with a range of contemporary interpreters, this study is a preliminary exploration of some theological questions that arise from the Kings narrative, while inviting contemporary communities of faith into deeper engagement with this enduring account of divine reliability amidst human scheming and rapaciousness.
Being Jewish Today gives an account of both the journey of a particular
British Jew and the journey of millions of women and men through
today's perplexing and difficult world. With honesty and integrity
Rabbi Tony Bayfield breaks new ground in exploring the meaning of
Jewish identity and its relationship to Jewish tradition and belief. He
does so from the perspective of a person fully integrated into the
modern Western world. The rigorous questions he asks of his Jewishness,
Judaism and the Jewish God are therefore substantially the same as
those asked by individuals of all faiths and none.
Hasidism, a movement many believed had passed its golden age, has had an extraordinary revival since it was nearly decimated in the Holocaust and repressed in the Soviet Union. Hasidic communities, now settled primarily in North America and Israel, have reversed the losses they suffered and are growing exponentially. With powerful attachments to the past, mysticism, community, tradition, and charismatic leadership, Hasidism seems the opposite of contemporary Western culture, yet it has thrived in the democratic countries and culture of the West. How? Who Will Lead Us? finds the answers to this question in the fascinating story of five contemporary Hasidic dynasties and their handling of the delicate issue of leadership and succession. Revolving around the central figure of the rebbe, the book explores two dynasties with too few successors, two with too many successors, and one that believes their last rebbe continues to lead them even after his death. Samuel C. Heilman, recognized as a foremost expert on modern Jewish Orthodoxy, here provides outsiders with the essential guide to continuity in the Hasidic world.
This authorised yet heretical Haggadah from the infamous Jewdas collective propagates a multitude of dangerous ideas such as anarcho-socialism, the dismantling of nation-states and free pickles for all. Moreover it promotes Rabbi Geoffrey Cohen's ideology of diasporism: that the promised land is not an overpriced piece of real estate in the Middle East but wherever people gather to ferment noisy and joyful revolution. Fully ready for use at your next Passover seder, this Haggadah also contains an authorised guide to Jewish practice in the late capitalist era, riotous songs, diasporic recipes, and assorted tips for surviving establishment Judaism. Kosher for Jews and infidels alike, the Haggadah has been authorised and approved by Jeremy, Rabbi Krustofsky, Emma Goldman, Buddha, Hashem, John the Baptist and the guy from the apprentice who didn't know what a kosher chicken was.
Solomon's image as a wise king and the founder of Jerusalem Temple has become a fixture of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic literature. Yet, there are essential differences between the portraits of Solomon that are presented in the Hebrew Bible. In this volume, Isaac Kalimi explores these differences, which reflect divergent historical contexts, theological and didactic concepts, stylistic and literary techniques, and compositional methods among the biblical historians. He highlights the uniqueness of each portrayal of Solomon - his character, birth, early life, ascension, and temple-building - through a close comparison of the early and late biblical historiographies. Whereas the authors of Samuel-Kings stay closely to their sources and offer an apology for Solomon's kingship, including its more questionable aspects, the Chronicler freely rewrites his sources in order to present the life of Solomon as he wished it to be. The volume will serve scholars and students seeking to understand biblical texts within their ancient Near Eastern contexts.
Vladimir Solovyov, one of nineteenth-century Russia's greatest Christian philosophers, was renowned as the leading defender of Jewish civil rights in tsarist Russia in the 1880s. The Burning Bush: Writings on Jews and Judaism presents an annotated translation of Solovyov's complete oeuvre on the Jewish question, elucidating his terminology and identifying his references to persons, places, and texts, especially from biblical and rabbinic writings. Many texts are provided in English translation by Gregory Yuri Glazov for the first time, including Solovyov's obituary for Joseph Rabinovitch, a pioneer of modern Messianic Judaism, and his letter in the London Times of 1890 advocating for greater Jewish civil rights in Russia, printed alongside a similar petition by Cardinal Manning. Glazov's introduction presents a summary of Solovyov's life, explains how the texts in this collection were chosen, and provides a survey of Russian Jewish history to help the reader understand the context and evaluate the significance of Solovyov's work. In his extensive commentary in Part II, which draws on key memoirs from family and friends, Glazov paints a rich portrait of Solovyov's encounters with Jews and Judaism and of the religious-philosophical ideas that he both brought to and derived from those encounters. The Burning Bush explains why Jews posthumously accorded Solovyov the accolade of a "righteous gentile," and why his ecumenical hopes and struggles to reconcile Judaism and Christianity and persuade secular authorities to respect conscience and religious freedom still bear prophetic vitality.
The book of Numbers in Hebrew, Bemidbar, In the Wilderness is a key text for our time. It is among the most searching, self-critical books in all of literature about what Nelson Mandela called the long walk to freedom. Its message is that there is no shortcut to liberty. Numbers is not an easy book to read, nor is it an optimistic one. It is a sober warning set in the midst of a text the Hebrew Bible that remains the West s master narrative of hope.
The Mosaic books, especially Exodus and Numbers, are about the journey from slavery to freedom and from oppression to law-governed liberty. On the map, the distance from Egypt to the Promised Land is not far. But the message of Numbers is that it always takes longer than you think. For the journey is not just physical, a walk across the desert. It is psychological, moral, and spiritual. It takes as long as the time needed for human beings to change....
You cannot arrive at freedom merely by escaping from slavery. It is won only when a nation takes upon itself the responsibilities of self-restraint, courage, and patience. Without that, a journey of a few hundred miles can take forty years. Even then, it has only just begun.
Itis generally accepted that Jews and evangelical Christians have little incommon. Yet special alliances developedbetween the two groups in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Evangelicalsviewed Jews as both the rightful heirs of Israel and as a group who failed torecognize their true savior. Consequently, they set out to influence the courseof Jewish life by attempting to evangelize Jews and to facilitate their returnto Palestine. Their double-edged perception caused unprecedented political,cultural, and theological meeting points that have revolutionizedChristian-Jewish relationships. An Unusual Relationship explores thebeliefs and political agendas that evangelicals have created in order to affectthe future of the Jews. Additionally, it analyses Jewish opinions and reactionsto those efforts, as well as those of other religious groups, such as ArabChristians. Thisvolume offers a fascinating, comprehensive analysis of the roots,manifestations, and consequences of evangelical interest in the Jews, and thealternatives they provide to conventional historical Christian-Jewishinteractions. It also provides a compelling understanding of Middle Easternpolitics through a new lens.
A Year with the Sages uniquely relates the Sages' understanding of each Torah portion to everyday life. The importance of these teachings cannot be overstated. The Sages, who lived during the period from the fifth century BCE to the fifth century CE, considered themselves to have inherited the oral teachings God transmitted to Moses, along with the mandate to interpret them to each subsequent generation. Just as the Torah and the entire Hebrew Bible are the foundations of Judaism, the Sages' teachings form the structures of Jewish belief and practice built on that foundation. Many of these teachings revolve around core concepts such as God's justice, God's love, Torah, Israel, humility, honesty, loving-kindness, reverence, prayer, and repentance. You are invited to spend a year with the inspiring ideas of the Sages through their reflections on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and the eleven Jewish holidays. Quoting from the week's Torah portion, Rabbi Reuven Hammer presents a Torah commentary, selections from the Sages that chronicle their process of interpreting the text, a commentary that elucidates these concepts and their consequences, and a personal reflection that illumines the Sages' enduring wisdom for our era.
An inspiring introduction to the most important lesson for today's busy world: the take-away is to take away.
"All we can hope to accomplish by paying attention is to learn to live with the mystery, become more comfortable with not knowing and try to enjoy life s uncertainty. Every day is a gift, but we often squander it by missing what matters most." from the Introduction
Every day we are faced with choices that entail saying no and frankly we re not very good at it. Whether it s the desire to please, get ahead, accumulate or impress, our lives have become so full and so busy that it is hard to determine what we really need and what s really important to us.
The purpose of this book is to help you regain control of the things that matter most in your life. It taps timeless Jewish wisdom that teaches how to hold on tightly to the things that matter most while learning to let go lightly of the demands, worries, activities and conflicts that do not ultimately matter. Drawing insights from ancient and modern sources, it helps you identify your core values as well as the opportunities that do not reflect those values, and that you can learn to pass up. It also shows you how to establish a disciplined practice to help you adhere to your choices.
Whether it s letting go of resentment, learning to say no at work or to your loved ones, downsizing your diet or asking less of the earth, this book will help you distinguish between the trivial and the profound."
The recovery of 800 documents in the eleven caves on the northwest shores of the Dead Sea is one of the most sensational archeological discoveries in the Holy Land to date. These three volumes, the very best of critical scholarship, demonstrate in detail how the scrolls have revolutionized our knowledge of the text of the Bible, the character of Second Temple Judaism, and the Jewish beginnings of Christianity.
In late February 2007, Leah Fishbane's life was flourishing. A promising young graduate student in Jewish history, she was an adoring mother to her nearly four-year-old daughter and two months into a new pregnancy. In an instant, all this was gone: Leah was struck down suddenly with a previously undiagnosed brain tumor--her life ended, her family in despair. In this deeply evocative memoir, written during the dark time of the first year following Leah's death, her husband Eitan gives voice to the overwhelming nature of mourning, and to the uplifting power of memory. He tells the story of his efforts to be a good father to his grieving child and of his self-discovery as a parent in ways he had not known before. Along this path, Fishbane asks fundamental questions about the meaning of death and life, about the place of God and faith in the experience of tragedy, about what it means to live with loss. The result is a poetic testament that will resonate with anyone who has known the depths of grief, anyone who seeks to console a loved one in pain. In giving honest expression to emotions that are at once particular and universal, Shadows in Winter offers a luminous window of comfort and hope to those battling the devastation of loss.
The question isn't whether grace is there for you in Judaism.The question is, do you have the courage to accept it?
"Chesed isn't a reward; it is reality. God s grace isn t limited to what we want to happen or might like to happen. God s grace is what is happening whether we like it or not. In short, God s grace is the giving of all to all." from the Introduction
Ask almost any Jew whether grace is a central concept in Judaism and an essential element in living Jewishly and, chances are, their answer will be no. But that s the wrong answer. This fascinating foray into God s love freely given offers you regardless of your level of Jewish involvement a way to answer that question in the affirmative.
Drawing from ancient and contemporary, traditional and non-traditional Jewish wisdom, this book reclaims the idea of grace in Judaism in three ways: It offers a view of God that helps you understand what grace is, why grace is, and how grace manifests in the world.It sets forth a reading of Judaism that is grace-filled: an understanding of creation, Shabbat and other Jewish practices from a grace-filled perspective.It challenges you to be embraced and transformed by grace, and to live life as a vehicle for God s grace, thereby fulfilling the promise of being created in God s image and likeness.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves near Qumran in 1947 sparked near endless speculation about the possible connections between the Essenesapurportedly the inhabitants of the settlementaand the birth, nature, and growth of early Christianity. Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins sheds new light on this old question by reexamining the complex relationships among Qumran, the historical Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian origins within first-century Palestinian Judaism. Author Simon J. Joseph's careful examination of a number of distinctive passages in the Jesus tradition in light of Qumran-Essene texts focuses on major points of contact between the Qumran-Essene community and early Christianity in four areas of belief and practice: covenant identity, messianism, eschatology, and halakhah (legal interpretation), placing the weight of his argument for continuity and discontinuity on the halakhic topics of divorce, Sabbath, sacrifice, celibacy, and violence. Joseph focuses on the historical, cultural, chronological, and theological correspondences as convergence. This not only illuminates the historical Jesus' teachings as distinctive, developing and extending earlier Jewish ethical and halakhic thought, it also clarifies the emergence of early Christianity in relationship to Palestinian Essenism. By bringing this holistic analysis of the evidence to bear, Joseph adds a powerful and insightful voice to the decades-long debate surrounding the Essenes and Christianity.
It is well-known that Jesus was Jewish and that there are considerable connections between the Old and New Testaments. This book details the astonishingly large number of these connections and reveals how much of what Jesus taught had already been written in the Old Testament. The fact that he was Jewish is often interpreted ethnically and not in terms of his religion. When the pagan additions to Christian doctrine are removed what is left is the teaching of a superlative Jewish prophet. What is revealed in this book is the unexpectedly large overlap between Judaism and Christianity. The main body consists of comparative quotes from the Old and New Testaments, followed by a chapter showing the darker side of Jesus' teaching, which is a result of his place, time and circumstances. There is a chapter quoting those teachings which transcend his circumstances and are his spiritual gift to humanity. The book ends by discussing antisemitism historically and includes an analysis of Nostra Aetate, the Catholic Church's alleged exoneration of the Jewish people from the attribution of eternal guilt for the crucifixion. Rescuing Jesus from Christianity will appeal to readers with an interest in religion, spirituality and inter-faith communication.
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