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A philosophical case against religious violence We live in an age beset by religiously inspired violence. Terms such as "holy war" are the stock-in-trade of the evening news. But what is the relationship between holiness and violence? Can acts such as murder ever truly be described as holy? In Does Judaism Condone Violence?, Alan Mittleman offers a searching philosophical investigation of such questions in the Jewish tradition. Jewish texts feature episodes of divinely inspired violence, and the position of the Jews as God's chosen people has been invoked to justify violent acts today. Are these justifications valid? Or does our understanding of the holy entail an ethic that argues against violence? Reconstructing the concept of the holy through a philosophical examination of biblical texts, Mittleman finds that the holy and the good are inextricably linked, and that our experience of holiness is authenticated through its moral consequences. Our understanding of the holy develops through reflection on God's creation of the natural world, and our values emerge through our relations with that world. Ultimately, Mittleman concludes, religious justifications for violence cannot be sustained. Lucid and incisive, Does Judaism Condone Violence? is a powerful counterargument to those who claim that the holy is irrational and amoral. With philosophical implications that extend far beyond the Jewish tradition, this book should be read by anyone concerned about the troubling connection between holiness and violence.
Most studies on violence in the Hebrew Bible focus on the question of how modern readers should approach the problem. But they fail to ask how the Hebrew Bible thinks about that problem in the first place. In this work, Matthew J. Lynch examines four key ways that writers of the Hebrew Bible conceptualize and critique acts of violence: violence as an ecological problem; violence as a moral problem; violence as a judicial problem; violence as a purity problem. These four 'grammars of violence' help us interpret crucial biblical texts where violence plays a lead role, like Genesis 4-9. Lynch's volume also offers readers ways to examine cultural continuity and the distinctiveness of biblical conceptions of violence.
Hanukkah is the holiday that lights up our lives every winter. The glow of the menorah reminds us of the light that shines brightly within us and the power we have to make the world a better place. HANUKKAH STORIES is filled with over 101 stories of personal memories, anecdotes, and tales from celebrities to people like you and me. Here you'll find heartwarming reminiscences about Hanukkah experiences across the globe from an RV campground in California, on the ice in Finland, even aboard Spaceship Hubble. There's also a chapter just for latkes, including the new chocolate chip ones. Hanukkah is a joyful holiday. Whatever one's religion, it's a testament to the universal human values of dedication, perseverance, generosity, and remembrance. Whether it's sharing stories with our families today or passing on traditions for tomorrow's generation, Hanukkah is a festival of family, celebration, and joy.
When Ziske's klezmer band is invited to play at a wedding in Pinsk, they arrive to discover many of the people in the town very sick. But tradition says that if two orphans get married in a cemetery a miracle may happen, so Ziske sets his mind to finding the perfect couple.
Women rabbis are changing the face of Judaism.
The Haftarah is a potent tool for understanding the values, ethics, and moral lessons contained in the Torah readings. In this first-of-its-kind volume, more than eighty women rabbis from the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements offer fresh perspectives on the beloved texts that make up the Haftarah the Prophets and Writings and the Five Megillot.
Based on readings that are rich in imagery some poetic, some narrative, some dark and brooding their commentaries include surprising insights on the stories of Deborah and Yael, David and Goliath, David and Bathsheva, and the witch of Endor, among many others. Themes such as Jerusalem as woman, the story of Jonah and the fish, and other prophetic images are informed and challenged by this groundbreaking work.
A rich resource, a major contribution to modern biblical commentary, and the ideal companion to The Women s Torah Commentary, The Women s Haftarah Commentary will inspire all of us to gain deeper meaning from the Hebrew scriptures and a heightened appreciation of Judaism.
The life and times of a treasured book read by generations of Jewish families at the seder table Every year at Passover, Jews around the world gather for the seder, a festive meal where family and friends come together to sing, pray, and enjoy traditional food while retelling the biblical story of the Exodus. The Passover Haggadah provides the script for the meal and is a religious text unlike any other. It is the only sacred book available in so many varieties-from the Maxwell House edition of the 1930s to the countercultural Freedom Seder-and it is the rare liturgical work that allows people with limited knowledge to conduct a complex religious service. The Haggadah is also the only religious book given away for free at grocery stores as a promotion. Vanessa Ochs tells the story of this beloved book, from its emergence in antiquity as an oral practice to its vibrant proliferation today. Ochs provides a lively and incisive account of how the foundational Jewish narrative of liberation is remembered in the Haggadah. She discusses the book's origins in biblical and rabbinical literature, its flourishing in illuminated manuscripts in the medieval period, and its mass production with the advent of the printing press. She looks at Haggadot created on the kibbutz, those reflecting the Holocaust, feminist and LGBTQ-themed Haggadot, and even one featuring a popular television show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Ochs shows how this enduring work of liturgy that once served to transmit Jewish identity in Jewish settings continues to be reinterpreted and reimagined to share the message of freedom for all.
A deeply personal look at death, mourning, and the afterlife in Jewish tradition After One-Hundred-and-Twenty provides a richly nuanced and deeply personal look at Jewish attitudes and practices regarding death, mourning, and the afterlife as they have existed and evolved from biblical times to today. Taking its title from the Hebrew and Yiddish blessing to live to a ripe old age-Moses is said to have been 120 years old when he died-the book explores how the Bible's original reticence about an afterlife gave way to views about personal judgment and reward after death, the resurrection of the body, and even reincarnation. It examines Talmudic perspectives on grief, burial, and the afterlife, shows how Jewish approaches to death changed in the Middle Ages with thinkers like Maimonides and in the mystical writings of the Zohar, and delves into such things as the origins of the custom of reciting Kaddish for the deceased and beliefs about encountering the dead in visions and dreams. After One-Hundred-and-Twenty is also Hillel Halkin's eloquent and disarmingly candid reflection on his own mortality, the deaths of those he has known and loved, and the comfort he has and has not derived from Jewish tradition.
"In Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit Jodi Magness unearths 'footprints' buried in both archaeological and literary evidence to shed new light on Jewish daily life in Palestine from the mid-first century b.c.e. to 70 c.e. the time and place of Jesus' life and ministry. Magness analyzes recent archaeological discoveries from such sites as Qumran and Masada together with a host of period texts, including the New Testament, the works of Josephus, and rabbinic teachings. Layering all these sources together, she reconstructs in detail a fascinating variety of everyday activities dining customs, Sabbath observance, fasting, toilet habits, burial customs, and more" -- BACK COVER.
Is laughter essential to Jewish identity? Do Jews possess special radar for recognizing members of the tribe? Since Jews live longer and make love more often, why don't more people join the tribe? "More deli than deity" writer Nancy Kalikow Maxwell poses many such questions in eight chapters-"Worrying," "Kvelling," "Dying," "Noshing," "Laughing," "Detecting," "Dwelling," and "Joining"-exploring what it means to be "typically Jewish." While unearthing answers from rabbis, researchers, and her assembled Jury on Jewishness (Jewish friends she roped into conversation), she-and we-make a variety of discoveries. For example: Jews worry about continuity, even though Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz prohibited even that: "All worrying is forbidden, except to worry that one is worried." Kvell-worthy fact: About 75 percent of American Jews give to charity versus 63 percent of Americans as a whole. Since reciting Kaddish brought secular Jews to synagogue, the rabbis, aware of their captive audience, moved the prayer to the end of the service. Who's Jewish? About a quarter of Nobel Prize winners, an estimated 80 percent of comedians at one point, and the winner of Nazi Germany's Most Perfect Aryan Child Contest. Readers will enjoy learning about how Jews feel, think, act, love, and live. They'll also schmooze as they use the book's "Typically Jewish, Atypically Fun" discussion guide.
With diverse and robust voices, women are reclaiming their place at the seder table. This complete sourcebook and guide shows you how to do it, too. For the first time, contemporary Jewish women's writings on the Passover seder are gathered in one comprehensive and compelling sourcebook an unprecedented and powerful resource for those planning a women s seder and those seeking to infuse their Passover celebration with the creative and courageous voices of Jewish women. Arranged according to the order of the seder, this practical guide gathers the voices of more than one hundred women in readings, personal and creative reflections, commentaries, blessings and ritual suggestions that can be incorporated into your Passover celebration as supplements to or substitutes for traditional passages of the haggadah. It also includes a detailed guide to planning a women s seder, based on information from successful seder organizers around the world. Whether you are organizing a women s seder in your community or planning a family seder in your home, this inspiring and accessible resource will help you take an active role in re-creating the educational and spiritual experience of Passover and in shaping Judaism s future. Contributors include: Dr. Rachel Adler Dr. Rebecca T. Alpert Rabbi Renni S. Altman Zoe Baird Dr. Evelyn Torton Beck Susan Berrin Senator Barbara Boxer Dr. Esther Broner Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin Tamara Cohen Anita Diamant Dr. Carol Diament Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, PhD Eve Ensler Dr. Marcia Falk Merle Feld Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick Rabbi Tirzah Firestone Dr. Ellen Frankel Nan Fink Gefen Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb Dr. Susannah Heschel Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar Rabbi Naamah Kelman Naomi Klein Irena Klepfisz Maxine Kumin Rabbi Noa Rachel Kushner Rabbi Joy Levitt Hadassah Lieberman Ruth W. Messinger Dr. Faye Moskowitz Joan Nathan Dr. Alicia Suskin Ostriker Dr. Judith Plaskow Marge Piercy Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen Anne Roiphe Danya Ruttenberg Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso The Honorable Jan Schakowsky Rabbi Susan Schnur Rabbi Susan Silverman Dr. Ellen M. Umansky Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg Dr. Chava Weissler Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler"
How did a Jewish teacher, healer, sage and mystic become the vehicle for so much hatred and harm directed against his own people?
Dialogue is demanding and difficult. It is often painful. It entails deep listening, letting others define themselves and being willing to confront and transform deep-rooted prejudices in ourselves. It requires the courage to re-envision absolutely everything we tend to cherish and protect, and to relinquish our entrenched vainglorious ego attachments, our inflated sense of I, me and mine. This challenge to grow beyond tribalism, to approach others in a fair and reasonable way, is an essential step in our human evolution. from the Invitation to the Reader
Judaism and Christianity have had a volatile relationship in their two-thousand-year history. Anger, rivalry, insensitivity, bloodshed and murder have marred the special connection these two Abrahamic faiths share. In the last several decades, scholars, activists, laypeople and clergy have attempted to expose and eliminate the struggles between Jews and Christians.
This collaborative effort brings together the voices of Christian scholar Ron Miller and Jewish scholar Laura Bernstein to further explore the roots of anti-Semitism in Christian faith and scripture. In a probing interfaith dialogue, Miller and Bernstein trace the Jewish-Christian schism to its very source in the first book of the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew. Illuminating the often misunderstood context of Matthew s gospel a persecuted Christian minority writing some sixty years after Jesus s death this examination of a foundational Christian text discerns the ways in which the Jewishness of Jesus was forgotten and Jews and Judaism became Christianity s foil. More important, it takes a renewed look at Matthew with contemporary retellings that present a new and better future of conciliation and compassion between the two faith traditions.
Finalist: 2014 National Jewish Book Award, Modern Jewish Thought and Experience This study seeks to examine the relationship between the two major categories of commandments (mitzvot): ritual commands (between man and his Maker) and social interpersonal commands (between man and his neighbor). It is argued here that when there is a clash between these two categories, and one cannot carry out both, the interpersonal mitzvot almost always override those of a ritual nature. Different scenarios from a broad spectrum of Jewish law are cited to prove this contention, and the conclusion is underscored through the examination of the behavior and rulings of several leading Jewish legal authorities. Finally, the implications of this conclusion and their impact on religious educational direction and rationale are also discussed.
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