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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Judaism: A Way of Being. Dec 16, Nick rated it really liked it Shelves: faith , non-fiction , philosophy.
I try to avoid lengthy reviews, but this excellent book merits one. First, the things I didn't like: Gelernter misunderstands or is not aware of the diversity of Christian belief about the passion and death of Jesus, and totally ignores the centrality of the Resurrection, which undercuts his assertion that Judaism is a uniquely joyous religion. On the other hand, this is a book about Judaism, not Christianity. His argument, in an appendix, for belief in God is weakly stated.
His discussion of I try to avoid lengthy reviews, but this excellent book merits one. His discussion of gender roles and issues is far less convincing than the arguments he made in "Drawing Life", his reflections after surviving a letter bomb explosion. His arguments and images are complex and at times initially difficult to grasp, but all are rich and rewarding. Gelernter's loving discussions of Orthodox Judaism impressed upon this Christian a better and more sympathetic understanding of Judaism and of Christianity. His exposition of the meaning of the mezzuzah, a small part of his discussion about knowing God, is profound and profoundly enlightening.
In short, he grapples with difficult problems of fundamental importance. These discussions taken as a whole portray Orthodox Judaism, from observance of the laws to Torah commentary to the meaning of the Sabbath. Even better, Gelernter summarizes each chapter, and repeatedly restates his points in ways that draw deeper levels of meaning from each. This is a book to savor, ponder and study. Oct 16, Isaac rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy , religion , contemporary-culture-or-relativism , favorite-jewish-philosophy.
Truly an exceptional and original book on understanding Judaism from a new perspective. The author breaks down the core of Judaism into four symbolic categories. Separation: What is the point of halacha, the Jewish religious law? Veil: How can man be in touch with the transcendent, ineffable L-rd as Judaism conceives Him? Inward Pilgrimage: How can Judaism reconcile an all-powerful, Just, and merciful G-d with cruel reality? Separation 2. Veil 3. Perfect Asymmetry and 4.
Inward Pilgrimage. It is a fascinating journey to visualize Judaism through these four lenses. The author does a magnificent job with it. In addition, there are 3 appendixes to this book. Appendix A: Why Believe in G-d? The Jews themselves, as opposed to the Jewish religion, have not been an unalloyed blessing to mankind.
On this point merely consult the Bible, which includes harsh condemnations of the Jewish people… As for Judaism itself, it has given morals and spiritual direction to Jewish Christian, and Muslim society, and indirectly to the modern and postmodern worlds. But not only that. Judaism formed our ideas of G-d and man, of sanctity, justice, and love: love of G-d, family, nation, and mankind.
Judaism created the idea of congregational worship that made the church and mosque possible. Much of the modern liberal state grew out of Judaism by way of American Puritans, neo-Puritans, and quasi-Puritans who revered the Hebrew Bible and pondered and cited it constantly. Also this: the best ideas we possess come straight from Judaism.
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This short, 2. It is the only part that I found to be erroneous and not well thought through.
It does not at all detract from the rest of his magnificent book, and I am still a huge fan of his writing. Those are the responsibilities of adulthood. The Bible anticipates this sharp observation by outlawing festering resentment. I believe the author is missing a crucial nuance.
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Judaism judges actions, it does not judge people. Only G-d can proclaim such judgments. Judaism does not insist that we judge a person based on his actions. More than four-in-ten U. A third of Jews under age 30 say being Jewish is very important to them. Far fewer Jews of no religion share these sentiments. Large majorities in all of the major Jewish movements express pride in being Jewish.
More older Jews than younger Jews say they feel a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. Differences among the age groups are smaller on the questions about pride in being Jewish and caring for Jews in need. Married Jews who have Jewish spouses feel more connected to and responsible for other Jews as compared with Jews who are married to non-Jews.
Orthodox Jews are more apt than other Jews to say that being Jewish is mainly a matter of religion. The survey asked Jews whether each of nine attributes and activities is essential to what being Jewish means to them, is important but not essential, or is not an important part of what it means to be Jewish. In response, roughly seven-in-ten U. Nearly as many say leading an ethical and moral life is essential to what it means to be Jewish. And a majority of U. Nearly half of U. Across the board, Jews by religion are more likely than Jews of no religion to consider the nine attributes or activities as essential to being Jewish.
Both groups, however, prioritize the items in a similar way. Remembering the Holocaust and leading an ethical and moral life are most frequently cited as essential by both Jews by religion and Jews of no religion. And both groups rank observing Jewish law and eating traditional Jewish foods near the bottom of what it means to be Jewish. However, one striking difference between the two groups is the importance they attach to caring about Israel. The survey also finds a generational divide in the importance attached to caring about Israel.
Older Jews also are more likely than their younger counterparts to say remembering the Holocaust, working for justice and equality in society, and having a good sense of humor are essential to their Jewish identity. The view that remembering the Holocaust is essential to what it means to be Jewish is shared by majorities in all of the large Jewish denominational groupings. But there are sizable differences across denominations in the importance attached to Israel.
Far fewer say believing that Jesus was the messiah is compatible with being Jewish.
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Among both Jews by religion and Jews of no religion, roughly nine-in-ten or more say a person can be Jewish even if they work on the Sabbath or are strongly critical of Israel. Into this category fall pigs as well as fish without fins or scales. Meat and milk products are not to be eaten together. The Sabbath The Jewish liturgical calendar carries forward the divisions of time prescribed in the Torah and observed in the Temple cult. Every seventh day is the Sabbath, when no work is performed.
By this abstention, the Jew returns the world to its owner, that is, God, acknowledging that humans extract its produce only on sufferance. An additional musaf service is recited in the synagogue on Sabbaths and festivals, corresponding to the additional sacrifice that is offered in the Temple on these days. Festivals The Jewish year includes five major festivals and two minor ones.
Three of the major festivals originally were agricultural and are tied to the seasons in the land of Israel.
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Pesach Passover , the spring festival, marks the beginning of the barley harvest, and Shabuoth Weeks or Pentecost marks its conclusion 50 days later. Sukkot Tabernacles celebrates the autumn harvest and is preceded by a day period of communal purification. From an early date, these festivals came to be associated with formative events in Israel's historical memory. Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. Shabuoth is identified as the time of the giving of the Torah on Sinai. It is marked by the solemn reading of the Ten Commandments in the synagogue.
Sukkot is still observed primarily as a harvest festival, but the harvest booths in which Jews eat during the festival's seven days also are identified with the booths in which the Israelites dwelt on their journey to the Promised Land. According to tradition, the world is judged each New Year and the decree sealed on the Day of Atonement. A ram's horn shofar is blown on the New Year to call the people to repentance. The Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish year, is spent in fasting, prayer, and confession.