Normon Solomon's succinct book is an ideal introduction to Judaism as a religion and way of life. Demonstrating the diverse nature and ethnic origin of those with the Jewish faith, Solomon explores how the Jewish religion has developed in the 2,000 years since the days of the Bible. This Very Short Introduction starts by outlining the basics of practical Judaism - its festivals, prayers, customs, and various sects - and goes on to consider how Judaism has responded to, and dealt with, a number of key issues and debates, including the impact of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. In this new edition, Solomon considers issues of contemporary Judaism in the twenty first century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the odds. It spans the millennia and the continents - from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It is a story of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians. Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.
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'Absolutely, definitively alone', a young Jewish student in Romania tries to make sense of a world that has decided he doesn't belong. Spending his days walking the streets and his nights drinking and gambling, meeting revolutionaries, zealots, lovers and libertines, he adjusts his eyes to the darkness that falls over Europe, and threatens to destroy him. Mihail Sebastian's 1934 masterpiece, now translated into English for the first time, was written amid the anti-Semitism which would, by the end of the decade, force him out of his career and turn his friends and colleagues against him. For Two Thousand Years is a prescient, heart-wrenching chronicle of resilience and despair, broken layers of memory and the terrible forces of history.
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The development of Judaism from ancient times to the modern day, shown in over 190 pictures. It traces the history of Judaism across the centuries, from ancient, rabbinic and medieval times to the present day. It discusses the creation of a Temple in Jerusalem, the Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes, the emergence of rabbinic Judaism, the Jewish faith in the modern world, and untraditional Judaism. It is meticulously researched, with over 190 photographs of paintings, manuscripts, statues, important historical sites and archaeological revelations. It is a concise and readable account for both students and general readers. Judaism is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. This book covers the history of the Jews from the biblical period to the fall of the Temple, as well as life in the medieval and modern world. It explores many different forms of Jewish existence from the period of the twelve tribes through to the medieval mystics, and continues to modern kabbalism and Jewish renewal. The abundance of the Jewish heritage and its influence on other religions and modes of thought are also covered, including gender issues, the environment and vegetarianism.With its magnificent illustrations and expert text, the book is a fascinating guide to a rich and complex religion.
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Unlocking the Torah Text provides an in-depth journey into the Torah portion through a series of studies on each parsha. Each study opens with a brief summary of the narrative and then presents probing questions designed to strike to the core of the text. These questions are addressed through a review of traditional commentaries spanning the ages, combined with original approaches. Deep philosophical issues and perplexing textual questions are carefully examined and discussed in clear and incisive fashion. The actions and motivations of the patriarchs, matriarchs and other biblical figures are probed with an eye towards determining the lessons to be learned from the lives of these great personalities. Clear distinction is made between pshat (straightforward literal meaning) and Midrash (rabbinical exegesis) as both of these approaches to biblical text are carefully defined and applied. Finally, thought-provoking connections are raised between the eternal Torah narrative and critical issues of our time. Each study is thus constructed to encourage continued discussion and study of the Torah narrative.
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First published in 2004, The Jewish Study Bible is a landmark, one-volume resource tailored especially for the needs of students of the Hebrew Bible. It has won acclaim from readers in all religious traditions. The Jewish Study Bible combines the entire Hebrew Bible-in the celebrated Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation-with explanatory notes, introductory materials, and essays by leading biblical scholars on virtually every aspect of the text, the world in which it was written, its interpretation, and its role in Jewish life. The quality of scholarship, easy-to-navigate format, and vibrant supplementary features bring the ancient text to life. This second edition includes revised annotations for nearly the entire Bible, as well as forty new and updated essays on many of the issues in Jewish interpretation, Jewish worship in the biblical and post-biblical periods, and the growing influence of the Hebrew Bible in the ancient world. The Jewish Study Bible, Second Edition, is an essential resource for anyone interested in the Hebrew Bible.
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The discovery of the "Dead Sea Scrolls" in the Judaean desert between 1947 and 1956 transformed our understanding of the Hebrew Bible, early Judaism and the origins of Christianity. These extraordinary manuscripts appear to have been hidden in the caves at Quumran by members of the Essene community, a Jewish sect in existence before and during the time of Jesus. Some sixty years after the Scrolls' first discovery, this revised and much expanded edition of "The Dead Sea Scrolls in English" crowns a lifetime of research by the great Qumran scholar Geza Vermes. As well as superb translations of all non-biblical texts sufficiently well preserved to be rendered into English, there are also a number of previously unpublished texts, and a new preface. Since its first publication in 1962, "The Dead Sea Scrolls in English" has established itself as the standard English translation of the non-Biblical "Qumran Scrolls" and as giving an astonishing insight to the organization, customs, history and beliefs of the community responsible for them. This seventh edition will contain new material, together with extensive new introductory material and notes.
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Unchosen is not a book for anyone who wants a balanced account of modern Jewish culture: it's part love letter, part howl of rage at the returning spectre of anti-Semitism. By Julie Burchill's own admission, this is the subject that matters the most to her and Unchosen is the most difficult, most important book she's ever written.
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In this clear and authoritative guide, Lavinia and Dan Cohn-Sherbok concisely examine the Jewish faith and its practices and explore what it really means to be a Jew today. From the nature of God to the divisions within Judaism and from worship to everyday customs, this introduction covers all the topics essential to an informed understanding of this highly influential 3000-year-old faith and its enduring traditions.
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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?"
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Your plain-English guide to Judaism Whether you're interested in the religion or the spirituality, the culture or the ethnic traditions, Judaism For Dummies explores the full spectrum of Judaism, dipping into the mystical, meditative, and spiritual depth of the faith and the practice. In this warm and welcoming book, you'll find coverage of: Orthodox Jews and breakaway denominations; Judaism as a daily practice; the food and fabric of Judaism; Jewish wedding ceremonies; celebrations and holy days; 4,000 years of pain, sadness, triumph, and joy; great Jewish thinkers and historical celebrities; and much more. Updates to the "recent history" section with discussions of what has happened in the first decade of the twenty-first century including: the expansion of orthodox political power in Israel; expansion of interfaith work; unfortunate recent anti-Semitic events; and other news Expanded coverage of Jewish mysticism and meditation, which has become increasingly popular in recent years New coverage on Jewish views of morality, including birth control, homosexuality, and environmental concerns Revised recipes for traditional Jewish cooking, updated key vocabulary, and Yiddish phrases everyone should know Jews have long spread out to the corners of the world, so there are significant Jewish communities on many continents. Judaism For Dummies offers a glimpse into the rituals, ideas, and terms that are woven into the history and everyday lives of Jewish people as near as our own neighborhoods and as far-reaching as across the world.
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This fully revised second edition of Rosemary Wenzerul's lively and informative guide to researching Jewish history will be absorbing reading for anyone who wants to find out about the life of a Jewish ancestor. In a clear and accessible way she takes readers through the entire process of research. She provides a brief social history of the Jewish presence in Britain and looks at practical issues of research - how to get started, how to organize the work, how to construct a family tree and how to use the information obtained to tell the story of a family. In addition she describes, in practical detail, the many sources that researchers can go to for information on their ancestors, their families and Jewish history.
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Why are words so important to Jews? Novelist Amos Oz and historian Fania Oz-Salzberger roam the gamut of Jewish history to explain the integral relationship of Jews and words. Through a blend of storytelling and scholarship, conversation and argument, father and daughter tell the tales behind Judaism's most enduring names, adages, disputes, texts and quips. These words, they argue, comprise the chain connecting Abraham with the Jews of every subsequent generation. Framing the discussion within such topics as continuity, women, timelessness and individualism, Oz and Oz-Salzberger deftly engage Jewish personalities across the ages, from the unnamed, possibly-female author of the Song of Songs through obscure Talmudists to contemporary writers. They suggest that Jewish continuity, even Jewish uniqueness, depends not on central places, monuments, heroic personalities, or rituals, but rather on written words and an ongoing conversation between the generations. Full of learning, lyricism and humour, Jews and Words offers an extraordinary tour of the words at the heart of Jewish culture, and extends an invitation to the reader to join the dialogue.
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This book is a concise guide to the history, beliefs and practices of this major world faith. Covering all the key aspects of Judaism, including the impact of the Holocaust and the significance of Israel on Jewish self-understanding, gain real insight into what it means to be Jewish today. NOT GOT MUCH TIME? One, five and ten-minute introductions to key principles to get you started. AUTHOR INSIGHTS Lots of instant help with common problems and quick tips for success, based on the author's many years of experience. TEST YOURSELF Tests in the book and online to keep track of your progress. EXTEND YOUR KNOWLEDGE Extra online articles at www.teachyourself.com to give you a richer understanding of psychology. FIVE THINGS TO REMEMBER Quick refreshers to help you remember the key facts. TRY THIS Innovative exercises illustrate what you've learnt and how to use it.
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The book starts with background chapters on the Jews, Moses, the King in the Old Testament, and moves on to the King in the New Testament (apart from John) and then reaches its main focus on the Gospel of John. "Those at Qumran who worshipped as/with the angels in heaven cannot have been very different from those who wrote and read John's gospel and the Book of Revelation. The latter were the Hebrew-Christian community who saw themselves as the heavenly throng ...Their Lamb on the throne opened a sealed book - secret teaching - and they were originally people chosen from all the twelve tribes of Israel to receive the Name of the Lord on their foreheads (Rev.7.3-4). This vision was set in the early days of the first temple, before the kingdom divided, and it had become the hope for the future." from the Introduction
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Renowned as one of the world's most astute interpreters of Kabbalistic texts, Elliot Wolfson offers an illuminating and original presentation of Kabbalah. Combining its wisdom with Western philosophical heritage from Plato to Heidegger and beyond, synergy guides his elucidation of the fundamentals of Jewish mysticism and shapes his taxonomy of Kabbalistic thought. An insightful collection of seminal essays written between 1986 and 1998, Luminal Darkness reveals the unmistakably poetic nature of this important scholar's creative process, and delineates the evolution of his thinking on the role and importance of the Zohar in Kabbalistic tradition.
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This is a commentary and guide to reading the Book of Psalms as literature. After an introduction, each psalm is interpreted in light of biblical scholarship, ancient and modern, with an emphasis on the poetic presentation. The commentary elucidates the spiritual quests, insights, and struggles of generations of men and women confronting their world and their place in that world, with no subject, be it faith or non-belief, good or evil, hope or despair, God or man, the individual or the society, the nation or the nations, left unexplored. Sophisticated poets who knew how to speak to both their peers and the masses, the psalmists used words creatively to allow their readers to search their own hearts. The words are ancient, but the questions are immediate and modern. The Psalms has contributed to the thinking and search of people across the millennia. It is truly poetry of the heart. In this commentary, modern research and insight allow the poems to sing once again. No other commentary brings a combination of classical and modern interpretations to the Book of Psalms, along with a real appreciation for the poetic skills of the poets and an acknowledgement of their own struggles and strivings. Uniquely identifying the literary techniques used by the psalmist, the author opens the psalms to the reader through an integrated appreciation of form and content.
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Blood for Thought delves into a relatively unexplored area of rabbinic literature: the vast corpus of laws, regulations, and instructions pertaining to sacrificial rituals. Mira Balberg traces and analyzes the ways in which the early rabbis interpreted and conceived of biblical sacrifices, reinventing them as a site through which to negotiate intellectual, cultural, and religious trends and practices in their surrounding world. Rather than viewing the rabbinic project as an attempt to generate a nonsacrificial version of Judaism, she argues that the rabbis developed a new sacrificial Jewish tradition altogether, consisting of not merely substitutes to sacrifice but elaborate practical manuals that redefined the processes themselves, radically transforming the meanings of sacrifice, its efficacy, and its value.
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The Kabbalistic idea of creation, as expressed through light, space and geometry, has left its unmistakable mark on our civilization. Drawing upon a wide array of historical materials and images of contemporary art, sculpture and architecture, architect Alexander Gorlin explores the influence, whether actually acknowledged or not, of the Kabbalah on modern design. Comprising ten chapters that each outline key concepts of the Kabbalah and its representations, both in historic diagrams and the modern built environment, Kabbalah in Art and Architecture puts forth an unparalleled and compelling reinterpretation of art and architecture through the lens of the Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism. A chapter on the Golem, and an epilogue that discusses German artist Anselm Kiefers powerful interpretations of the Kabbalah, complete this unique book.
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Some two thousand years ago, a group of Jews settled in Ethiopia and was for millennia cut off from the rest of world Jewry, preserving its heritage with great self-sacrifice. When this community, the Beta Israel, ultimately made its way to Israel to rejoin its brethren in the late twentieth century, a host of complex dilemmas emerged. Should the Beta Israel shed its venerated customs, based on ancient, pre-rabbinic Jewish law, and adopt the rabbinic halakhah of modern-day Jewry? Or is there a place for the unique legacy of the Ethiopian Jews within the umbrella of the wider Jewish community? Rabbi Shalom's startlingly original Shulhan ha-Orit delves into the history, customs, and law of the Beta Israel, codifying the ancient cultural heritage of Ethiopian Jewry for the first time and contrasting it with Orthodox rabbinic law. He offers suggestions for honoring Beta Israel tradition while fully participating in the greater Jewish community. This book provides an invaluable service to Jews of Ethiopian descent on how to practically conduct themselves throughout the Jewish year, but more than that it is a fascinating meditation on the tension each of us faces between individual practice and group togetherness, between difference and unity. For anyone who has ever pondered the balance between communal belonging and being true to one's own self, this is a mesmerizing read.
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Though she only lived to be twenty-seven, Sarah Aaronsohn led a remarkable life. The Woman Who Fought an Empire tells the improbable but true odyssey of a bold young woman-the daughter of Romanian-born Jewish settlers in Palestine-who became the daring leader of a Middle East spy ring. Following the outbreak of World War I, Sarah learned that her brother Aaron had formed Nili, an anti-Turkish spy ring, to aid the British in their war against the Ottomans. Sarah, who had witnessed the atrocities of the Armenian genocide by the Turks, believed that only the defeat of the Ottoman Empire could save the Palestinian Jews from a similar fate. Sarah joined Nili, eventually rising to become the organization's leader. Operating behind enemy lines, she and her spies furnished vital information to British intelligence in Cairo about the Turkish military forces until she was caught and tortured by the Turks in the fall of 1917. To protect her secrets, Sarah got hold of a gun and shot herself. The Woman Who Fought an Empire, set at the birth of the modern Middle East, rebukes the Hollywood stereotype of women spies as femme fatales and is both an espionage thriller and a Joan of Arc tale.
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A magisterial history, ranging from antiquity to the present, that reveals anti-Judaism to be a mode of thought deeply embedded in the Western tradition. There is a widespread tendency to regard anti-Judaism - whether expressed in a casual remark or implemented through pogrom or extermination campaign - as somehow exceptional: an unfortunate indicator of personal prejudice or the shocking outcome of an extremist ideology married to power. But, as David Nirenberg argues in this ground-breaking study, to confine anit-Judaism to the margins of our culture is to be dangerously complacent. Anti-Judaism is not an irrational closet in the vast edifice of Western thought, but rather one of the basic tools with which that edifice was constructed.
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Gershom Scholem, the great humanist thinker and founder of modern Kabalah, is all but forgotten today. But here, in a biography as daring and inquisitive as its subject, George Prochnik goes in search of Scholem, restoring the reputation of a vital intellectual and finding in his work a vision with the power to reinvigorate contemporary religious and political thought. Tracing Scholem's life from his upbringing in Berlin, where he experienced a close and transformative friendship with Walter Benjamin, Prochnik reveals how Scholem's frustration with the bourgeois ideology of Germany during WWI led him to discover mystic Judaism, Kabbalah, and, finally, Zionism. But having emigrated to what was to become Israel, Scholem again found himself a 'stranger in a strange land', ill at ease with a prevailing conservative form of Zionism. Prochnik follows Scholem to the modern Holy Land - only to find that he too is disillusioned by the state politics he encounters. But through his profound study of Scholem and his own experience of Jerusalem, Prochnik not only questions the ideological and religious constructs of Jerusalem, but finds an ethical way forward, showing how a new form of pluralism might energize Jewish thought.
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