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How to transform the model of twentieth-century Jewish institutions into twenty-first-century relational communities offering meaning and purpose, belonging and blessing.
"What really matters is that we care about the people we seek to engage. When we genuinely care about people, we will not only welcome them; we will listen to their stories, we will share ours, and we will join together to build a Jewish community that enriches our lives." from the Introduction
Membership in Jewish organizations is down. Day school enrollment has peaked. Federation campaigns are flat. The fastest growing and second largest category of Jews is Just Jewish. Young Jewish adults are unengaged and aging baby boomers are disengaging. Yet, in the era of Facebook, people crave face-to-face community.
It's all about relationships. With this simple, but profound idea, noted educator and community revitalization pioneer Dr. Ron Wolfson presents practical strategies and case studies to transform the old model of Jewish institutions into relational communities. He sets out twelve principles of relational engagement to guide Jewish lay leaders, professionals and community members in transforming institutions into inspiring communities whose value-proposition is to engage people and connect them to Judaism and community in meaningful and lasting ways."
Take your child on a colorful adventure to share the many ways Jewish people celebrate Shabbat around the world. Shabbat Shalom Beginning in an old Jerusalem market Friday morning, shopping for foods to make Shabbat meals specialSetting a beautiful Sabbath table in Australia Friday afternoonLighting Shabbat candles with a family in TurkeySinging zemirot with relatives in RussiaMaking hamotzi as a congregation in the United StatesParading the Torah scrolls at Shabbat morning services in a synagogue in GermanyRelaxing in the peace of Shabbat day in CanadaEnjoying a special Sabbath afternoon meal in Morocco
From Israel to Thailand, from Ethiopia to Argentina, you and your children are invited to share the diverse Sabbath traditions that come alive in Jewish homes and synagogues around the world each week and to celebrate life with Jewish people everywhere."
Michele Guinness was brought up to observe all the traditions and ritual of her Jewish culture. But in her teens she found something lacking. When she encountered a Christian it raised questions in her own mind, and she turned to the Bible for answers. In this lively account she tells how she came face to face with the Messiah and had to make sense of being both Jewish and Christian. In due course she would marry Peter Guinness, of the brewing family - who would become a minister in the Church of England. This highly diverting autobiography, studded with vivid anecdotes, describes her spiritual journey from one faith to another and the social and cultural pitfalls involved.
An essential biography of one of the Bible (TM)s most powerful and inspiring books Exodus is the second book of the Hebrew Bible, but it may rank first in lasting cultural importance. It is here that the classic biblical themes of oppression and redemption, of human enslavement and divine salvation, are most dramatically expressed. Joel Baden tells the story of this influential and enduring book, tracing how its famous account of the Israelites (TM) journey to the promised land has been adopted and adapted for millennia, often in unexpected ways. Baden draws a distinction between the Exodus story and the book itself, which is one of the most multifaceted in the Bible, containing poems, law codes, rituals, and architectural plans. He shows how Exodus brings together an array of oral and written traditions from the ancient Middle East, and how it came to be ritualized in the Passover Seder and the Eucharist. Highlighting the remarkable resilience and flexibility of Exodus, Baden sheds light on how the bestowing of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai divided Jewish and Christian thinkers, on the importance of Exodus during the Reformation and the American Revolution, and on its uses in debates for and against slavery. He also traces how the defining narrative of ancient Israel helped to define Mormon social identity, the American civil rights movement, and liberation theology. Though three thousand years old, the Exodus "as history, as narrative, as metaphor, as model "continues to be vitally important for us today. Here is the essential biography of this incomparable spiritual masterpiece.
An award-winning biblical translator reflects on the art of capturing the literary power of the Bible in English In this brief book, award-winning biblical translator and acclaimed literary critic Robert Alter offers a personal and passionate account of what he learned about the art of Bible translation over the two decades he spent completing his own English version of the Hebrew Bible. Alter (TM)s literary training gave him the advantage of seeing that a translation of the Bible can convey the text (TM)s meaning only by trying to capture the powerful and subtle literary style of the biblical Hebrew, something the modern English versions don (TM)t do justice to. The Bible (TM)s style, Alter writes, oeis not some sort of aesthetic embellishment of the ~message (TM) of Scripture but the vital medium through which the biblical vision of God, human nature, history, politics, society, and moral value is conveyed. And, as the translators of the King James Version knew, the authority of the Bible is inseparable from its literary authority. For these reasons, the Bible can be brought to life in English only by re-creating its literary virtuosity, and Alter discusses the principal aspects of style in the Hebrew Bible that any translator should try to reproduce: word choice, syntax, word play and sound play, rhythm, and dialogue. In the process, he provides an illuminating and accessible introduction to biblical style that also offers insights about the art of translation far beyond the Bible.
A spiritual companion for those grieving infertility, pregnancy loss, or stillbirth, bringing solace from Jewish tradition. "This book begins where the others leave off. While the doctors do what they must do, when it is time for us to wait, or hope, or cry, or sleep, or pray, it is time for this book. The passages found within are drawn from the rich pool of spiritual responses that Judaism possesses. They reach out to us and embolden us to join our voices to the ancient prayers designed to get us through the night." from the Introduction Enables those frustrated and pained in their attempts at parenthood to mourn the loss of a pregnancy or infertility through the prayers, rituals, and meditations of the Jewish tradition. This new edition updated and expanded includes guided questions and pages on which to add personal reflections of your own emotions and experiences along the path toward parenting."
In the Second-Temple period non-Jews were attracted to Judaism's communal life, religious observance and theological imagination. On the Jewish side, this was matched by the development of several discrete "patterns of universalism"-ways in which Jews were able to conceive of a positive place for Gentiles within their symbolic world. In this book Terence Donaldson collects and comments on all of the texts (to the end of the second Jewish rebellion in 135 CE) that deal with Gentile sympathizers, proselytes, ethical monotheists and participants in end-time redemption. In impressive detail, Donaldson identifies, defines, and describes these "patterns of universalism."
The late twentieth century has witnessed the emergence in every religious tradition of a strain of threatening and militant fundamentalism, yet, significantly, fundamentalists remain beyond the comprehension of the rest of the world. In 'The Battle for God' Karen Armstrong explains brilliantly and perceptively how and why their understanding of religion and society differs so starkly from that of their contemporaries.
"The quality of this remarkable book lies as much in its detail as in its sweeping vision… Fundamentalism cannot be put down by force. If it is to be defeated, it must first be understood. This wise and balanced book makes a significant contribution to such an understanding."
"The spectre of religious fundamentalism haunts our world, and most of us are not merely terrified, but puzzled by it… We need a patient guide… Karen Armstrong is this guide. Her new book is just what Westerners need at this junction in history."
"Armstrong displays all her usual talents: she has an eye for colourful evidence, a wonderful gift for clarity of exposition and an unerring sense of pace and voice in narrative… In her account of the late nineteenth century and the twentieth every line counts and every story grips."
"A remarkable book… the self-evidence of religious fundamentalism's role in recent history gives this book a power and relevance which make for truly compulsive reading… for the reader with even a marginal interest in religion or politics, it is an essential purchase"
"Her book should do so much to de-demonize fundamentalism and thus allow us to take it seriously and devise strategies for coping with it… humane and thoughtful"
The life of a congregational rabbi is often seen as an ivory-tower existence - full of prayers and piety - but Jonathan Romain's has radically departed from that image. Virtually no one has ever asked him about their spiritual life and instead he has dealt with a rollercoaster of crises, emotional traumas, moral dilemmas, attempts at seduction, multiple murders, Machiavellian families, funerals that go wrong, weddings that are hijacked, and fighting his way through a maze of other people's sexual fantasies. Nothing in rabbinic training ever hinted that this catalogue of human misery would become part of his calling, nor gave any clues as to how to handle it. Luckily, his previous careers - as a radio agony aunt, prison chaplain, postman and nightclub bouncer - gave him insights that proved very useful in navigating through the human jungle, and hopefully helping some of those he has met on the way. Candid, poignant and often hilarious, this highly original and very readable book offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into an extraordinary job dealing with timeless human scenarios.
In Biblical Theology, Ben Witherington, III, examines the theology of the Old and New Testaments as a totality. Going beyond an account of carefully crafted Old and New Testament theologies, he demonstrates the ideas that make the Bible a sacred book with a unified theology. Witherington brings a distinctive methodology to this study. Taking a constructive approach, he first examines the foundations of the writers' symbolic universe - what they thought and presupposed about God - and how they revealed those thoughts through the narratives of the Old and New Testaments. He also shows how the historical contexts and intellectual worlds of the Old and New Testaments conditioned their narratives, and, in the process, created a large coherent Biblical world view, one that progressively reveals the character and action of God. Thus, the Yahweh of the Old Testament, the Son in the Gospels, and the Father, Son, and Spirit in the New Testament writings are viewed as persons who are part of the singular divine identity. Sensitive to do a more than merely thematic reading of the Bible which strips texts out of their original context, Witherington's progressive revelation approach allows each part of the canon to be read in its original context and with its original meaning. The result is a Biblical theology that allows Jews and Christian's to dialogue about and appreciate the sacred scriptures in both testaments. The capstone work of an internationally known theologian, Biblical Theology also offers new insights on key theological issues, including the character of God, grace, covenants, salvation, election, and eschatology as they relate to the doctrine of God.
This study takes a fresh look at the influential French philosopher, arguing that Jaques Derrida cannot be fully understood without considering the Jewish dimension of his thought, and offering a re-appraisal of his work.
This groundbreaking collection presents for the first time in English a substantial body of poetry that emerges directly from the sublime and often startling world of Jewish mysticism. Taking up Gershom Scholem's call to plumb the "tremendous poetic potential" concealed in the Kabbalistic tradition, Peter Cole provides dazzling renderings of work composed on three continents over a period of some fifteen hundred years. In addition to the translations and the texts in their original languages, Cole supplies a lively and insightful introduction, along with accessible commentaries to the poems. Aminadav Dykman adds an elegant afterword that places the work in the context of world literature. As a whole, the collection brings readers into the fascinating force field of Kabbalistic verse, where the building blocks of both language and existence itself are unveiled. Excerpts from The Poetry of Kabbalah have been featured in the Paris Review, Poetry, and Conjunctions. "Studded with insight, and written with great verve, this book will become a classic."-Lawrence Fine, author of Physician of the Soul, Healer of the Cosmos
As a college student Martin Buber was a leader in the early Zionist movement. During the period between 1898 and 1902 he published a series of Zionist writings that were clearly meant to be confrontational and challenge those who embraced traditional Judaism. These essays, poems and speeches have been translated and collected here in this text. For Buber Zionism was not primarily a political issue. it implied a reorientation of the entire being, on overcoming of a Diaspora mentality, a catharsis and a readiness to build in the land of Israel a new, just, free and creative community.
Translated by David H. Stern
Written by four outstanding Torah scholars, the JPS Torah Commentary series represents a fusion of the best of the old and new. Utilizing the latest research to enhance our understanding of the biblical text, it takes its place as one of the most authoritative yet accessible Bible commentaries of our day. The JPS Torah Commentary series guides readers through the words and ideas of the Torah. Each volume is the work of a scholar who stands at the pinnacle of his field. every page contains the complete traditional Hebrew text, with cantillation notes, the JPS translation of the Holy Scriptures, aliyot breaks, Masoretic notes, and commentary by a distinguished Hebrew Bible scholar, integrating classical and modern sources. Each volume also contains supplementary essays that elaborate upon key words and themes, a glossary of commentators and sources, extensive bibliographic notes, and maps.
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