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Named a 2007 National Jewish Book Award Runner-Up in the category of Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice.
JPS's holiday books take us through the joys, spirit, and meaning of the seasons. Blending the old and the new, they ground us in the origins and traditions of each holiday and open up to us ways we can add our own expression to these special days. Although synagogue ritual is touched upon, the real focus here is on our personal connections to each holiday and our home observance.
As we move from season to season, Paul Steinberg shares with us a rich collection of readings from many of the Jewish greats--Maimonides, Rashi, Nachmanides, Shlomo Carlebach, Marge Piercy, Elie Wiesel, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Arthur Green, and others--and he guides us in discovering for ourselves the many treasures within each text. The readings teach us about the history of each holiday, as well as its theological, ethical, agricultural, and seasonal importance and interpretation; others give us inspiration and much food for thought. These stories, essays, poems, anecdotes, and rituals help us discover how deeply Jewish traditions are rooted in nature's yearly cycle, and how beautifully season and spirit are woven together throughout the Jewish year.
The Koren Talpiot Siddur is an inspiring Hebrew prayerbook with English instructions. The siddur marks the culmination of years of rabbinic scholarship, and exemplifies the tradition of textual accuracy and innovative graphic design of the renowned Koren Publishers Jerusalem publishing house. English instructions elucidate the Hebrew text. Halakhic guides to daily, Shabbat, and holiday prayers supplement the traditional text. Prayers for the State of Israel, its soldiers, and national holidays, and for the American government and its military reinforce the siddur's contemporary relevance. Personal (Yerushalayim) size, Ashkenaz, with burgundy bonded-leather binding. Ideal for daily or weekly personal use.
The Koren Ani Tefilla Weekday Siddur is an engaging and thought-provoking siddur for the inquiring high school student and thoughtful adult. The innovative commentary in this siddur, for beginners and the seasoned alike, has been designed to help the user create their own meaning and connection during the Tefilla experience. Divided into different categories that enable the user to connect to the liturgy in different ways, the commentary provides a variety of approaches to each tefilla, and something meaningful for everyone.
Key innovative features:
-- Commentary divided into four categories: Biur, Iyun, Halakha and Ani Tefilla
-- Unique layout encourages deeper connection to the prayers
-- Appendices include: FAQs on tefilla collected from students and adults, practical guide to enhancing one's kavana, useful bibliography, guide to the Jewish year, stories, and more.
-- Thought-provoking questions, narratives, and quotes help the user think and feel beyond the standardized liturgy
In this biography, Gerald and Deborah Strober draw from original source materials and numerous interviews to detail the life and career of the esteemed Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, a seminal 20th century figure in interfaith relations in the US and around the world. From his position as Director of Interreligious Affairs at the American Jewish Committee, Rabbi Tanenbaum was deeply involved in the historic Vatican II Council, which promulgated a landmark encyclical on Catholic-Jewish relations. Rabbi Tanenbaum also was one of the few Jewish leaders who worked closely with Reverend Billy Graham and other evangelicals. He worked tirelessly as a civil rights activist and was active in the cause of Soviet Jewry, as well. Confronting Hate details this esteemed career and his interactions with the likes of television legends Norman Lear, Don Hewitt, and Franco Zeffirelli; Jesse Jackson; Martin Luther King, Jr.; and several US presidents, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George H.W. Bush. This book leaves no stone unturned in covering the public and private aspects of the life of "the human rights rabbi." The authors bring to light the immense international influence that Rabbi Tanenbaum has even today, more than twenty-five years after his passing.
God In Search of Man is a classic of modern Jewish theology that is essential for all faiths. Heschel believed that no religious group had a monopoly on religious truth and this is his great statement on the nature of religious faith. Discussing how man seeks God's presence, Heschel examines how the Jews are a chosen people and the idea of the prophet. In these ideas Heschel discovers the true relationship between God and His people, and defines how religious thought becomes faith.
Scattered throughout the Talmud, the founding document of rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity, can be found quite a few references to Jesus--and they're not flattering. In this lucid, richly detailed, and accessible book, Peter Schafer examines how the rabbis of the Talmud read, understood, and used the New Testament Jesus narrative to assert, ultimately, Judaism's superiority over Christianity.
The Talmudic stories make fun of Jesus' birth from a virgin, fervently contest his claim to be the Messiah and Son of God, and maintain that he was rightfully executed as a blasphemer and idolater. They subvert the Christian idea of Jesus' resurrection and insist he got the punishment he deserved in hell--and that a similar fate awaits his followers.
Schafer contends that these stories betray a remarkable familiarity with the Gospels--especially Matthew and John--and represent a deliberate and sophisticated anti-Christian polemic that parodies the New Testament narratives. He carefully distinguishes between Babylonian and Palestinian sources, arguing that the rabbis' proud and self-confident countermessage to that of the evangelists was possible only in the unique historical setting of Persian Babylonia, in a Jewish community that lived in relative freedom. The same could not be said of Roman and Byzantine Palestine, where the Christians aggressively consolidated their political power and the Jews therefore suffered.
A departure from past scholarship, which has played down the stories as unreliable distortions of the historical Jesus, "Jesus in the Talmud" posits a much more deliberate agenda behind these narratives."
This book examines the long-debated issue of the relationship between the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern myths. Using an innovative, interdisciplinary methodology that combines theories of metaphor and narrative, Paul Cho argues that the Hebrew Bible is more deeply mythological than previously recognized. Because the Hebrew Bible contains fragments of the sea myth but no continuous narrative, the study of myth in the Hebrew Bible is usually circumscribed to the level of motifs and themes. Cho challenges this practice and demonstrates that the Hebrew Bible contains shorter and longer compositions studded with imagery that are structured by the plot of sea myths. Through close analysis of key Near Eastern myths and biblical texts, Cho shows that myth had a more fundamental influence on the plot structure and conceptual framework of the Hebrew Bible than has been recognized.
Translated by David H. Stern
Writing with his usual grace and fluency, Jonathan Sacks moves beyond the tired arguments of militant atheists such as Dawkins' The God Delusion and Hitchens' God is Not Great, to explore how religion has always played a valuable part in human culture and far from being dismissed as redundant, must be allowed to temper and develop scientific understanding in order for us to be fully human. Ranging around the world to draw comparisons from different cultures, and delving deep into the history of language and of western civilisation, Jonathan Sacks shows how the predominance of science-oriented thinking is embedded deeply even in our religious understanding, and calls on us to recognise the centrality of relationship to true religion, and thus to see how this core value of relationship is essential if we are to avoid the natural tendency for science to rule our lives rather than fulfilling its promise to set us free.
Heresy is a central concept in the formation of Orthodox Christianity. Where does this notion come from? This book traces the construction of the idea of `heresy' in the rhetoric of ideological disagreements in Second Temple Jewish and early Christian texts and in the development of the polemical rhetoric against `heretics,' called heresiology. Here, author Robert Royalty argues, one finds the origin of what comes to be labelled `heresy' in the second century. In other words, there was such as thing as `heresy' in ancient Jewish and Christian discourse before it was called `heresy.' And by the end of the first century, the notion of heresy was integral to the political positioning of the early orthodox Christian party within the Roman Empire and the range of other Christian communities. This book is an original contribution to the field of Early Christian studies. Recent treatments of the origins of heresy and Christian identity have focused on the second century rather than on the earlier texts including the New Testament. The book further makes a methodological contribution by blurring the line between New Testament Studies and Early Christian studies, employing ideological and post-colonial critical methods.
T. M. Rudavsky presents a new account of the development of Jewish philosophy from the tenth century to Spinoza in the seventeenth, viewed as part of an ongoing dialogue with medieval Christian and Islamic thought. Her aim is to provide a broad historical survey of major figures and schools within the medieval Jewish tradition, focusing on the tensions between Judaism and rational thought. This is reflected in particular philosophical controversies across a wide range of issues in metaphysics, language, cosmology, and philosophical theology. The book illuminates our understanding of medieval thought by offering a much richer view of the Jewish philosophical tradition, informed by the considerable recent research that has been done in this area.
Always wearing an easy smile, Hasidic rabbi Haskel Besser spreads joy wherever he goes, enriching the lives of his many friends and congregants with his profound understanding of both Orthodox Judaism and human nature.
With warmth and admiration, journalist Warren Kozak writes about the rabbi's extraordinary life--from his family's escape to Palestine in the late 1930s to his witnessing of Israel's rebirth in 1948, to his move to New York City, where he lives today.
A rare window into the normally closed world of Hasidic Jews, "The Rabbi of 84th Street" is also the story of Judaism in the twentieth century; of the importance of centuries-old traditions; and of the triumph of faith, kindness, and spirit.
In this book, Francoise Mirguet traces the appropriation and reinterpretation of pity by Greek-speaking Jewish communities of Late Antiquity. Pity and compassion, in this corpus, comprised a hybrid of Hebrew, Greek, and Roman constructions; depending on the texts, they were a spontaneous feeling, a practice, a virtue, or a precept of the Mosaic law. The requirement to feel for those who suffer sustained the identity of the Jewish minority, both creating continuity with its traditions and emulating dominant discourses. Mirguet's book will be of interest to scholars of early Judaism and Christianity for its sensitivity to the role of feelings and imagination in the shaping of identity. An important contribution to the history of emotions, it explores the role of the emotional imagination within the context of Roman imperialism. It also contributes to understanding how compassion has come to be so highly valued in Western cultures.
Joseph Smith, Jr, founder of the Mormon movement, and George J Adams, one of his least known followers -- two Gentile dreamers of Zion -- were instrumental in encouraging Jews and Christians to support the restoration of Israel. For Joseph Smith, Jewish responsibility for establishing Zion had not been forfeited or terminated. It was continuous: the Jews would return as Jews; they would rebuild Jerusalem as Jews. In his view, neither the denigration of Jews, so often characteristic of Christianity, nor supersession by the Church, was tenable. According to Josephs perception of the Scriptures, and his own prophetic insights, there are to be two strategic centres -- Zion at historical Jerusalem, and Zion in a New Jerusalem in the heartland of America. He believed that a renewed Israel and a church, restored to its primal purpose, shared a mandate to body forth in society the dream of the Kingdom of God. He called this dream the cause of Zion, which became a major emphasis of the Mormon movement. Adams, separated from the Mormons following the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844, founded his own Church of the Messiah. Most of his congregations were in Maine, where he readied his followers for a mission as the "Children of Ephraim", which he explicated with persuasive skill from the Old Testament. Later he led 156 of his followers to found an agricultural and commercial colony in Jaffa, Israel. This book explains the rejection by Smith and Adams of "normal" Christian replacement theology and sets out the apologetics by which Smith and Adams promoted courage and conviction in all who joined them in encouraging the in-gathering of the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem.
Kosher USA follows the fascinating journey of kosher food through the modern industrial food system. It recounts how iconic products such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O tried to become kosher; the contentious debates among rabbis over the incorporation of modern science into Jewish law; how Manischewitz wine became the first kosher product to win over non-Jewish consumers (principally African Americans); the techniques used by Orthodox rabbinical organizations to embed kosher requirements into food manufacturing; and the difficulties encountered by kosher meat and other kosher foods that fell outside the American culinary consensus. Kosher USA is filled with big personalities, rare archival finds, and surprising influences: the Atlanta rabbi Tobias Geffen, who made Coke kosher; the lay chemist and kosher-certification pioneer Abraham Goldstein; the kosher-meat magnate Harry Kassel; and the animal-rights advocate Temple Grandin, a strong supporter of shechita, or Jewish slaughtering practice. By exploring the complex encounter between ancient religious principles and modern industrial methods, Kosher USA adds a significant chapter to the story of Judaism's interaction with non-Jewish cultures and the history of modern Jewish American life as well as American foodways.
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.
A JPS classic reissue of this great work of Midrash Long known only to scholars and specialists, Pesikta de-Rab Kahana is a masterpiece of midrashic literature. A collection of discourses for special Sabbaths and festival days compiled and organized during the fifth century, it was well known and studied from the end of that century until it disappeared sometime in the sixteenth century. From manuscripts discovered in 1868 and still others 100 years later, it was reborn. In 1975 JPS brought it to English readers through Braude and Kapstein's translation.
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
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