Why Be Jewish?: A Testament


Edgar M. Bronfman - 2016
    Bronfman's clarion call to a generation of secular, disaffected, and unaffiliated Jews, this book addresses the most critical question confronting Judaism worldwide. Completed in December 2013, just weeks before he passed away, Why Be Jewish? expresses Edgar Bronfman's awe, respect, and deep love for his faith and heritage. Bronfman walks readers through the major tenets and ideas in Jewish life, fleshing out their meaning and offering proof texts from the Jewish tradition gleaned over his many years of study with some of the greatest teachers in the Jewish world. With honesty, poignancy, and passion, Bronfman shares in Why Be Jewish? insights gleaned from his own personal journey and makes a compelling case for the meaning and transcendence of a secular Judaism that is still steeped in deep moral values, authentic Jewish texts, and a focus on deed over creed or dogma.

Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Tradition


Arthur Green - 2010
    As featured on the cover of Tikkun magazine How do we articulate a religious vision that embraces evolution and human authorship of Scripture?  Drawing on the Jewish mystical traditions of Kabbalah and Hasidism, path-breaking Jewish scholar Arthur Green argues that a neomystical perspective can help us to reframe these realities, so they may yet be viewed as dwelling places of the sacred.  In doing so, he rethinks such concepts as God, the origins and meaning of existence, human nature, and revelation to construct a new Judaism for the twenty-first century.

Finding God: Selected Responses


Rifat Sonsino - 1986
    This latest edition of Finding God includes two new essays on the distinct theologies of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Alvin Reines, as well as a chapter on newer approaches, including those of Emil Fackenheim, Harold Schulweis, Marcia Falk, Lawrence Kushner, and Judith Plaskow. There is no one right way to view God for Jews, but with the help of this book readers will be better able to understand the multiple ways that Jews have continued to wrestle with the idea of God throughout history.-- Revised edition-- Three new chapters-- A multiplicity of distinctively Jewish theological perspectives-- Ideal for high school, adult education courses, and Introduction to Judaism-- Free discussion guide available at www.uahcpress.com

Halakhic Man


Joseph B. Soloveitchik - 1983
    It is a profound excursion into religious psychology and phenomenology, a pioneering attempt at a philosophy of halakhah, and a stringent critique of mysticism and romantic religion.

Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism


Gershom Scholem - 1929
    A collection of lectures on the features of the movement of mysticism that began in antiquity and continues in Hasidism today.

God Was in This Place and I, I Did Not Know


Lawrence Kushner - 1991
    Who am I? Who is God? Kushner creates inspiring interpretations of Jacob's dream in Genesis, opening a window into Jewish spirituality for people of all faiths and backgrounds.

The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living


Joseph Telushkin - 2000
    Telushkin speaks to the major ethical issues of our time, issues that have, of course, been around since the beginning. He offers one or two pages a day of pithy, wise, and easily accessible teachings designed to be put into immediate practice. The range of the book is as broad as life itself: The first trait to seek in a spouse (Day 17)When, if ever, lying is permitted (Days 71-73)Why acting cheerfully is a requirement, not a choice (Day 39)What children don't owe their parents (Day 128)Whether Jews should donate their organs (Day 290)An effective but expensive technique for curbing your anger (Day 156)How to raise truthful children (Day 298)What purchases are always forbidden (Day 3)In addition, Telushkin raises issues with ethical implications that may surprise you, such as the need to tip those whom you don't see (Day 109), the right thing to do when you hear an ambulance siren (Day 1), and why wasting time is a sin (Day 15). Whether he is telling us what Jewish tradition has to say about insider trading or about the relationship between employers and employees, he provides fresh inspiration and clear guidance for every day of our lives.

Commentary on the Torah


Richard Elliott Friedman - 2001
    Richard Elliott Friedman, the bestselling author of Who Wrote the Bible?, integrates the most recent discoveries in biblical archaeology and research with the fruits of years of experience studying and teaching the Bible to illuminate the straightforward meaning of the text -- "to shed new light on the Torah and, more important, to open windows through which it sheds its light on us."While other commentaries are generally collections of comments by a number of scholars, this is a unified commentary on the Torah by a single scholar, the most unified by a Jewish scholar in centuries. It includes the original Hebrew text, a new translation, and an authoritative, accessibly written interpretation and analysis of each passage that remains focused on the meaning of the Torah as a whole, showing how its separate books are united into one cohesive, all-encompassing sacred literary masterpiece. This landmark work is destined to take its place as a classic in the libraries of lay readers and scholars alike, as we seek to understand the significance of the scriptural texts for our lives today, and for years to come.

A Guide to Jewish Prayer


Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz - 2000
    One of the world's most famous and respected rabbis has given us the one guide we need to practice Jewish prayer and understand the prayer book.From the origins and meaning of prayer to a step-by-step explanation of the daily services to the reason you're not supposed to chat with your friends during the service, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz answers many of the questions likely to arise about Jewish prayer.  Here are chapters on daily prayer; Sabbath prayer; prayer services for the holidays; the yearly cycle of synagogue Bible readings; the history and make-up of the synagogue; the different prayer rites for Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Yemenites, and other cultural/geographic groupings; the role of the rabbi and the cantor in the synagogue; and the role of music in the service.The book also contains a glossary, a bibliography, and biographical sketches of the rabbis who were instrumental in creating and ordering the prayers through the ages.Rabbi Steinsaltz's guide is an essential volume both for the newcomer to Jewish prayer and for those who have been engaged in prayer for years.From the Hardcover edition.

Maimonides and the Book That Changed Judaism: Secrets of "The Guide for the Perplexed"


Micah Goodman - 2010
    The works of Maimonides, particularly The Guide for the Perplexed, are reckoned among the fundamental texts that influenced all subsequent Jewish philosophy and also proved to be highly influential in Christian and Islamic thought. Spanning subjects ranging from God, prophecy, miracles, revelation, and evil, to politics, messianism, reason in religion, and the therapeutic role of doubt, Maimonides and the Book That Changed Judaism elucidates the complex ideas of The Guide in remarkably clear and engaging prose. Drawing on his own experience as a central figure in the current Israeli renaissance of Jewish culture and spirituality, Micah Goodman brings Maimonides’s masterwork into dialogue with the intellectual and spiritual worlds of twenty-first-century readers. Goodman contends that in Maimonides’s view, the Torah’s purpose is not to bring clarity about God but rather to make us realize that we do not understand God at all; not to resolve inscrutable religious issues but to give us insight into the true nature and purpose of our lives.

Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life


Irwin Kula - 2006
    After twenty-three years as a rabbi, I can think of no more defining human experience." Life can be messy and imperfect. We're all looking for answers. And yet, as renowned rabbi Irwin Kula points out, the yearning for answers is no different now than it was in the times that gave rise to Moses, Buddha, and Jesus. Far from being a burden, however, these yearnings can themselves become a path to blessing, prompting questions and insights, resulting in new ways of being and believing. In this, his first book, Rabbi Kula takes us on an excursion into the depths of our desires, applying ancient Jewish tradition to seven of our most wonderful yearnings. Merging ancient wisdom with contemporary insights, Rabbi Kula shows how traditional practices can inform and enrich our own search for meaning. More importantly, he invites us to embrace the messiness and complexities of the human experience in order to fully embrace the endless and glorious project of life.

The Lights of Penitence, the Moral Principles, Lights of Holiness, Essays, Letters and Poems


Abraham Isaac Kook - 1978
    The chief Rabbi of Palestine prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, Kook (1865-1935) represents the renewal of the Jewish mystical tradition in modern times.

Meditation and the Bible


Aryeh Kaplan - 1978
    First English translation from ancient unpublished manuscripts, with commentary.

Everyman's Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages


Abraham Cohen - 1931
    But people want to know about a book that, they are told, defines Judaism. Everyman's Talmud is the right place to begin not only to learn about Judaism in general but to meet the substance of the Talmud in particular . . . In time to come, Cohen's book will find its companion-though I do not anticipate it will ever require a successor for what it accomplishes with elegance and intelligence: a systematic theology of the Talmud's Judaism.--From the Foreword by Jacob NeusnerLong regarded as the classic introduction to the teachings of the Talmud, this comprehensive and masterly distillation summarizes the wisdom of the rabbinic sages on the dominant themes of Judaism: the doctrine of God; God and the universe; the soul and its destiny; prophesy and revelation; physical life; moral life and social living; law, ethics, and jurisprudence; legends and folk traditions; the Messiah and the world to come.

Toward a Meaningful Life, New Edition: The Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson


Simon Jacobson - 1995
    Head of the Lubavitcher movement for forty-four years and recognized throughout the world simply as “the Rebbe,” Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who passed away in June 1994, was a sage and a visionary of the highest order.Toward a Meaningful Life gives people of all backgrounds  fresh perspectives on every aspect of their lives—from birth to death, youth to old age; marriage, love, intimacy, and family; the persistent issues of career, health, pain, and suffering; and education, faith, science, and government. We learn to bridge the divisions between accelerated technology and decelerated morality, between unprecedented worldwide unity and unparalleled personal disunity. Although the Rebbe’s teachings are firmly anchored in more than three thousand years of scholarship, the urgent relevance of these old-age truths to contemporary life has never been more manifest.            At the threshold of a new world where matter and spirit converge, the Rebbe proposes spiritual principles that unite people as opposed to the materialism that divides them. In doing so, he continues to lead us toward personal and universal redemption, toward a meaningful life, and toward God.