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Embracing Judaism Paperback – December 30, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Rabbinical Assembly; 2 Revised edition (December 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0916219151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0916219154
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Embracing Judaism is a book that speaks to the heart, from its title to its warm, lucid, and inclusive tone. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the values and practices of Judaism -- meaning everyone who cares about Jewish life today." -- Francine Klagsbrun, author of Jewish Days: A Book of Jewish Life and Culture Around the Year.

"In this wonderful volume, Rabbi Kling conveys his deep love of God and the Jewish tradition, and provides a masterful summary fo Judaism's distinctive spiritual and ethical message. I highly recommend it for prospective Jews by choice and all those interested in Judaism as a religious faith and a holy way of life." -- Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President, Union of American Hebew Congregations

"More than Judaism 101, more than a convert's primer, this book delivers the basics of Jewish tradition with remarkable sensitivity, clarity, and inclusiveness born of lovingkindness. Rachel Cowan's essay alone is worth the cover price." -- Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America.

About the Author

Rabbi Simcha Kling 1922-1991) was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also earned a master's degree in Hebrew literature and a doctorate in Hebrew letters. He was a pulipt rabbi for over forty years.

Rabbi Carl M. Perkins, who revised the book, is the spiritual leader of Temple Aliyah in Needham, MA. A graduate of Harvard Law School and the Wexner graduate fellowship program, he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1991.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This book made me feel that my options are still open.
M. Davis
While this was a well written and very interesting book, I was overwhelmed with the vast amount of information.
Stuart Itzkowitz
Carl Perkins is to be commended for taking an excellent book and making it even better.
Rabbi Gershon Schwartz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Parodi TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
The rabbi who gave this to me is Rabbi Richard K. Rocklin of Temple Beth Tikvah in Greenacres, Florida. He said he gives it to all people who express an interest is converting to Judaism.
I am glad the Rabbi sent me this book because it is very succinct and straightforward. The things I found most helpful about this book are the discussion of the different Jewish holidays and the description of the different movements within Judaism. I found it very interesting to read that there is a difference between "movements" and "denominations." In other words, "Reform" Judaism is not to "Orthadox" Judaism as "Catholic" is to "Baptist." It was interesting for me to learn that while the different movements practice differently, they still accept one another as being Jewish (though they may not always agree on things). It was an interesting eye opener.
I also found it interesting to read that many Jewish people do not literally believe the stories in Torah, the Biblical stories. Perhaps the most eye-opening thing in this book is the fact that Judaism rejects the concept of "Original Sin." Prior to reading this book, I had assumed that Judaism taught Original Sin just as Catholicism does (because, after all, you hear so much about the "Judeo-Christian Tradition"). This book will always be important to me for teaching me that Judaism rejects this concept. I sometimes wonder how different my worldview would have been, and my life thus far, had I not been taught the concept of Original Sin at such a young age. I'm happy to say I am un-learning that concept. I don't believe human beings are inherently sinful, and I'm glad this book showed me that there are others who feel the same way.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Rabbi Gershon Schwartz on January 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
For years, I thought that the earlier edition of Embracing Judaism by Rabbi Simcha Kling was the best introduction to Judaism available. Carl Perkins' able and sensitive revision of Embracing Judaism makes this work even more usable for the contemporary reader. When people come to me and say, "What can I read to learn about what it means to be Jewish?" I can tell them without any hesitation, "Read Embracing Judaism by Simcha Kling and Carl Perkins."
Embracing Judaism is simple without being simplistic. In terms that most readers can readily understand, the authors present the basic beliefs, practices and approaches to Judaism today. This work was written originally, and still intended largely, as a "primer" for those considering conversion to Judaism. And this is often how I have used it in the past. When I meet a person about possible conversion, I give him/her a copy of this book, with the words, "Try reading this. If you decide to convert, it's my gift form me to you." The addition of Rachel Cowan's personal story to Embracing Judaism had added a new and necessary dimension to the work. However, the book also great for any reader who wants a sensitive and sensible introduction to Jewish living.
Carl Perkins is to be commended for taking an excellent book and making it even better. Embracing Judaism works as a work, and it deserves a central place in every Jewish library.
Rabbi Gershon Schwartz is co-author with Rabbi Michael Katz, of "Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living" published by JPS
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Meredith on February 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book answered so many of my questions about Jewish life and values. The chapter on what Judaism teaches really opened up a lot of windows for me and the book is filled with good practical information about the basics of Jewish living (such as keeping Shabbat and following the dietary laws). I was glad the author doesn't promote one "type" of Judaism, or one movement over another: he presents the ideological differences & outlines the hallmarks of Jewish life, leaving the reader to make her own choice. About a third of the book discusses Jewish history & I found it helpful to read a breezy but careful synopsis of major trends in Jewish history, without having to plow through something long & complicated.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
When the first edition to this book appeared some years ago, I was disappointed. But with the masterful reworking by Rabbi Perkins, this book rises to first place in one-volume introductions available. As a congregational rabbi, I helped over 200 people convert to Judaism. Now, as Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Judaism, I supervise the Miller Introduction to Judaism program. We're always on the prowl for books that are informative, thoughtful, accurate and passionate. Embracing Judaism fits the bill, and we will work hard to get it into the hands of today's seekers, Jewish and non-Jewish. This book makes complex ideas clear, without preaching, distorting, or infantilizing. A wonderful book!
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