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How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household Paperback – September 15, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 526 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (September 15, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671602705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671602703
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Blu Greenberg writes and lectures on contemporary Jewish subjects. Her first book, On Women and Judaism, was published in 1981 by the Jewish Publication Society. Married to a rabbi, she is the mother of five children, active in communal affairs, and yet manages to run a traditional Jewish household. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Interesting book and great read for those wanting to learn more about Judaism.
Jalenna Call
There is so much I like about the book that all I can do is suggest readers discover How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household for themselves.
Beth DeRoos
It is very informative and it is written in such a way that is a pleasant read as well as informative.
Jeanette Arlene

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By . on November 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was raised in a completely non-observant household; we were "Christmas Tree" Jews. I never set foot inside a synagogue until my late 40s. I stumbled onto this book at the beginning of my search for information and my place in the greater Jewish community, and found it fascinating.
I have no intention of becoming Orthodox, and have found my own home in the Jewish Renewal movement, but turn to this book often for information. I especially appreciated the explanations of some of the rituals and traditions that don't "make sense" and was touched my the author's frank acknowledgement of her struggles and disagreements with some aspects of her practice - and her commitment to the preservation of those same traditions. In fact, I have come to believe that the greatest value of this book is just that - she clearly struggles with some aspects of her faith but is absolutely commited to its complete preservation - she doesn't pick and choose at the cafeteria of observance. Here is commitment writ large!
I didn't agree with everything she said - her statement that the women at the beach in the modest swimsuits are probably observant Jews struck me as a tad smug, since most faiths value modesty and the orthodox of all religions practice it. But overall, I found the book invaluable as I began my process of sorting out the holidays and practices. The practice I have found for myself is much more personal and spiritually oriented, I believe, but it's important, and valuable, to know about the roots of that practice.
So I recommend this book - I even gave a copy to my mother for Christmas!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
Growing up in a Classical Reform home, where observance was minimal, Conservative practice considered dated and pointless, and Orthodoxy completely alien, I would never have expected to read this book, much less love it. But Blu Greenberg's writing describes modern Orthodox practice with such warmth and charm that we have actually taken on new observances after reading it. Furthermore, even practices we are unlikely to adopt have become understandable and something to appreciate. Highly recommended!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. Lawson on July 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a Jew by Choice (who chose Reform) who wants to learn more about the other Jewish movements. This book was recommended to me by a female friend at my Reform temple, and I was not disappointed. Blu Greenberg is open and honest about raising an Orthodox family in modern society. She is not the perfect Orthodox wife, nor does she pretend to be. Her book is part autobiography, part instruction. I found it very helpful as I move toward keeping a kosher home (yes, some Reform Jews do that!) and as I move toward closer observance of Shabbat. I read through the book and now refer to specific chapters when needed. She explains a ritual, followed by the appropriate prayer in Hebrew, transliteration, and English. If you want to see how the other half lives, here is your chance. I heartily recommend it.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Blu Greenberg is the kind of Jewish mama I wish I'd had. She's knowlegeable about Jewish observance but sensitive to controversial issues and careful to address the concerns of those who weren't raised in a traditional Jewish home. This is the same Blu Greenberg who was open-minded enough to accompany a delegation of Jews to visit with the Dalai Lama in India, and at the same time was careful to remain kosher on the trip! "How To Run A Traditional Jewish Household" takes you step-by-step through the intricacies of daily Jewish living. Have a question about Shabbat observance? Blu Greenberg has the answer. "Islands in time do not appear on their own," she points out, and so we are provided with detailed instructions covering everything from pre-Shabbat preparations, prayers and blessings, to setting up a blech to keep food warm. Many books give a gerneral overview of Shabbat observance; with this book in hand, though, one could begin on Thursday night with preparations and make it through Saturday night in finest of observant style. The same thorough but chatty tone also refreshes Mrs. Greenberg's discussion of the laws and practicalities of Kashrut, Family Purity, and the keeping of all the festivals. She discusses the Jewish views of abortion, birth control, and divorce, and explains the traditional ways of dealing with birth and death and common life events in between. For all her undeniable 'frumness', Mrs. Greenberg admits to struggling with some of the issues she discusses. She admits to "occasional grumblings" over the laws of Niddah, and has managed to gracefully be both Orthodox and feminist. Here is a woman who has clearly wrestled with some aspects of her faith. God-wrestling is a time-honored tradition for Jews, and it's affect on Blu Greenberg has been positive. "How To Run A Traditional Jewish Household" is instructional, loving, and thought-provoking.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Beth DeRoos HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 25, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this book simply because I wanted a modern comprehensive book on Judaism and how a traditional Jewish home should be managed. Having preconceived and I admit misplaced ideas of what was involved I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is a lot to the subject that is voluntary and that it isn't about a fear of God using a 2X4 to get your attention and devotion.
I really liked her section on clothing and even I who knew a great deal about Judaism was intrigued with the idea that there is a prayer for clothing. I sure had never thought about giving thanks for clean or new clothes everyday. Equally informative was her section on kepah's and that they don't seem to be either required in the Torah or even Talmudic law.
Chapter 7 SPEECH is fascinating since the author notes that in Judaism a Jew is forbidden to insult, shame, defame, embarrass or slander another person. Not another Jew, but another person. Period. And that Lashon hara means evil tongue and that this includes not only the evil of the speaker but also the hearer. The theory being that the 'consumer' or the one who listens to gossip creates a market for it, and is as guilty as the purveyor of the words. The Talmud the author notes paints a more harsh example by stressing the 'deceiving is equated to stealing; insulting is analogous to killing'. Reminds me of the adage I heard growing up 'think before you speak'.
I loved her Chapter 9 which deals with marriage. I was thinking of this recently when a Christian friend of mine, and I were debated the issue of celibacy and how in my opinion Paul in the Christian texts seemed to think that marriage was a necessary evil. I tried to explain as does the author that in Judaism one who chooses to not marry is considered an incomplete person.
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