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It's a Mitzvah!: Step-By-Step to Jewish Living Paperback – June 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0874415858 ISBN-10: 0874415853 Edition: 0th

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It's a Mitzvah!: Step-By-Step to Jewish Living + Jewish Literacy Revised Ed: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History + The Jewish Holidays
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Behrman House (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874415853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874415858
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A guide to Jewish living, this book is the starting point for everyone who wants to increase his or her level of Jewish commitment, but doesn't know where or how to begin. From lighting candles on Shabbat to spending a night in a homeless shelter, this book identifies hundreds of opportunities to transform daily living into Jewish living. Over 100 pictures detail the richness and diversity of Jewish life in action.

From The New Yorker

It's A Mitzvah is this year's Apple of Jewish books: clean, well-conceived and as user-friendly as a Mac. Artson's primary focus is not on the why but the how of being Jewish. Laid out in a highly graphic style full of sidebars and photos, the book offers readers clear ideas on how to begin or increase Jewish observance.

More About the Author

Rabbi Dr Bradley Shavit Artson (www.bradartson.com), an inspiring speaker, educator, and philosopher, holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is Vice President of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. A member of the Philosophy Department, he is particularly interested in theology, ethics, and the integration of science and religion. He supervises the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and mentors Camp Ramah in California. He is also the Dean of the Zacharias Frankel College in Potsdam, Germany, ordaining rabbis for the European Union. A regular columnist for the Huffington Post, he is the author of 10 books and over 250 articles, most recently God of Becoming & Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology (Jewish Lights). He also recently published Passing Life's Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, The Binding of Isaac, also by Jewish Lights. He ordained the first African rabbi of Uganda and installed him at a ceremony there where he was given the African name "Walusansa Salongo."

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Very helpful and easy to read!
Mary McGinnis
For those who are wanting to become more observant without surrendering to an Orthodox worldview, this is great.
Hadassah Devorah
His book of Torah commentary (The Bedside Torah) is another wonderful book.
Eric Bluestine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jon-Paul Brown (brownjonpaul@hotmail.com) on July 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
I discovered this book while e-mailing the author, Rabbi Artson, regarding concerns of whether or not converting is for me. He told me to read this book. It has been a great help for me as a starting point for my Jewish journey. It helps reassure the reader that you don't have to follow all 613 or so commandments of Jewish living to be a good Jew. Take life one Mitzvah at a time, and always try to improve your Jewish Identity. It carries you through the mitzvahs of visiting the sick, dietary laws, seeking peace, and even compassion to animals. Although some instances of the book I don't agree with (but no fault to Artson, remember -- Two Jews, three opinions), overall, a very good read for the Jew-by-Choice and born Jews wanting to better their walk through life.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eric Bluestine on January 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I can't stand it when reviewers quibble about minor points they don't like and then give 4 or 3 stars to a superb book like this one. Artson's book is organized beautifully. Furthermore, it's highly readable, intelligent, concrete, and thought-provoking. His book of Torah commentary (The Bedside Torah) is another wonderful book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
We are homeschoolers and use this book for our 7th-10th graders. However it would be a wonderful addition to a conversion class, good for anyone seeking to grow in their Jewish observance and Mitzvot, or as a family activity or project.

It is written from a very common sense and positive point of view. What a great addition to anyones library. The open concept of choosing a Mitzvot and working a step by step process through you growth is excellent. It allows for small steps and large ones at all levels.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hadassah Devorah on July 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Generally, I really liked this book. It's a good counter-weight to all the Orthodox "baal t'shuvah" literature out there. For those who are wanting to become more observant without surrendering to an Orthodox worldview, this is great. It is traditional, yet answers modern questions intelligently and sincerely, firmly rooted in Jewish tradition.

Rabbi Shavit Artson discusses a whole host of mitzvot and beautifully interweaves them with a progressive yet Halachic outlook on the enviroment, social issues and human rights. The book provides a step-by-step method to go about taking up extra observances which I found very sensible.

I became observant without this book, but I noticed that my individually developed "methodology of t'shuvah" had many parallels to the very useful tips that the rabbi gives.

One point of criticism: rabbi Shavit Artson describes many powerful, traditional mitzvot in great detail, including shemirat ha lashon (guarding speech) and tallit katan (a small 4-cornered undergarment with tassles worn all day) which both receive emphasis in the Orthodox world. I am glad to see a Conservative rabbi reclaim these powerful tools of connection. However, he is COMPLETE SILENT on one of the 3 pillars of Jewish observance: Taharat haMishpacha - "Family Purity", the laws that regulate a couple's sexual life by requiring abstenance from sex when (and after) a woman is menstruating and her immersion in a kosher mikvah before resuming relations. Yes, it is a daunting mitzvah to explain to the "newly observant", but it is crucial and important and I was disappointed to see the book omit that.

When will Conservative Jews stop being ashamed of Halacha?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bradley Shavit Artson (born 1959) is an American rabbi, author, speaker, and the occupant of the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California, where he is Vice-President. He supervises the Louis and Judith Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and provides educational and religious oversight for Camp Ramah of California. He is also the author of books such as Making a Difference: Putting Jewish Spirituality into Action, One Mitzvah at a Time, Jewish Answers to Real-Life Questions, I Have Some Questions About God, Love Peace and Purse Peace: A Jewish Response to War and Nuclear Annihilation, etc.

He wrote in the "Acknowledgements" section of this 1995 book, "This book is for all who want to explore Jewish observance but are not willing (or able) to immerse themselves instantaneously. The book is unique in two ways: First, it explicitly advocates a gradual approach to Jewish life without abandoning the traditional goals of Judaism... The second innovation offered here is that ... I sought the advice of Jewish laypeople ... These congregants formed a reading group."

The book has chapters such as "What is Jewish Law? What Does It Mean?
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