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Jewish Literacy Revised Ed: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 17, 2008


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Jewish Literacy Revised Ed: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History + The Jewish Holidays + Living a Jewish Life, Updated and Revised Edition: Jewish Traditions, Customs, and Values for Today's Families
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Revised edition (June 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061374989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061374982
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A widely known spiritual leader and scholar, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin is the author of eleven influential Jewish books, including A Code of Jewish Ethics; Words That Hurt, Words That Heal; Biblical Literacy; and four novels. He lives in New York City and lectures throughout the United States.


More About the Author

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, spiritual leader and scholar, is the acclaimed author of nine other nonfiction books, including The Book of Jewish Values, The Golden Land: The Story of Jewish Immigration to America, and Jewish Literacy, the most widely read book on Judaism of the past two decades. He is a senior associate of CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, serves on the board of the Jewish Book Council, and is the rabbi of the Los Angeles-based Synagogue for the Performing Arts. He lives with his family in New York City and lectures regularly throughout the United States.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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A very well written book.
J. Brumberger
A few weeks later, every time I'd open the book, I'd find that I'd already read that random page.
Michael M
It's a good book for Jews and non-jews who want to learn more about Judaism.
Boxorice

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Ronald W. Satz on July 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This volume is commonly given to Jewish Confirmands, and with good reason. It covers, in a compact and well-written fashion, Jewish history, religion, and culture. There are 15 parts: 1) Bible, 2) The Second Commonwealth, the Mishna, and the Talmud, 3) Early Medieval Period: Under Islam and Christianity, 4) Late Medieval Period, 5) Modern Period--Western and Eastern Europe, 6) Zionism and Israel, 7) The Holocaust, 8) American-Jewish Life, 9) Soviet Jewry, 10) Antisemitism, 11) Jewish Texts, 12) Jewish Ethics and Basic Beliefs, 13) The Hebrew Calendar and Jewish Holidays, 14) Life Cycle, and 15) Synagogue and Prayers. This volume is much easier to read than an alphabetically-organized encyclopedia.

The author is a member of the Modern Orthodox movement (which combines traditional Talmud study with secular study). His work treats quite fairly the three largest denominations of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform), but the section on Mordecai Kaplan and Reconstructionist Judaism is rather weak--a much better summation is given by Emanuel S. Goldsmith in the Preface to Dynamic Judaism (pp. 15-30). Humanistic Judaism isn't treated at all.

The typography is very good; I found just two typos (p. 345, "statue" instead of "statute"; p. 364, "Orthodox rabbits" instead of "Orthodox rabbis"). The index is fine, but there is no glossary of terms. One glaring omission in the history section is a table of famous, accomplished Jews in the areas of mathematics, science, engineering, business, philosophy, music, and sports. (The history section is really very gloomy and disturbing; it ignores the lives of many high-achieving and happy Jews.) Leon Trotsky is covered, but Ayn Rand isn't! The section on theodicy discusses supernaturalism and atheism, but not transnaturalism.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By therosen VINE VOICE on July 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book brings Jewish education alive. The title and size of the tome are intimidating, the reading is not. The book is an easy read that can be the either the basis of a Jewish self-education program, or easy answers to random questions about Judaism. Rabbi Tehushkin successfully makes Judaism's essence come alive. This is no mean feat, as most readers come to the book trying to undo years of sleeping through religious school.

It's a fantastic addition to the library of any Jew or student of religion.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Hulting on December 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The original version was a well-acclaimed research book, and the revision adds some updating material that was missing from the original. It is not as good as others regarding Jewish holidays, but its other aspects more than compensate. It is helpful for both Jews and non-Jews regarding Jewish life, Jewish history, and Jewish religion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael M on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book five years ago, when I was first becoming religious, and now, five years later, after more than three years in yeshiva (Jewish seminary), I'm still quoting this book.

It's a real page-turner. I would open the book to a random page, read one of the short one-to-two page chapters, and let that be that. A few weeks later, every time I'd open the book, I'd find that I'd already read that random page. With hundreds of two-page-long chapters, it's a great book to read when you have five minutes and need something quick.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth H. Smith on April 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book goes deeper and broader than a "sampler". It is very well written and covers range is phenomenal. If you are looking to deepen your understanding of the Jewish religion and broaden your understanding of and capability to preach from the Old Testament, I recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keisha Cosand on November 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I heard Rabbi Telushkin speak on NPR and became curious about his book. I love the clarity of this book--it flows and the narrative style is engaging. I've studied the Bible most of my life, but he makes the Old Testament come to life. I'm a Christian and am very interested in Jewish culture and history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Schlecht on April 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a big book, so plan reading for a while.

Rabbi Telushkin does an excellent of job explaining scripture and how it relates to Jewish beliefs.

Highly recommended for anyone wanting to learn about the Jewish faith.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mechans on March 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
He write clearly and explains the most obscure bits of judeasim in a manner almost anyone could understand, without feeling like your being talked down to. I am sure there are others who can explain his brilliance more adequately.
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