Gelernter means to answer four fundamental questions from a strictly Jewish perspective: How do we understand our place in the universe? Is physical creation all there is? How can we live our lives as human beings? Does life have a greater goal beyond mere survival? Culling from various Jewish sources, he answers by means of thematic images that resonate throughout a “lived Jewish life.” Those image-themes (and questions coordinate with the principal four) include separation (what is the point of Jewish religious law?), the veil (how can we be in touch with the transcendent?), perfect asymmetry (what role does family play?), and inward pilgrimage (how can Judaism reconcile a just and merciful God with evil?). In the appendix, he answers two further questions, Why believe in God? and What makes Judaism the most important intellectual development in Western history?, and offers a brief treatise on Jewish and Christian ethics. Though written for Jews unsatisfied by “usual approaches” to Judaism, the book may fascinate non-Jews interested in its questions, too, regardless of whether they agree with Gelernter’s conclusions. --June Sawyers
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"'The Jewish experience, as Gelernter shows, echoes profoundly across the wider experience of humanity. Judaism itself is a wide-ranging book about the beliefs, practices and philosophy of the world's first monotheistic religion - a book that Jews and non-Jews alike will find well worth reading.' (Jay Lefkowitz, Wall Street Journal) 'In this brief but intellectually packed book, Gelernter attempts to present Judaism as a total structure... that can lead to understanding the pressing questions of human existence... Challenging, often exhilarating, richly learned, intensely personal, and tough-minded, Judaism offers a passionate picture of Judaism.' (Maron L. Waxman, Jewish Book World)"