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Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish Paperback – August 14, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
A common thread running through the sixty-two narratives is the clear and distinct separation between being Jewish culturally and Jewish in a religious sense. With few exceptions, nearly everyone mentioned letting Jewish ritual (davening, Shabbat, synagogue, keeping kosher) go by the wayside after bar/bat mitzvah (if they did indeed make it that far). All mentioned the inherent pride in being Jewish, the attraction to other Jewish friends and spouses, and embracing the Jewish fundamental ideals of tikkun olam (healing the world) and tzedakah (charity). Some mentioned the Jewish drive as an extra push for success, many mentioned disturbing incidents of anti-Semitism from their childhoods, and many, although they aren't particularly observant themselves or married non-Jewish spouses, want to make sure that their children grow up with the rituals, language, and culture of Judaism.Read more ›
I was surprised at how many prominent Jews felt disconnected from their Jewishness. Many had married non-Jews and even though many were raised religiously, they had abandoned the rituals. While reading this book, I saw that many of these people were merely a reflection of myself. I, too, was raised quite conservatively, attended Hebrew school from third grade until my Bat Mitzvah three days a week including Saturday school, learned to read and write in Hebrew, and observed all Holy Days. The minute I had my Bat Mitzvah, I left Judaism altogether for many years. I married a non-Jew. I did have a Jewish wedding, and had a baby girl, whom is identified as a Jew. However, after reading Leon Wieseltier, his mention of "slacker Jews" really shook me back into reality. He helped me noticed that I must be a slacker Jew because, although I do want my daughter to be accustomed to the Jewish laws and religion, it's my mother who takes her to services while I stay at home. It's my mother who invites us over for Shabbos dinner and says the prayers over bread and wine. I'm doing nothing.
This book has made me question my own Jewish identity; it made me think about how Jewish I want to be; it made me realized how alienated I have become within my own religion. I have decided to take a stance and be a part of my daughter's Jewish upbringing.Read more ›
The approach enabled a substantial book which is accessible to a wide swath of readers. Even without being particularly religious myself, I was unable to put the book down because it is very well-written. It becomes immediately obvious to readers that time was put into crafting all the very personal essays.
Editor Abigail Pogrebin has written for New York magazine. Her mother Letty Cottin Pogrebin was a founding editor of Ms. Magazine. Pogrebin clearly undertook this book project with the intent to produce something substantial.
A 'fluff piece' approach theoretically could have been undertaken considering her general thesis of exploring the dimensions of a religion-culture. Therefore, I am roundly impressed that Pogrebin instead selected contributors ranging from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Laura Schlessinger and Leonard Nimoy. It undoubtedly produced more work, but also produced the awesome book I have read.
The best anthologies have essays reflecting the book theme---rather than echo the editor's own particular perspective of approaching a theme. This gives anthologies the critical depth needed to avoid being a personal indulgence and instead impact society. While it is easier for the editor to publish their 'friends', readers get bored by an anthology whose essays are clones.
I highly recommend this book for all audiences.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pogrebin is an excellent interviewer, and she draws great nuggets of information from people such as Joan Rivers, Richard Dreyfuss and Harold Prince, among others. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jonathan Groner
Really interesting book about well known Jews and their upbringings in Judaism. Wish the author did a book 2 with more interviews.Published 1 month ago by Berta
Sixty-one of the most accomplished Jews in America speak intimately about how they feel about being Jewish, the influence of their heritage, the weight and pride of their history,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting book includes interviews with celebrities about their feelings about their Jewishness. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Shirley Friend
INTERESTING READING. BOUGHT IT BECAUSE I HAD JUST SEEN THE SHOW. ENJOYED THE SHOW; THE BOOK WAS FAIR.Published 12 months ago by BARBARA F. AMES