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Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals Paperback – September 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
George Robinson's Essential Judaism is by far the best of the lot. Subtitled "A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals," the book is indeed that and a lot more.
In the course of its 650 pages, the book lucidly explores Jewish worship and practice, sacred literature (Torah, Talmud, other rabbinical works), Kabbalah and mysticism, holidays, life cycle events, dietary laws, and Jewish history and denominationalism.
The treatment Robinson gives such topics as the prayer service, the blessings of daily life, and the evolution of contemporary Judaism is surprisingly deep for a work of this kind.
In particular, his chapters on the mitzvot ("Living a Jewish Life") and non-Rabbinic Jewish thought ("The Philosophers: The Continuing Evolution of Jewish Thought"), stand out not only for their all-around comprehensiveness, but also for their originality of ideas and presentation.
Essential Judaism is a well-organized and well-indexed book that can be enjoyed read from beginning to end, dipped into arbitrarily, and kept nearby as a handy reference. In just the month or so I've had it, I've already had several occasions to use it in this last manner, to answer questions or explain references I've stumbled over in other books, and it hasn't failed me yet.
Most books like this are written by rabbis, and some have particular agendas, ideological or religious.Read more ›
Beginning with a chapter on prayer and ritual, it becomes apparent that the reader will need to familiarize himself with many Hebrew words to appreciate Robinson's discourse. There's no way around it, but it's well worth the effort. The book is so thoroughly interesting that, regardless of the language and length (500 pages plus appendices), it may not seem like an effort at all. Robinson's scholarship is generally exceptional.
This reader was quickly struck with how fluid Judaism has proven to be. As the author states, "A people's ideas are informed by their history, and vice versa. . . and a lot of this book is about that relationship. . . There are some who would have you believe that Judaism is a transhistorical, immutable system of belief, but that just isn't true.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
FANTASTIC! Im using this in my homeschool schedule. Great information.Published 1 month ago by Charlie
I read this as an introduction to learn about my heritage. I learned as an adult that my Grandmother had been Jewish but chose to assimilate into American life for an unspecified... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chassidy N Strege
Exceptionally complete and very well organized. All you could possibly want to know about Jewish practices and much of the essential history and summary of the sacred writings,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by lawrence kittiver