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How Would God Really Vote: A Jewish Rebuttal to David Klinghoffer's Conservative Polemic Paperback – September 1, 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Reading David Klinghoffer made my head explode. This work comes as a timely antidote. --Reinhold Niebuhr's Post-Mortem Philosophical Review, September 2008

From the Author

What is it about David Klinghoffer's book, How Would God Vote? Why The Bible Commands You To be a Conservative, that demands a refutation? Why couldn't we, two traditional Jewish men with families and jobs, leave well enough alone?

Klinghoffer claims to to lay out a traditional Jewish theology of fealty to Bible Belt morality, and invites traditional Jews to embrace conservative values like useless government, restrictions on contraception and the idea that smoking is good for you.

You have to admire Klinghoffer's ambition, trying to sell the conservative package as Torah from Sinai. The problem: It's not, and we find intolerable the notion that the descendants of labor unionist and freedom marchers are being urged into the Moral Majority with pseudo-biblical arguments that would have made our sages wince.

We hope we have succeeded in conveying a sense that Torah--understood broadly to include rabbinic commentary--is not a conservative manifesto. Far from it. Where Klinghoffer (like Pat Robertson and company) sees the Bible as a call to wage a culture war in America, as a cudgel to pound everyone into his own image, we see the Torah as a tree of life, offering fragrant succor and a variety of enriching flavors, flowering like Aaron's staff.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Ben Yehuda Press (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193473019X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934730195
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,146,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Secular and religious individuals with a liberal political bent who are uncomfortable with David Klinghoffer's conservative polemic, "How Would God Vote," will welcome the piercing rebuttal found in "How Would God Really Vote?" by Larry Yudelson and Yori Yanover.

The slim volume (143 pages) uses traditional Jewish texts to seek insight into God's opinions and admonitions on ten current hot social issues: abortion, capital punishment, contraception, divorce, evolution, gay marriage, health care, illegal wiretapping, religious wars, and women's suffrage. With wry humor, deep personal commitment, and broad familiarity with Jewish (and occasionally non Jewish) sources, the two "Y's Guys" refute Klinghoffer with authoritative texts and opinions from biblical, rabbinic, Talmudic, and even 20th century (CE) Orthodox Jewish giants.

The authors' purpose, as stated in chapter one, is to convey "a sense that Torah -understood broadly to include rabbinic commentary - is not a conservative manifesto."
The authors never make holding the Conservative position on any of these issues to be unGod like. However, they point out time and time again that Klinghoffer's reasoning is not based on a "yiddishe kop" (a traditional Jewish mind set) or a Jewish approach to the Bible, fully understood, from a Jewish perspective.

Jewish readers with a sound grounding in Jewish texts and thought will find few surprises but several chuckles at points made with deft humor. Jewish readers with little or no exposure to classic and current traditional rabbinic discourse may be astonished by the contemporary application of age old insights. Although one might assume the book is written for a Jewish audience, short footnotes and parenthetical translations of Jewish (and Yiddish) terms make it accessible to all readers who appreciate serious political issues presented with knowledge and wit.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this thoughtful response to Klinghoffer. In this insightful text, the authors approach modern issues from a biblical standpoint, exploring both well-known biblical passages and Talmudic teachings to give a more rounded overview of how biblical ethics may apply to issues faced by modern society. The writing style is engaging, intelligent, and at times ironically humorous, delivering a reading experience that is both interesting and entertaining. The authors steer clear of "preachy" rhetoric, instead presenting their case from a standpoint of intellectual analysis, making this text appropriate for the religious reader and the secular reader alike. Highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
This is a powerful book that destroys the myth that we have to choose between being religious conservatives or liberal atheists. All the better that it is both funny and scholarly... a great combination that makes for an easy read. The topics covered will be just as important in 2010 or 2012 as they were before the 2008 election. And since the sources are largely Torah and Talmud, the fundamental arguments will not become dated.
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A very good book refuting too christina-y distortion of Judaism!
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