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Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1580233125
ISBN-10: 1580233120
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rabbi Schwarz affirms in his introduction that his book explores the relationship between Judaism, social justice, and the identity of American Jews. He chronicles the organized Jewish community and its public-affairs agenda from the end of World War II in 1945 through the early years of the twenty-first century. The term "organized Jewish community," he explains, refers to the institutions under the umbrella of the national Jewish federation system that engage in fundraising from the community and allocate money to support local and overseas Jewish needs, as well as projects in Israel. Schwarz divides the book into four parts. Part 1 probes the question, what is the purpose of Judaism? Part 2 offers an interpretation of the five books of Moses and seven rabbinic principles. Part 3 looks at how the Jewish community places itself in the American public arena, and part 4 chronicles new developments in the American Jewish community "that point in the direction of a Jewish renaissance." An engrossing commentary deserving to be read. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"One of the most accessible books written on Judaism and social justice…. Provides the kind of compelling language and story that can lead to a closer connection with Jewish life."
Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

“A bold vision. Will particularly resonate with today's young Jews who are seeking new definitions of Jewish identity and meaning that are both uniquely Jewish and universally human. A significant contribution for anyone who cares about the future of the Jewish people and our imperative to repair our broken world.”
Lynn Schusterman, president, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation

“An original analysis of the contemporary American Jewish condition, but, even more importantly, an exciting prescription for a Judaism that combines a commitment to justice and righteousness with kedusha, 'holy apartness’.”
Rabbi Irving Greenberg, president, Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation

“Breaks new ground. Connects the deep roots of social justice with Jewish thought and the American experience … in a voice that awakens and summons us. Will enable non-Jews to appreciate the Jewish passion for freedom that we as Jews connect to equality and justice.”
David Cohen, cofounder, Advocacy Institute; former president, Common Cause

“A thoughtful, important and timely book. Not only does it help to describe and explain today’s exciting revival of social justice activism among Jews, it is quite likely going to accelerate that phenomenon.… Helps to redefine Judaism’s moral center in a way that is both clear and compelling.”
Rabbi Rachel Cowan, executive director, Institute for Jewish Spirituality

“Provides a long awaited prophetic vision for the nexus between Jewish tradition, culture and commitment to social justice. Rich and nuanced … combines an informative history of Jewish activism in the worlds of political and social action, and a persuasive reading of Jewish texts, arguing for their relevance as a source of guidance for Jews and for the world…. A must read.”
David Gordis, PhD, president and professor of rabbinics, Hebrew College, Boston


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights; 1 edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580233120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580233125
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.2 x 22.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,523,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the political to the spiritual, Rabbi Schwarz provides an incisive study of Judaism from the perspective of social conscience and ethics, proposed as the "Sinai impulse". A good study and a good read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rabbi Schwarz has done an excellent job explaining the origins of the connection between Judaism and social justice, reviewing the history of it (mainly in the US, mostly in the last ~100 years) and in analyzing where the (American) Jewish community is today in regards to it. He mostly focuses on the American Jewish community and the US scene. His framing of the Jewish community's two poles (Sinai and Exodus) is an excellent way to discuss this topic and its history

I disagree with another reviewer who refers to the elephant in the room when referring to Israel and its behavior in the West Bank and Gaza and that Rabbi Schwarz does not discuss it in this book. This is a fair topic for a book but I don't see that it must be in this book. The lack of coverage of this topic does not IMO take away from the this book or diminish its value.
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Format: Hardcover
Written by Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World asks the questions: Why are Jews so often involved in causes central to justice, equality, human rights, and peace? Are they influenced by religion, history, sociology, or some other factor? Judaism and Justice examines the relationship between Judaism, social justice, and the Jewish identity of American Jews. From core values of the Rabbinic tradition, to the long history of Jewish struggles for civil rights, to the core and sometimes conflicting impulses to both survive (Exodus) and help the world become in accordance with a higher moral standard (Sinai), Judaism and Justice examines history with a keen account of missteps and falterings among Jews as well as their positive contributions to world history. Of especial interest is the chapter concerning Israel, and how the relationship of identification between American Jews and Israel has had to change in recent years, and is almost certainly not done changing. Highly recommended.
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