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Turning Judaism Outwards: A Biography of the Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson Paperback – May 29, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Innumerable details are integrated into an account that brings to life the Rebbe's teachings and influence, without hiding the paradoxes and controversies that were raised by his career. "-Lawrence H. Schiffman, Edelman Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University
"A masterful work of scholarship, beautifully written, with new insight into the life of an introverted, brilliant scholar who created the largest and most influential outreach program in Jewish history."-Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO Orthodox Union Kosher

About the Author

RABBI CHAIM MILLER, was educated at the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School in London, England and studied Medical Science at Leeds University. At the age of twenty-one, he first began to explore his Jewish roots in full-time Torah study. Less than a decade later, he published the best-selling Kol Menachem Chumash—Gutnick Edition, which made over a thousand complex discourses of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe easily accessible to the layman. His 2011 compilation, the Lifestyle Books Torah, Five Books of Moses—Slager Edition was distributed to thousands of servicemen and women in the U.S. Army. In 2013, he was chosen by the Jewish Press as one of sixty “Movers and Shakers” in the Jewish world. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Chani and seven children.

"Wonderfully written as well as intensely thought provoking, Turning Judaism Outward is the most in-depth treatment of the life of the Rebbe ever written. The author has managed to successfully reconstruct the history of one of the most important Jewish religious leaders of the 20th century, whose life has up to now been shrouded in mystery. A compassionate, engaging biography, this magnificent work will open up many new avenues of research."

-Dana Evan Kaplan, author, Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal; editor, The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism

"In contrast to other recent biographies of the Rebbe, Chaim Miller has availed himself of all the relevant textual sources and archival documents to recount the details of one of the more fascinating religious leaders of the twentieth century. Through the voice of the author, even the most seemingly trivial aspect of the Rebbe's life is teeming with interest.... I am confident that readers of Miller's book will derive great pleasure and receive much knowledge from this splendid and compelling portrait of the Rebbe."

-Elliot R. Wolfson, Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: KOL Menachem (May 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934152366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934152362
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #830,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Zachary L. Grayson on June 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
I believe this book may become the accepted biography by the larger world. It is respectful and well documented and captures much of what was exceptional about the Rebbe.

There are a few mistakes such as referring to the former President of the American Bar Association who represented Chabad in the famous book trial, Jerry Shestack, as "Joe" Shestak. I think it vastly underplays JJ Hecht and some others but it is well researched and documented.

It only falls apart, in my view, at the very end dealing with the will - it doesn't mention the second will - and puts too positive a spin on the Moshiach issue, focusing on the Rebbe's opposition to identifying him as the Moshiach rather than addressing the ambiguity and the reality of what occurred in the last years or the split within the secretariat regarding the post-stroke care and presentaion of the Rebbe such as the attempts at coronation are vastly underplayed. These are glaring primarily because of the relatively even handed and in depth treatment of all of the disputes in the earlier years. Perhaps it is too soon to address these issues but it undercuts the book.

Overall it captures the Rebbe's beliefs and philosophy. It addresses the Satmar and Shach disputes but again falls apart on the Moshiach disputes in the larger community.

I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who want to get a better understanding of the Rebbe. It does have some very interesting anecdotes including the Rebbe's role in developing the US food stamp program.

The earlier attempts at a biography of the Rebbe simply do not compare. In short, this is an amazing biography of an amazing individual.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book after reading several (attempted) biographies on the Rebbe, and I was skeptical whether such a job could ever be done.
What Chaim Miller has done has really surprised me.
Not only is the text lengthy and informative, but it's so well elucidated and thorough, while remaining easy to read.
He treats the Rebbe with reverence and veneration, while still staying honest and loyal to the job of a biographical author.

I not only would recommend this book to read, I would tell everyone to go out and buy for their friends and families, as well as anyone who was touched in some way by this great man and the message which he gave to the world.
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Format: Paperback
In this book Rabbi Miller combines the intellectual prowess of a true scholar, the rigour of a professional historiographer and the passion of a Chassid. He turns the daunting task of writing the biography of The Rebbe into an inspirational and riveting read that lays the foundation for a serious conversation on the greatest Jewish leader of our times.
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Format: Paperback
WOW!! This biography on the Rebbe is truly captivating and I enjoyed every minute of it! I am amazed at the amount of in depth information Chaim Miller managed to include throughout the book whilst citing it all... A real work of art!!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rabbi Miller's book is very well researched, scholarly but readable and compelling. It is the most informative of the 3 recent biographies. After reading all 3, I can clearly say that from this book I learned more about The Rebbe, gained more insight into who and what he was (and wasn't), and left with more admiration, compared to the other 2. This book is not as personal as Rabbi Steinsalz book'. It is not as fawning as Rabbi Telushkin's book. It is as objective as one can get when one is an admitted chasid of The Rebbe. There is fact and detail blended seamlessly with the magic of a true tzaddik. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I've read all the biographies on the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and this is hands-down the best one. Unlike the other biographies in the market, Rabbi Miller's is clear, concise, and follows a linear, logical timeline from the Rebbe's earliest years until the time of his passing and his legacy. The in-depth discussion of the Rebbe's "early" years before he became Rebbe and right afterward are without parallel in the English language. A must-read for anyone with slightest interest in the amazing life of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent. IMHO best of the crop of recent bios of the Rebbe (of blessed memory). Reads like a pageturner novel. Filled with wisdom and inspiration. Sort of ducks the Mashiach issue, but less than the others. BUT -- the Kindle version did NOT allow for back/forth with the footnotes. It was like getting only half the book.
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By Darcy on June 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although it took a while to adjust to The Rebbe being called by his first name, the contents, sheer research and readability are incredible. Rabbi Chaim has again filled a void of inspiration and information, making it available the masses. It is clear that hours of study and avid personal interest have gone into this unique portrayal of The Rebbe. Thank you for giving us another angle into this hugely important personality of our times. Much continued success! RDW
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