Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals

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Simon and Schuster, Jun 30, 2008 - Religion - 672 pages
19 Reviews
What happens at a synagogue service? What are the rules for keeping kosher? How do I light the Hanukah candles? What is in the Hebrew Bible? What do the Jewish holidays signify? What should I be teaching my children about being Jewish?

A landmark reference, here is an indispensable one-volume guide to the religious traditions, everyday practices, philosophical beliefs, and historical foundations of Judaism -- everything you need to know about being Jewish. In Essential Judaism, George Robinson has created the accessible compendium that he sought when he rediscovered his Jewish roots as an adult. Robinson illuminates the Jewish life cycle at every stage, and lays out many fascinating aspects of Judaism -- the Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, the evolution of Hasidism, and much more -- while keeping a firm focus on the different paths to living a good Jewish life in today's world.
  

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A nice overview from what I remember after 3 years. - Goodreads
The book is well-written and easy to read. - Goodreads
A thoroughly good and useful introductory text. - Goodreads
As such, this book is also a great reference tool. - Goodreads
It could be improved with some drawings or photographs. - Goodreads
Writing it must have been a formidable task. - Goodreads

Review: Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals

User Review  - Amy - Goodreads

I truly never finished this book after having it checked out for nearly a year! It's so dense, it's really best served as a reference book. Unless you're converting to Judaism or a religious studies ... Read full review

Review: Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals

User Review  - Shoshi - Goodreads

A good book to find general information about Judaism from A to Z. Good for non-Jews and Jews who want to find their way back to the 'tribe'. Read full review

Contents

APPENDIX
1
The Role of the Rabbi
15
The Daily Services
22
The Shabbat Services
39
Liturgical Music
47
The Evolution of the Prayer Book
53
Havurah
65
The Synagogue
71
O You Scribes and Pharisees
319
How the Mishnah Works
329
The First Great Academy
337
How the Gemara Works 343
343
A Page of Talmud
350
CHAPTER 7
360
Safer Yetzirah
366
Early Kabbalah and the Ashlcenazi Hasidim
368

Shul Etiquette
73
The Festivals
80
The High Holy Days
92
Sukkot
101
Shemini Atzeret
108
Tu bShevat 1 15
115
Counting the Omer
125
Tisha bAv
131
CHAPTER 3
138
Brit Milah 145
144
Pidyon HaBen
151
Bar Bat Mitzvah
157
70
170
8 1
181
The Afterlife
192
Whos Counting?
201
Why Observe?
219
Opponents of Halakhah
229
Tilzkun OIam Repairing the World 243
244
CHAPTER 5
257
The Torah
264
Torah Comes First
278
The Role of the Prophets
288
107
291
Reading the Book
299
Who Wrote the Hebrew Bible?
306
The Tree of Life
375
Lurianic Kabbalah
381
Hasidic Mysticism
388
Gershom Scholem and the Study of Mysticism
395
The Lasting Influence of jewish Mysticism
401
Maimonides c 1135 C E 1204 C E
415
judah HaLevi 1075 C E 1 141 C E
421
Franz Rosenzweig 1886 C E 1929 C E
433
Martin Buber 1878 C E l965 C E 440
445
CHAPTER 9
458
The Jewish Question
470
Herzl and His Successors
483
The Evolution of AntiSemitism
489
Exiles Return
495
The Temptations of Assimilation
501
SOME KEY DOCUMENTS
505
APPENDIX 5
511
Anniversary of the Zionist Movement
515
Reconstructionism
528
Orthodoxy
534
APPENDIX 2
541
APPENDIX 3
551
HOW DO I KNOW ITS KOSHER?
557
INDEX
619
xxiii
623
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

George Robinson is the recipient of a Simon Rockower Award for excellence in Jewish journalism from the American Jewish Press Association. A member of the National Book Critics circle, his writing on Jewish issues appears frequently in "The New York Times", "Washington Post", and "Newsday".

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