Friendly text makes the teaching of Torah accessible to everyoneThe Bedside Torah guides you into the dramatic and spiritually riveting world of Torah. While weaving together ancient, medieval, and modern views, it offers three different and original commentaries on each of the 49 Torah portions. Written in a friendly and accessible tone, it includes a glossary of terms and a short introduction at the beginning of each portion, explaining its most salient characteristics.
Whether you are thinking about studying the Bible for the first time or you’re simply curious about its history and contents, you will find everything you need in Essential Torah. George Robinson, author of the acclaimed Essential Judaism, begins by recounting the various theories of the origins of the Torah and goes on to explain its importance as the core element in Jewish belief and practice. He discusses the basics of Jewish theology and Jewish history as they are derived from the Torah, and he outlines how the Dead Sea Scrolls and other archaeological discoveries have enhanced our understanding of the Bible. He introduces us to the vast literature of biblical commentary, chronicles the evolution of the Torah’s place in the synagogue service, offers an illuminating discussion of women and the Bible, and provides a study guide as a companion for individual or group Bible study. In the book’s centerpiece, Robinson summarizes all fifty-four portions that make up the Torah and gives us a brilliant distillation of two thousand years of biblical commentaries–from the rabbis of the Mishnah and the Talmud to medieval commentators such as Rashi, Maimonides, and ibn Ezra to contemporary scholars such as Nahum Sarna, Nechama Leibowitz, Robert Alter, and Everett Fox. This extraordinary volume–which includes a listing of the Torah reading cycles, a Bible time line, glossaries of terms and biblical commentators, and a bibliography–will stand as the essential sourcebook on the Torah for years to come.
From time immemorial Jews have been studying the assigned Sidrah (Torah lesson) every week of the year. Jews study the Sidrah beginning Shabbat afternoon, when the Sidrah for the following week is read in the synagogue. A favorite time to study has always been at the Friday night Shabbat dinner table. As soon as all the prayers and rituals are chanted and performed, the delicious Shabbat meal has been consumed, and Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals) has been chanted and perhaps several zemirot (Shabbat hymns) have been sung with gusto a traditional family will turn to the parshah, as it is familiarly known. If they are more advanced they may open a Humash. Or they may have before them a copy of Sidrah Sparks. Serious discussion is a lost art at the family dinner table, and Torah study is surely not common among most families today. Using Sidrah Sparks is a wonderful way to revive the inspiring and enlightening Jewish custom of turning our attention to serious discussion, and to create opportunities for Jewish educational enrichment. Using traditional Torah texts to share our ideas, our philosophies, our values and our feelings is a wonderful way to enrich our minds and spirits, and also our closest relationships.
Despite the dwindling Jewish community in Tupper Lake and the impending closing of the synagogue, twelve-year-old Faith discovers her spiritual identity as the acting rabbi tutors her for her upcoming bat-mitzvah.
A re-examination of Jewish scripture and teachings about disabilities Few people are untouched by the issue of disability, whether personally or through a friend or relative. Jewish Perspectives on Theology and the Human Experience of Disability shares moving insights from around the world and across the broad spectrum of Judaism on how and why the Jewish community is incomplete without the presence and participation of the disabled. Authors representing each of the three main movements of Judaism—Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform—examine theology, scripture, ethics, practical theology, religious education, and personal experience to understand and apply the lessons and wisdom of the past to issues of the present. Authors from Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia reflect on their theological understandings of specific disabilities and on disability as a whole. Jewish Perspectives on Theology and the Human Experience of Disability re-examines tradition, teachings, and beliefs to shatter stereotypes of Judaism and common interpretations of scripture. This unique book addresses several disabilities (blindness, deafness, intellectual disabilities, autism, learning disabilities), and a wide range of topics, including human rights and disabilities, Jewish laws concerning niddah, misconceptions about disabilities in the Hebrew Bible, Jewish community programs to include people with disabilities, and the need to educate American Jews about Jewish genetic diseases. Jewish Perspectives on Theology and the Human Experience of Disability examines: three methods that allow Jews who are blind to participate in the Torah service the spiritual needs of people with learning disabilities the attitude of Jewish Law toward marriage and parenthood on people with intellectual disabilities how the rabbis of the Mishnah incorporated Greco-Roman beliefs about the connections between hearing, speech, and intelligence into Jewish law a sampling of opinions issued on matters concerning disabilities by the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis how the Jewish sages have made participation by people with disabilities possible and much more Jewish Perspectives on Theology and the Human Experience of Disability also includes reviews of Judaism and Disability: Portrayals in Ancient Texts from the Tanach through the Bavil and Disability in Jewish Law, as well as comprehensive resource collections. This book is an essential read for clergy and lay leaders involved in the support of people with disabilities, for the families of people with disabilities, and for anyone working with the disabled.
The Artist's Torah is an uplifting and down-to-earth guide to the creative process, wide open to longtime artists and first-time dabblers, to people of every religious background--or none--and to every creative medium. In this book, you'll find a yearlong cycle of weekly meditations on a life lived artistically, grounded in ancient Jewish wisdom and the wisdom of artists, composers, writers, and choreographers from the past and present. You'll explore the nature of the creative process--how it begins, what it's for, what it asks of you, how you work your way to truth and meaning, what you do when you get blocked, what you do when you're done--and encounter questions that will help you apply the meditations to your own life and work. Above all, The Artist's Torah teaches us that creativity is a natural and important part of the human spirit, a bright spark that, week after week, this book will brighten.
The Essential Jewish Stories contains more than 300 stories selected from every period of Jewish history and from every Jewish teaching tradition -- narratives, anecdotes, metaphors, analogies, folktales, and fantasies. Every story is elegantly retold to emphasize its relevance for our times. The Essential Jewish Stories is arranged thematically for easy access. It includes three indices that make it conveniently simple to find just the right story. Sources are provided for every narrative and many are accompanied by special notes. Perfect for clergy of all faiths, for teachers, for storytellers, and for parents -- for all who wish to initiate discussions of tradition and values with children, friends, and community -- and certainly for those of us who simply love to share a good story. Second Revised Edition with Preface by Dr. Henry Roubicek, author of So, What's Your Story? Discovering the Story in You "The Jewish tradition, perhaps more than most others, has relied on the power of its narratives to maintain the continuity of its peoples at least since the Diaspora. Rossel, in this substantial anthology, has brought together the stories he has used as a rabbi, drawing from scripture, Midrash, folktale, and literary sources. Indexed by festivals, characters, and concepts, this is a rich resource. VERDICT For readers and preachers in both Jewish and Christian traditions." -- LIBRARY JOURNAL "For thousands of years, Jewish scholars have used stories and legends, Midrash, to interpret and explain core religious texts such as the Torah and the Talmud and to impart values to their students. Rossel, a Reform rabbi and educator who loves these stories, has collected more than 300 of them for this book. He has "re-imagined and rewritten" each of the stories to make them accessible to a contemporary audience. He has also done extensive research to track down the original sources of each tale. The notes and the bibliography at the end of the book provide these references for interested readers." -- American Library Association, BOOKLIST "Seymour Rossel has gathered a lifetime's knowledge and study of Jewish stories into one inspiring collection. He draws widely from rabbinic texts, kabbalistic teachings, and Hasidic tales. His notes and sources greatly assist the reader and enrich the book. This one belongs in every Jewish library." -- Howard Schwartz, author of Tree of Souls "Rossel presents a rich collection of the narratives of Judaism, a religion that tells the truth in narrative form. A whole new generation is invited to join the story-tradition." -- Jacob Neusner, author of Judaism: The Basics "For anyone who has ever asked 'what's the story?' Seymour Rossel's book is a God-send. It is filled with stories from the entire sweep of Jewish history -- tales that will move you to tears and to laughter. We have needed this deeply rich resource for quite some time." -- Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, author of Putting God on the Guest List "Through these stories we can understand the Jewish mind at work. This is a book for your bedside, for the classroom and synagogue, and above all for your soul. It is a book for all Jews, scholars and those beginning their Jewish journeys, young and old alike, and for those who would come close to the Jewish essence. You will be nourished for years to come." -- Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, author of The Family Prayerbook
Discusses various issues in contemporary Jewish theology. Ch. 2 (p. 25-53), "The Valley of the Shadow", is dedicated to the theological interpretation of the Holocaust. The Holocaust poses several problems to Jewish thought: Is God present in the post-Auschwitz world? Did the Holocaust renew the Covenant or did it survive intact? May the Holocaust be interpreted in terms of punishment, or is its meaning different, maybe inexplicable, in the extant categories of human ethics? May the Holocaust be regarded as a necessary transitional point on the way to the Jewish state? What lessons may be extracted from the Holocaust? Presents various solutions of modern-day Jewish theologians. Argues that the only lesson of the Holocaust is the reality of a common Jewish fate.
A comprehensive collection of texts that maps out the field of Critical Men's Studies in Religion. It contains 35 key texts that engage with the position of men in society and church, the ideals of masculinity as engendered by religious discourse, and alternative trajectories of being in the world, whether spiritually, relationally or sexually.
For centuries, Jews have turned to the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer upon experiencing a loss. This groundbreaking book explores what the recitation of Kaddish has meant specifically to women. Did they find the consolation, closure, and community they were seeking? How did saying Kaddish affect their relationships with God, with prayer, with the deceased, and with the living? With courage and generosity, 52 authors from around the world reflect upon their experiences of mourning. They share their relationships with the family members they lost and what it meant to move on; how they struggled to balance the competing demands of child rearing, work, and grief; what they learned about tradition and themselves; and the disappointments and particular challenges they confronted as women. The collection shares viewpoints from diverse perspectives and backgrounds and examines what it means to heal from loss and to honor memory in family relationships, both loving and fraught with pain. It is a precious record of women searching for their place within Jewish tradition and exploring the connections that make human life worthwhile.
One Hundred Philistine Foreskins centers on the life of Temima Ba'alatOv, known also as Ima Temima, or Mother Temima, a charismatic woman rabbi of extraordinary spiritual power and learning, and an utterly original interpreter of the Hebrew Bible. Temima is revered as a guru with prophetic, even messianic powers—one who dares to raise her woman’s “naked” voice even in the face of extreme hostility by the traditional establishment. Moving between two worlds—Temima as a child in Brooklyn and Temima as an adult in Jerusalem—the story reveals the forces that shaped her, including the early loss of her mother; her spiritual and intellectual awakening; her complex relationship with her father, a ritual slaughterer; her forced marriage; her “ascent” to Israel; and her intense romantic involvements with charismatic men who launch her toward her destiny as a renowned woman leader in Israel. True to Reich’s voice as a satirist of humanity's darker inclinations, the story is rooted in contemporary times, revealing the extreme and ecstatic expressions of religion, as well as the power of religion and religious authorities to use and abuse the faithful, both spiritually and physically, with life-altering and crushing consequences. Cynthia Ozick said of Tova Reich that her “verbal blade is amazingly, ingeniously, startlingly, all-consumingly, all-encompassingly, deservedly, and brilliantly savage.” This has never been more true than in One Hundred Philistine Foreskins, a work of literature sure to be hailed as an immensely authoritative and fearlessly bold tour-de-force.
The second novel in a dramatic trilogy set in eleventh-century France about the lives and loves of three daughters of the great Talmud scholar The engrossing historical series of three sisters living in eleventh-century Troyes, France, continues with the tale of Miriam, the lively and daring middle child of Salomon ben Isaac, the great Talmudic authority. Having no sons, he teaches his daughters the intricacies of Mishnah and Gemara in an era when educating women in Jewish scholarship was unheard of. His middle daughter, Miriam, is determined to bring new life safely into the Troyes Jewish community and becomes a midwife. As devoted as she is to her chosen path, she cannot foresee the ways in which she will be tested and how heavily she will need to rely on her faith. With Rashi's Daughters, author Maggie Anton brings the Talmud and eleventh-century France to vivid life and poignantly captures the struggles and triumphs of strong Jewish women.