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    1. Jewish Literacy: The Most Important
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    2. Why the Jews Rejected Jesus :
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    3. Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark:
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    4. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee:
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    5. Hebrew-English Tanakh
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    20. Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures, The

    1. Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History
    by Joseph Telushkin
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0688085067
    Catlog: Book (1991-04-26)
    Publisher: William Morrow
    Sales Rank: 9547
    Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    In 1988, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin undertook amission to heal "Jewish ignorance," an affliction whose symptoms include the ability to name the three components of the Trinity, coupled with an inability to explain mitzvah. Telushkin's contribution to the cure is his wide-ranging, entertaining Jewish Literacy. First published in 1991, Jewish Literacy contains almost 350 entries onsubjects ranging from the Ten Commandments to TheProtocols of the Elders of Zion. Entries are numbered (for easy, encyclopedia-style reference) and organizedtopically (to smooth the experience of reading each page straight through). And the revised edition contains several new entries (including articles about the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the vice-presidential nomination of JosephLieberman) as well as numerous corrections, enlargements, and updates. One might expect Rabbi Telushkin's project ofinspiring Jewish literacy to be overly earnest, but the author's understated wit adds considerable levity to mostentries. The entry on "Sodom and Gomorrah," for instance, ends this way: "A number of years ago, some Israeli promoters of tourismsuggested transforming the modern city of Sodom into a tourist haven with casinos, nightclubs, and even strip shows. The Chief Rabbinate in Israel sharply demurred, warning that there was nothing to prevent God from destroying the city a second time. The plan was dropped." --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

    Reviews (43)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Judaism 101 -- excellent for those considering conversion
    This book contains approximately three hundred one to three page entries on almost every aspect of Jewish culture, religion, and history. The entries are further subdivided into related chapters: the Torah, Biblical Judaism, the Roman Era, medieval european Judaism, American Jewery, Soviet Jewery, Antisemitism, Life Cycle events, Jewish Holidays, The State of Israel, and others.

    J.L. is encyclopedic in scope, but the entries have a more familiar feel to them, in part due to Teluskin's own personal anecdotes that are found in many of the entries. This makes the reader feel like he is not reading an academic text, but rather listening to a friend or family member share his accumulated knowledge and wisdom.

    I think most Jews will find a lot that they didn't know, or had forgotten, within these pages. For those who are considering conversion, this is a wonderful book to read cover to cover, because it exposes the reader to a full cross section of Judaism.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great reference book- a must
    This is a truely wonderful book. It is a great reference work with information about just about anything Jewish you can think of yet it is a good read. Most reference books are very dry (how interesting can a several paragraph entry about a topic be) yet as with everything he writes Rabbi Telushkin makes this a very interesting book.

    It is a must for non-Jews and Jews who aren't well educated in Judaism who want to know more. It has entries on scores of topics to give a short overview of most of the important people, events and ideas for Judaism. Even for educated Jews this can be a good reference work, and it is an enjoyable read.

    Rabbi Telushkin is a Modern Orthodox rabbi who studied under some of the greatest minds in late 20th century Orthodox Judaism (at Yeshiva University) so he knows his subject. However, he is a liberal minded Orthodox Jew who treats the liberal movements in Judaism in quite a fair, balanced and non-judgemental manner. He never talks down to you when you read no matter what you previous knowlege of the subject or point of view.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extensive & Lighthearted Overview of "The Jewish Adventure"
    Believe it or not, I started with this book by digging in, dishing out, page after page, on Amazon.com's Search inside option...

    After having reached a hundred pages or so (the limited viewable amount kindly and generously made available by the Publisher - he must have known what he was doing, the smart chelloveck), I decided, well, what the heck, let's just buy it. I have not regretted it...

    This book (670 pages in full length) astounds one as to its vast, elegantly segmented, multi-facetted and easy-and-friendly-to-use approach.

    Its lighthearted and friendly tone may even cheer you up on some of the traditionally more dramatic and gruesome themes. The freshness is envigorating and encouraging. What the author manages to do is to almost never ever make what is called an authoritative statement (in my humble opinion, such so-called "authoritative statements" can generally, if not most of the time, be considered as partial and personal views/vistas), but usually always manages to give an alternative view on a specific subject.

    The end-result is a vast and multi-sourced overview, a mild although quite thorough presentation of a great amount of subjects attending the History of the Jewish People.

    This book is something like a must for its extensive vastness. By never unduly and wryly scratching below the surface of things, it remains easy and friendly to use, even allowing and lending itself to some sporadic readings, enabling one to gain some sporadic insights and knowledge on a quite great variety of subjects.

    Well, Easy-Reading does it, every time. And here, Joseph Telushkin seems to have done a marvelous job.

    To sum it up, this book is a pleasure, deserves actually six stars, is highly recommended, for just every and anyone.

    ******************************************************************************************

    Post Scriptum, a personal note (being human, I just can't avoid it): There is an almost exasperating tendency of many Jews to define Judaism and Jewishness in their very own terms and within their own (at times petty) referential system. Even an often subtle author such as Joseph Telushkin makes this mistake in this otherwise magnificent and extensive Magnum Opus that is "Jewish Literacy" when he states that the Satmar and the Neturei-Karta positions can by no means be regarded as significant of the Jewish people. How wrong... He then compares the Satmar and Neturei-Karta positions towards Zionism as analogous to that of the Christian sect of Virginia's Snake handlers, a mere fringe of each movement, both, in his own words totally insignificant. I believe that the author somehow errs in not seeing that both Virginia's snake handlers and the ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist position are the views of sincere fundamentalists, that feel in no way entitled to disregard a significant portion of their Scriptural inheritance (Mark 16;16-18 and B.T. Ketouvot 111a, respectively). Such utterances attempting to define fundamentalist movements and tendencies as a mere fringe, are tantamount to imply that most Jews and most Christians have always been experts at comfortably following a religious herd of some sort. Far be it! If you need to be reassured as to the remaining vital strength of some of Judaism's proponents and exponents, get Aviezer Ravitzky's fascinating and incisive book "Messianism, Zionism and Jewish Religious Radicalism", where the sheer vast amount of diverse sources and positions (most of them unavailable in all but Hebrew) are in a position to satiate even the most information-hungry and avid enquirer of true facts (it may even appease your soul to see that the so-called "religious tree" is not yet fully dead and dry). Finally, I was surprised and somehow disappointed about the total omission of a rather great figure, and a no less great individual, namely that of Menachem Mendel of Kotsk. But since this is my sole substantial disappointment to the vast gathering of factual information contained in "Jewish Literacy", this detail probably just emphasizes my general level of satisfaction and happiness with this small but nonetheless vast and handy encyclopedia of Jewish history that constitutes Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's "Jewish Literacy".

    ******************************************************************************************

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Great introduction, slightly simplistic
    This is a good book, with several small flaws. First off this is the perfect book for any return Jew, secular Jew or anyone interested in the many facets of Judaism. For instance: How did Reform Judaism start? What was the Sanhedrin? Who was the Baal Shem Tov? Probably many Jews would stumble over the answers or be left speechless and this is where this book shines. This book details almost every facet of Judaism anyone could ever want or need to know. What is the difference between the Mishnah and Midrash? Once again this book gives short concise answers to this. From Ertez Israel to the Oral law this book outshines many like it in the sheer breadth of knowledge contained.

    The major flaw in this book is that it is almost useless if you are already versed in Judaism. If one wants something deeper and wants a more thorough explanation of the items contained here they will not get it. This book is written in a folksy manner, like someone lecturing a small group of interested students. Jokes protrude from the page for instance "many Europeans believed Jews had to kill every tenth patient...I wouldn't want to be the 10th guy in line at the doctor". While funny these passages detract from the text and sometimes makes the book feel more like '1000 things you didn't know about Judaism'. Nevertheless this book is an essential text for any Jewish household and an essential read for anyone exploring Judaism, thinking of conversion, in a relationship with a Jew or simply wanting to learn more about this worlds first monotheists.

    Seth J. Frantzman

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening to a Christian
    I found the book to be very interesting. It certainly gave one Gentile a footstep into a world previously unknown. The book is an easy read and the Rabbi's wit and honesty is refreshing. I almost rated the bood a 3 because the views on Jesus and Christianity were just so far off-base.Then I realized that this view reflected the Rabbi's and probably most Jewish people. How could I criticize him for his own view. I was truly amazed and saddened by just how much two people groups who both love the God of the Hebrew Bible could know so little about each other. ... Read more


    2. Why the Jews Rejected Jesus : The Turning Point in Western History
    by DAVID KLINGHOFFER
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385510217
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 4516
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (16)

    2-0 out of 5 stars We didn't *all* reject Jesus!
    David Klinghoffer believes the time has come for an unapologetic explanation of "Why the Jews Rejected Jesus." Of course, as Klinghoffer admits, it would be more accurate to explain, "Why the Jews who rejected Jesus did so." Such rejection was by no means unanimous.

    Despite this admission, however, Klinghoffer argues that the Jews had to reject Yeshua because of loyalty to Torah. Ironically, this argument makes the contemporary rise of a Jewish movement loyal both to Torah and Yeshua all the more significant.

    Klinghoffer builds his case by attacking Yeshua himself as a defective teacher of Torah who failed to fulfill the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures. And Paul fares even worse, emerging in the book as a bogus Pharisee who probably wasn't even Jewish!

    To back such statements, Klinghoffer quotes modern scholarship when convenient, but dismisses it as needed. He recognizes that "today's dominant academic opinion" (p. 115), sees Yeshua and Paul as loyal Jews. But Klinghoffer argues that they actually sought to introduce an entirely new, anti-Torah, religion.

    Klinghoffer's disregard for scholarly details results in other errors. He consistently cites Talmudic material, recorded in the fifth or sixth century, to define the Judaism of Yeshua's day. He places the decisive break between Judaism and Christianity in the first century. Modern scholarship, in contrast, views the break as gradual, not becoming final until the fourth or fifth century. Klinghoffer's handling of biblical prophecy is shaky on numerous points as well.

    Despite such flaws, the book has some value for its impassioned presentation of Jewish objections to faith in Yeshua. The Messianic Jewish community, as well as the Christian community, needs to understand and interact with such arguments.

    Oddly, the book's main thesis echoes Romans 11. Klinghoffer sees Jewish rejection of Jesus as "The turning-point in Western History." Without it, the Jesus movement would have remained a small Jewish sect, and Christianity, with all of its historic benefits, would never have developed.

    In Romans 11, Jewish rejection of Yeshua results in salvation for the nations. But for Paul, Jewish acceptance of Yeshua is consistent not only with Jewish identity, but with the very words of Torah and the prophets. Jewish rejection of Yeshua had its purpose, but Jewish acceptance will be "life from the dead."

    --This review appears in the June/July issue of the Messianic Times.



    3-0 out of 5 stars Maybe Jews owe something to Paul
    This book is a good survey of Jewish literature on Christianity through the centuries and makes a number of thought-provoking points.It is definitely worth reading for the familiarity it gives you with a variety of Jewish viewpoints as well as the variety of possible objections to Christianity.I particularly appreciated Klinghoffer's frankness and the challenge he gives to Christians to read the New Testament through Old Testament eyes.

    However, I do have some reservations about the book.First, Klinghoffer seems to suggest that if Jews had accepted Jesus, it would have fundamentally affected Christianity, but not Judaism.Why not?He also seems to think Islam would have arisen as it did in spite of Christianity petering out after the fall of Jerusalem.This in spite of the fact that the Koran makes a number of references to Jesus and his rejection by the Jews and generally sides with Jesus against them. It seems that both Judaism and Christianity are essential to the foundations of Islam.

    Like Hyam Maccoby, Klinghoffer seems real attached to the idea of "normative Judaism."Because Paul did not take a position like the Talmudic Judaism that developed later, both suggest that he wasn't really a Jew.But as I pointed out in my review of Maccoby's Mythmaker, there's quite a bit of evidence that the anti-Torah Gnostic movement started out as a movement among Jews.There have been "dissident" Jews throughout their history, and trying to impose a "normative" viewpoint that really developed later on people like Paul and Jesus is questionable.

    A related point is that both Maccoby and Klinghoffer cite Acts 22:3 for the claim that Paul was a disciple of Gamaliel.While I agree that this seems doubtful, it's important to recognize that Paul never made such a claim in any of his own books, so this need not reflect negatively on his honesty.Maybe Gamaliel really would have given him an "F" for his theological reasoning, but that doesn't prove he couldn't have identified with Pharisaism before his conversion.And the composition of such speeches as Acts 22:1-21, telling us what figures "should have said" or "might have said," is a known device of ancient literature.

    Klinghoffer's master point is that Jews could not accept Jesus because of their adherence to the Torah.I don't find that fully convincing.Though he raises some good questions about the Christian interpretation of Jeremiah 31:33, there are some questions one could raise about Israel's continuing adherence to the Torah.What about the apparent abrogation of Deut. 23:1 in Isaiah 56:4-5?What about the difference between the fates of Hezekiah (see especially II Kings 18:5-7) and Josiah (II Kings chap. 22-23), which raises some questions about the Deuteronomic understanding of righteousness and reward?It seems highly likely that the Book of Job is an attempt to deal with this theological failure by making a place for truly undeserved suffering.

    To close, I'd like to offer my own alternative to Klinghoffer's bold and fascinating theory of the foundations of Western civilization.I propose that Paul's teaching was one of the preconditions for Western, pluralistic society.Both Judaism and its younger daughter Islam are religions of law, attempting to govern not just our inner piety but our behavior in society.I think Paul's teaching that "the letter kills, but the spirit gives life" (II Cor. 3:6) may have been an important ingredient in the development of a pluralistic society, because it put limits on anyone's ability to regulate others.If spirituality could not be codified in a set of laws, then the way was open for many varieties of it.After the Roman Church attempted to create a "Christian law" in the Middle Ages, it was at least in part this teaching that enabled Luther to resist it.And once Christianity could not be controlled from Rome, varieties that even Luther could not have foreseen or embraced, such as churches with women pastors, became possible.

    Could it be that Reform Judaism would have been impossible without Paul?After all, it started in Germany, the homeland of Lutheranism.And what if even Orthodox Jews live more freely today than they would have without it?I hope a "Reform Islam" will arise, too.I'm not interested in "converting" Jews and Muslims to Christianity in the normal sense, but perhaps they should recognize Paul as part of their religious/cultural heritage.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I hope this book will lead to understanding
    David Klinghoffer is a political conservative who has much in common with Evangalist Christians on a political and social level. In this book, he explains why Jews cannot share their belief in Jesus, however. Belief in Jesus encompasses two concepts, that Jesus is the Messiah and that he is a deity. In looking at purported messianic prohesies of Jesus in the Jewish Bible (in books such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekial, and other prophets), there are two different viewpoints. Christians, who have already accepted Jesus as the Messiah see passages, such as Isaiah 53 as pointing to Jesus. Messianic prophesies are cryptic and somewhat obscure but, if you have accepted Jesus, these verses seem to make sense. On the other hand, if you have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah, these verses do not lead to the conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah and any such Messianic proof seems like circular reasoning. In other words, since X happened to Jesus, prophesy Y must apply to him. But, if you were to say, prove that X happened to Jesus, the proofs don't add up. Stated differently, Klinghoffer says that there is a certain "heads I win, tails you lose" quality to many Christian proofs. For example in Jeremiah, there is the specific reference to a "new covenant." The argument is that this new covenant is the abrogation of Torah which is replaced by Jesus. But, when the next sentence makes it clear that this new covenant means that Torah will be etched in our hearts and not replaced, the words are considered symbolic. So if there is a specific reference to a new covenant, it is "heads I win." But, if there is a specific reference to something that would disprove the alleged prophesy, another, symbolic interpreation is given to that verse and it becomes "tails you lose."

    Besides being the Messiah, under Christianity, Jesus is the son of God and, indeed a deity himself as part of the Trinity. Jews also don't accept this. To Jews, this goes beyond monotheism.

    Klinghoffer looks at the prophesies from the standpoint of Jews living before Jesus was revealed. To those Jews, studying such prophesies would lead to no conclusion of someone like Jesus. Anyone ignorant of Jesus would see nothing pointing to him. A little later, Jews living at the time of Jesus saw no Messianic prophesies come true, thus, they did not accept Jesus. When Jesus was not accepted by the Jews of that time, Paul and James met and decided that Torah practice was no longer necessary, thereby opening the nascent Christianity to the Romans and other pagan nations. By breaking away from Judaism, this assured that Jews would not, on any large scale, become Christians.

    Klinghoffer states that this Jewish refusal to accept Jesus was actually a benefit to Christianity. If Jews had accepted Jesus, the commandments of the Torah would not have been abrogated. Therefore, Klinghoffer posits that there would have been no large scale conversion by the pagans because the requirements of circumcision, keeping kosher, strictly observing the Sabbath, etc., would have had an appeal only to the Jews. However, when the Jews did not accept Jesus and these commandments were abrogated so as to appeal to the pagans, Christianity grew to become the major force in Western Civilization. So, Klinghoffer concludes that if Jews had accepted Jesus, the course of Western Civilization would have been markedly different. I'm not sure history would have unfolded the way Klinghoffer envisions but, this is avery interesting thesis. Anyway, I hope that this book will be read by Christians, not as a disputation, but rather as an attemppt to understand Jewish thinking leading, to mutual acceptance.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Study of Judaism and Christianity
    David Klinghoffer wrote his recent book "Why the Jews Rejected Jesus" (2005) in response to Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ".The major purpose of the book is stated in the title:to explain why the Jews, or most of them, continued with their Jewish religion and practices and refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah.Klinghoffer is a practicing Jew who was raised in a non-observant home and came to take Judaism seriously during his college years.He is also a political conservative which, for me, is refreshing.He has written, on the whole, a solid interesting study showing extensive reading and thought.There is much to be learned from this book.Unfortunately, portions of the book are unduly polemical.Klinghoffer goes out of the way, frequently, to be provocative.In addition, the tenor and theme of the book tend to shift as the study goes along.This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the reader needs to be aware of it and to see it happening.Klinghoffer greatly overstates the originality of his work, but this is common enough among writers.

    There is something to surprise every reader in this book.Klinghoffer begins by noting that Jewish traditional texts include materials about Jesus that is frequently suppressed.Some of these materials suggest that some leaders of the Jewish community did indeed play a role in the death of Jesus.I had not realized this before, and Klinghoffer is to be comended for his candor in making this information available to a wider readership.

    The question remains of the reasons which compelled the Jews to stay with their own faith.Here Klinghoffer gives a variety of answers which could have been organized more coherently.Jews believed, Klinghoffer argues, that they had a relationship with God revealed at Sinai and set out in the written Torah and in the Oral Torah -- later codified as the Talmud.Jesus and his followers denied the Torah in key respects that could not be accepted by Jews.Also, Klinghoffer claims, the arrival of the Messiah was to be accompanied by a change in the world, inhuman attitude and conduct and in the end of opression. But Jesus did not remove the yoke of Rome, and the world went on as it had before.

    The book includes a great deal of discussion of proof-texts -- verses from the Old Testament that many Christians have claimed prophesy the coming of Jesus.Klingoffer offers a laborious view of these texts and of Jewish responses to them.He shifts during the course of his study from the claim that the texts couldn't possibly mean what Christians say they mean to a claim that the texts are difficult, obsure and oracular and that reasonable people can differ about what they mean.For me, the use of proof-texts is based either on a literalist or traditionalist view of revelation and of Scriptural interpretation that have little appeal for me.But others may differ.

    As the book progresses, it takes a more ecumenical, inclusive approach.Klinghoffer discusses medieval and early modern Jewish philosophy which attempted to create a bridge of sorts between the two faiths.Both Jews and Christians worship the same God and both have a place, for believers, in God's scheme of things.Jews are the people of the Covenant while Christians approach God through Jesus.This was essentially the approach of the great Twentienth Century Jewish thinker, Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929).Klinghoffer discusses Rosenzweig briefly (pp 200-201), but it would have been well to hear more.Klinghoffer finds that both Judaism and Christianity are of almost equal stature and nobility, and both faiths constitute ways in which a religious person can learn to worship and serve God.This is a valuable and serious teaching, but it represents a shift from the polemics and the scriptural hair-splitting with which the book opens. Klingoffer states at several points that the Jewish rejection of Jesus was the key event in Western history because, if Christianity had remained Jewish and had followed Jewish law, the faith would have been too difficult and demanding to have mass appeal.This is an important point to make, but Klinghoffer nearly spoils it by burying it under a morass of speculations and counter-factuals.

    This book is well-meaning, well-informed and sincere.As I have tried to explain, it is somewhat too brash and unfocused and requires close attention to follow the where the argument appears to lead.The heart of the book is near the end rather than the beginning.For those wishing to explore Jewish-Christian relationships in a less polemical manner, the reader may wish to consult the Institute of Christian and Jewish Studies, formed by a group of Christian and Jewish scholars to explore points of commonality -- the values of prayer, study, and faith among others -- between their two traditions.This group is readily accessible on the web.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Educational and Readable, Very Eye-Opening
    I thought this book was excellent, and very respectful of both Judaism and Christianity. Very well-researched and presented a lot of new ideas and interpretations that I had never thought of. I don't usually read history for enjoyment, but I can truly say that I enjoyed this book and learned a lot. In spite ofthe controversial-sounding title, this is a book that can only help relations between Christians and Jews. ... Read more


    3. Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark: Amazing Revelations of the Incredible Power of Gold
    by Laurence Gardner
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $27.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0007142951
    Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
    Publisher: Thorsons Publishers
    Sales Rank: 106651
    Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This book examines the secrets of the Grail bloodline from Moses to Jesus, delineates fascinating new information about the Knights Templar, and reveals the lost secrets of Royal Arch Freemasonry. ... Read more

    Reviews (12)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mfkzt
    Having read his previous books I was compelled to purchase this one solely on the strenght of the author. I must conlude that I was not disappointed by any means. As the title implies this edition traces the use of monatomic gold known as (Mfzt to the egyptians) by the royal bloodline extending to the ancient sumerian epoch until today. Beautifuly backed up by a description of the Hudson experiments dealing with gold transformation, the ideas in this book trace the origin of the ark and its likely use as a medium containing the tablets of destiny and its use as a possible converter for gold transformation. This book is a definite must-read for Gardner fans even though some of the information is repeated from previous works. Nevertheless the focus is definitely shifted to the above.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down!
    I found this book very easy to read and hard to put down. Weather you agree with his theories or not it's obvious he's done a tremendous amount of research. If your are at all interested in ancient history mysteries you will enjoy this book. It's so well written I'm now getting his other books.

    4-0 out of 5 stars a reader from Germany
    fast reading, well written...

    5-0 out of 5 stars true?........perhaps.....................
    True or not,he writes fascinating books.He has a deft touch as a writer,whether you believe him or not.Personally,Realm of the Ring Lords is his best,and philosophy mixed with religion is his forte.The five stars are for his writing,I will have to research his theory a little more and perhaps I will downgrade his five stars.Then again,maybe not.........

    1-0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear
    There seem to be only 2 possible views of this book, one is that the author is having a joke at the expense of his readership, the second is that he is deliberately junking his own reputation and so that of all his books and their contents.

    References are mostly either to "Jesus the Man" or his own books, which in turn reference "Jesus the Man" or his own books.

    The central theme is based on a well-known Internet "scam" (monatomic gold) and the conclusion is, well, jolly interesting....

    But why did he write it? I would recommend this book for people who are heavily sedated. ... Read more


    4. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children
    by Wendy Mogel
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0142196002
    Catlog: Book (2001-11-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 3295
    Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Every parent hopes their child will be self-reliant, optimistic, and well mannered, a challenge in our current culture. Clinical psychologist and Jewish educator Wendy Mogel distills the ancient teachings of the Torah, the Talmud, important Jewish thinkers, and contemporary psychological insights into nine blessings that address key parenting issues such as:

    * determining realistic expectations for each child
    * respect for adults
    * chores
    * mealtime battles
    * coping with frustration
    * developing independence and self-control
    * resisting over-scheduling and over-indulgence


    The Blessing of a Skinned Knee guides us toward effective, enlightened parenting in an increasingly speedy, material, and competitive age.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (24)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing resource for parents and educators alike!
    This book is a blessing for the thousands of parents and educators who will read it. Mogel is refreshingly frank about the struggles of parents to "tame" their children and is able to gracefully match Jewish text with challenges to create a readable, informative and useful parenting book. I know that this book will be a meaningful read for many parents, but it should be on the reading list for educators as well, who work with and support parents making these choices.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Recipe for Raising Menches
    It is an unfortunate cultural truth that we American Jews often treat our kids like fine, hot-house flowers - delicate creatures with frail egos, in constant need of support and nurturing, lest they wilt under the strain of everyday living. This author's wise reflections on parenting demonstrate that trying to iron out any difficulties our children may face in life - now and in the future - actually hinders their development, producing offspring that have far less initiative, resilience, and character than they should!

    And it's true! Lately I avoid going to my daughter's soccer matches, because it's too silly to watch the field flood with doctors, lawyers, and therapists every time a kid makes contact with the ball!

    The author of this very useful book offers wonderfully concrete advice about finding a way to lovingly reassert our moral authority and spiritual mentorship over our children. As a mother of four, living in the same city and cultural/religious milieu as the author, I am impressed with her thoroughness in covering this topic, her compassion for both parents and children, and her knowledge of ancient and contemporary Jewish parenting literature. But most of all, I am impressed by the frank, realistic, and practical steps she offers parents (Jewish or not) for helping their children find strength - true moral, spiritual and psychological strength - in who they are as individuals.

    By the way, though only one percent of the Israeli population lives on a kibbutz (community farm), the kibbutzes regularly produce about 80 percent of the country's military and political leadership. Seems those tough farm kids know a thing or two about resilience!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best book I've ever read!
    This is the best parenting book I've ever read! My husband and I couldn't put this down. It's filled with practical advice and contains lots of witty and thought provoking information. We're not Jewish and we loved this book! I highly recommend this to every parent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and wonderful!
    So what can I say that has not been said? This is a great little book! So I'll highlight some issues she brings up that I hope will catch your attention enough to investigate it.

    I appreciate her point about children's freedom. Most people don't realize that statistically speaking, children are FAR more likely to be hurt/killed automobile accident than they are by being abducted by a stranger (Most kids who are hurt by others are harmed by family), and that the rate of crimes against children has NOT increased in the past 30 years. And yet so many of us behave as if our children can not be unsupervised for a second--can not walk the dog, kick a ball around in a field or ride their bike to the pool. This is really wrong, and as the author notes, robs children of the best part of childhood to appease our own irrational fantasies. We SHOULD be shaking in our boots that our car will be hit by an SUV when our child is in it, but we don't think twice about taking our kids for a drive.

    Lastly, I loved her emphasis on letting the child experience making choices and experiencing relatively low cost consequences. For example, if a child chooses to have a messy room, don't help them find things that get buried, or go in to fetch the laundry from the floor. Letting them experiencing the natural consequences for thier choices is far more powerful than a million lectures. And later on, if your teen sleeps in class/dosen't do homework/skips school, don't rush in to blame the teacher--make the kid take responsibility and give him the dignity of learning to solve his own problems! It shows that I'm a former teacher here, and I loved what she had to say about supporting your child's education by supporting their character development.

    My only real complaint is that she confuses being spiritual with worshiping a god. The fact that you do not believe in god dosen't mean you can't teach a child to feel awe, humility and embrace tikkun olam! Besides, are we really supposed to start believing in something irrational to help our children become more independant and rational?

    2-0 out of 5 stars very mixed feelings
    I had very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I agree with the author's premise that parents should be parents, and not try to be their child's best friend. On the other hand, some of her other arguments were very troubling to me. Among these were the idea that you should never be an advocate for your child, and that you should allow him to handle all his problems himself. The author fails to account for the fact that young children lack the experience and the skills necessary to cope with every situation; that's why they HAVE parents! Not every bad experience is a "learning experience," and I think some of the advice in this book advocates a parenting style that borders on neglect. Perhaps this is because Dr. Mogel is a therapist in an affluent Beverly Hills neighborhood, and she simply doesn't see kids with "real problems."

    Additionally, she states that parents should not expect their children to be good at everything. This is obviously good advice, but then she goes on to talk about how terrible it is that girls in the modern era are supposed to be good at math and science. Exactly what is she trying to get at here? That girls shouldn't be encouraged to do well in "non-traditional" subjects? Indeed, this does seem to be what she is saying.

    Finally, one of the most disturbing anecdotes in this book is about a young girl who is so anxious about going away to camp that she repeatedly throws up all night long. Dr. Mogel holds this up as a great example, because the parents make her go anyway. If you are making your kid so anxious and stressed that she throws up all night, YOU ARE NOT DOING A GOOD JOB AS A PARENT. THIS IS NOT OKAY.

    In sum, I would say that her underlying message, which is to parent your children and not let them run the show, is a good one. But many of her examples are distressing to say the least. And finally, she never gives any advice as to how to implement her philosophy. For example, if she says, "don't let your kid do X," she never gives any strategies for how to deal with it when your kid inevitably does X.

    In my opinion, if you want some real "no-nonsense" parenting advice, call up Grandma. There's not much here that's useful. ... Read more


    5. Hebrew-English Tanakh
    by Not Applicable (Na )
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0827606974
    Catlog: Book (2000-07-01)
    Publisher: Jewish Publication Society of America
    Sales Rank: 16512
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Featuring the oldest known complete version of the Holy Scriptures, placed next to JPS's renowned English translation, considered by both Jewish and Christian scholars to be the most authoritative translation of Hebrew scripture.

    Find the authoritative Hebrew text according to Masoretic tradition (accepted by scholars and rabbinic authorities), complete with cantillation marks, vocalization and verse numbers. The Hebrew text is conveniently formatted to match the English translation, and is slightly larger than the English for easy reading. ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    4-0 out of 5 stars If you had to have one Bible . . .
    JPS has produced the best known, non-Christian, translations of the Bible. (There is no such thing as an Old Testament-just a Bible as opposed to a Christian Bible!!) The relatively famous JPS Tanakh (acronym of Torah, Nevi'im/Prophets, and Ketuvim/Writings and spelled various ways--TN'K, Tanach, Tenach)is fine for an English translation and carried out by acknowledged experts. But let's be frank. You don't have a Bible if you do not have the original Hebrew next to the translation.

    If you really study Bible you do or will come to realize this, and will never be satisfied with just the vernacular. The English (our vernacular language) is just an attempt to convey the meaning of the Hebrew. So it makes sense to have both, side by side.

    There are a number of Bibles that include both, Christian and Judaic products, most notably one of my favorites the Koren Jerusalem Bible.

    But here is what you need for a useful tool after you have both Hebrew and English:
    *The Hebrew Text should include as much of the Masoretic structure and features as possible (can't go into "Masoretic" here). DOn't expect it to include the Masoretic notation (Mp, Mm)[You'll need a BHS, Aleppo, Leningrad MS in Hebrew for this type of thing and Okla v'Okla]. But it MUST have the parshas (weekly readings for the Torah all Jews worldwide read together). Included in the Masoretic Text are some interesting features like enlarged letters, text written with spaces to appear like stacked brick (song of the Sea Shemot/Exodus 15) for example. There's too many beauties of the Hebrew to describe---but make sure yours get in as many of them as possible!!!!

    *Typeface is very important. You are used to English and your mind can "recontruct" words in a bad English font. But Hebrew is a different matter. The Hebrew should be large and clear, especially the niqqudim (vowel-points and accent marks some of the others mention--btw, most Hebrew primary religious texts will show vowel-points). A small Hebrew type can be a disaster (I have to use a magnifying glass and reading glasses to read some of my books like Jastrow's Sefer Millim).

    *Personal pref- I like a Bible that tries to bring across Hebrew names instead of Anglicizations (ex., Moshe rather than Moses; Yerushalayim> over *binding

    So how does JPS H/E Tanakh stack up here? Typography excellent!!! Masoretic features-parshas, no Masoretic notes really, and all is shoved in a column for sake of page layout instead of MT format. JPS uses the anglicizations ;-( but is in modern language ;-)

    The JPS H/E Tanakh comes in several bindings. I have the "leatherish" thick, flexible, industrial strength plastic and I think it will hold up. It has a ribbon marker insertd in the binding. In other words, this binding (and paper)is similar to the binding on Christian Bibles. (You could walk down the street with it and not be missionized!!!! ;-)

    Get it. It is well worth $... The Koren Bible I mentioned differs in that it keeps much more MT format, but its typography is tooo small, but it does not anglicize proper nouns and even symbolizes Het and Tsade (whch I can't do here). So if you must choose one, choose the one you can see all the text with the naked eye--JPS H/E.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Corroboration. . . .
    Although I am not Jewish, even as a devout Christian, I found this Hebrew-English Tanakh to be a great asset to my library, and for any Christian's library for that matter. The JPS translation is a bit different from the King James which most of us are used to but the Hebrew characters alongside the English, in addition to the concordance numbers makes this edition an unbeatable one. Sometime, in my life, I would like to learn Biblical Hebrew, but for now, this Tanakh has aroused my curiousity enough. What I thought was odd was how the order of the Old Testament books are arranged differently than in the Christian Bible. For example, the last two books are 1 and 2 Chronicles and all the of the prophets are grouped together. For somebody who is ignorant, this was a big shock. In addition, the Book of Genesis starts at the back instead of at the front. Odd but cool, in every respect! For the price, I was expecting a cheep paperback copy but I was surprised to find that this edition came in a durable, plastic, cardboard binding, which thus makes this a good deal!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is the only Jewish Bible that yoou'll ever need
    I own several copies of the "New" JPS translation (it has been around for a few decades now). I own the original three volume edition, the full-size and the pocket size with and without Hebrew text. And despite the fact that I have a few other bibles (including the Judaica Press edition of various books and the entire Soncino Bible) this is the one that I refer to the most.

    The translation is readable and accurate although not in the literal sense. When they stray from the literal meaning, it is included in a footnote, as good scholarship requires.

    The Hebrew-English addition has the original text facing the translation, which is sometimes helpful if you want to improve your vocabulary, but only beware, the translations is not always word for word.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Too light for my eyes...
    I was very disappointed with the print quality in the edition I bought. The print was GREY, not BLACK. This makes for difficult reading. I purchased the $24.50 edition, which was described as "Leather Bound." The reviews all stated that they described the "Leather Bound" edition, which were, however, linked to adds for a $52.50 edition of the book. I'm wondering if the more expensive edition has significantly better print. If it does, this should have been noted. I might have decided to put out the extra money for a better quality item. As things stand now, I am returning the disappointing GREY-printed edition.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Hebrew-English Bible - Excellent Translation!
    JPS' "Hebrew-English Tanakh: The Traditional Hebrew Text And The New JPS Translation" is the best Bible I have seen for the purpose of study. The translation is superior and when in doubt, the Hebrew text is right there, alongside the English, to compare. This edition was recommended to me when I began a two year course on Judaism and Jewish Life sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    This JPS edition of the Tanakh, composed of the Pentateuch, the Nevi'im (Prophets), and the Kethuvim (Writings), was translated from the original authoritative Hebrew text into the modern idiom of English in three stages, representing the collaboration of academic scholars with rabbis from the three major branches of organized Jewish life in America. The Torah was published in 1962, The Prophets in 1978, and the Writings in 1982. The text preceding the Preface, and the Preface itself, include an excellent history of the Hebrew text.

    I have read this edition through, and find it to be a most rewarding experience. The English translation is the closest to the original Hebrew that I have seen. The print is clear and easy to read and the notes are superior. The Hebrew font is large enough to read without eye strain, and includes vowels - which is a plus for me. And the book is beautifully bound. I continue to refer to it almost daily for study purposes and for my own personal edification. I think this is one of the best book purchases I have ever made.
    JANA ... Read more


    6. English Zohar
    by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Michael Berg
    list price: $491.00
    our price: $491.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1571891994
    Catlog: Book (1993-12-01)
    Publisher: Kabbalah Publishing
    Sales Rank: 889642
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Zohar is a 2,000 year old guide to the Torah (Bible), now available in an Unabridged English Translation for the first time in history! The Zohar, provides answers to questions about human existence, satisfying the curiosities of both science and religion. Zohar is more than mere commentary. These 22 volume are the very heart of Kabbalah. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Very good information for those willing to dig
    These books contain a great deal of advanced spiritual information. The Berg's state that it is information that can stand alone, but since it is a detailed explanation of the deeper meanings of God's law, it is really necessary to have a background in that law. It would be wise to read the five books of the Torah first, although they have notes in the text referring to the appropriate texts of the law the Zohar section is discussing.

    Most Christians will take exception to much of what the Zohar has to teach, but that is because of their own misunderstanding of the law and the ultimate sacrifice it required. Once there is an adequate background in the law and its spiritual meaning (Romans 7:14), the Zohar will begin to take on a great deal of meaning for the Christian, and his eyes will be opened in ways, and to truths that cannot be found in church teaching, and may not easily be discovered from the Bible. "He who has ears, let him hear," Matt. 13:9. "For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it," Matt 13:17.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Today's Noah's Ark
    The Zohar is a powerful work of 22 volumes that serves as today's Noah's Ark - protecting those who own it and connect to it through reading and scanning. I recommend visiting www.kabbalah.com or www.zohar.com in order to learn more about the Zohar and Kabbalah. Purchasing the Zohar is very easy through www.kabbalah.com. You can also call the Kabbalah Centre and they can explain what the Zohar is, and arrange to ship it to you. Before purchasing the Zohar, it is also beneficial to read "The Power of Kabbalah" by Yehuda Berg. He gives an introduction to Kabbalah, including extensive information about the Zohar.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Zohar in English
    The Zohar is more than 2000 years old, but until very recently it was kept almost entirely hidden from the world, withheld out of fear that its power would be misused. Looked at it strictly as a work of spiritual wisdom, the Zohar is both an exploration and an explanation of every aspect of our physical and spiritual universe, and the connections that exists between them. Yet the real benefit of the Zohar in our daily lives is the energy imbued within each letter, each word, each phrase. For thousands of years, kabbalists have taught that simply the physical presence of the Zohar brought protection from harm. ... Read more


    7. A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood
    by Raymond P. Scheindlin
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0195139410
    Catlog: Book (2000-07-01)
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Sales Rank: 34110
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Secular History Of The Jews- Beautifully Written
    Raymond P. Scheindlin has managed to write, in 263 pages, an accurate, secular and very readable history of the Jewish people. He takes the reader, chronologically, from the period of the first known references to the Israelites outside the Bible, (1220 B.C.E.), an Egyptian inscription commemorating the victory of the pharaoh Marniptah over the wandering tribe, to the declaration of Israeli statehood in 1948, and further still to the present peace negotiations in the Middle East. This sweeping and highly informative work presents the major geographical, cultural and political forces that have determined the course of Jewish history. Scheindlin also discusses the many individuals, secular and religious, who have shaped the mindset and character of the Jewish people.

    I am taking a course in Jewish history and asked my professor for "an excellent but readable book" on the subject. I told him I wanted to be able to "enjoy the reading process as well as study." He immediately suggested Rabbi Scheindlin's "A Short History of the Jewish People." I must say that if it is possible to call a history book "riveting" and "compelling" and still maintain credibility, I will say it. I could not put the book down! The text is beautifully written and the history itself, as well as the people who made it, are fascinating. The book also serves as an excellent outline of Jewish History and has assisted me in understanding the course's assigned texts. Highly recommended!
    JANA

    5-0 out of 5 stars Narators of History
    This book serves as an excellent outline of Jewish History. If there is a time period you are not familiar with, this book will illuminate using the Jews as narators. An accurate, reliable telling, which can be used by the reader as a launching point for further study on a wide range of historical events and personalities. ... Read more


    8. The Book of Secrets
    by Osho
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312180586
    Catlog: Book (1998-04-15)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    Sales Rank: 6321
    Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In this comprehensive and practical guide, the secrets of the ancient science of Tantra become available to a contemporary audience for the first time. Confined to small, hidden mystery schools for centuries, and often misunderstood and misinterpreted today. Tantra is not just a collection of techniques to enhance sexual experience. As Osho shows in these pages, it is a complete science of self-realizatoin, based on the cumulative wisdom of centuries of exploration into the meaning of life and consciousness. Tantra-the very word means "technique"-is a set of powerful, transformative tools that can be used to bring new meaning andjoy to every aspect of our daily lives.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Book of Books
    All the stars in the world, if they were available for this rating! There are no words to describe. Osho talks about body, mind, soul, personal transformation, lies around you and reality deep within you. He explains Tantra sutras as no one has done it before. And if you think Tantra is all about sex, drop this, Tantra is about understanding yourself and the Universe, and if sex is part of it, then it's exactly what it is - part of it.

    Osho refers to Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, he doesn't judge, he doesn't say someone is right or wrong, he just shows the depth behind their words, depth of an ocean behind one drop of water that words could describe. Osho is outside of all the religions, all dogmas, outside yoga, zen, occult and everything else.

    I've read Osho before, and could understand some of what he said, I'm re-reading him, and I can understand so much more! I will re-read him again in the future, and I'm sure that I will find a new layer of depth. This book is enormous!

    I'm no new to esoterics, I've read hundreds of books, and followed many different practices at various stages of my life. But after reading Osho's Book of Secrets, I feel like THIS IS IT. No more searching outside for answers.

    I've read several negative reviews here, and they amazed me. I respect people's right to have a different point of view, but I feel like these people are either not ready yet, they may not understand what he is saying, or they are simply scared, afraid of the Truth.

    You just have to read the book itself, don't read the reviews, read the Book! Whether you understand some of it to begin with or the whole of it, agree or disagree, practice for a day or for the rest of your life - there is one thing you can be sure of - you'll never regret the money you've spent on it. It's just one heck of a Book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Stunning
    This is the book that changed my life, or turned it around. Brought a whole new synthesis. I started w/ the 3rd volume (included here) at first, but it's all great. Work your way past the first hundred or so pages with patience if you want the more purely philosophical stuff. Or as Osho would say, "philosia" -- love of seeing (not of sophistry). He knows the rituals, the chakras, the whole bit, but this is the breath of conceptual tantra. Many lives probably led him to this wisdom. This is where the modern-day tantra craze should have remained. Now it's gone on to yoga, yoga, yoga -- what, people got fed up with sex? Most likely repression reared its ugly (sometimes necessary) head. Don't go for the abridged cassettes, buy the book. It's something you may want to reread too. It's all about self-acceptance... and THESE ARE LIVE TRANSCRIBED DISCOURSES, to correct some other reviewers who are saying he wrote this stuff.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Utterly Profound
    .
    112 Meditation techniques for us who do not know how to surrender, otherwise we need no techniques. And so, here is from a 5,000 year old text the most amazing techniques, so simple and yet so profound. Ultimately, it is Osho's commentary of over 1100 pages that make this book one I just could not put down.

    You only need one or two techniques, whichever one works for you. You are an intellectual, you perceive life with the mind, you use one type of technique. You are a person of feelings, of the heart; you use another type of technique.

    There's just too much profound information to write a review here. I can relate how the mind is not you, thoughts are not you, just as the body is not you, but rather instruments used by our consciousness. To get a glimpse of our consciousness, of our real selves apart from our minds; that is where true peace lies, where the center of the present moment resides. The mind is a process like walking, it is only the movement of thoughts, of waves of energy, stop thinking and we have no mind. The question is how to stop thinking, even for a moment. And so 112 mediation techniques to allow the mind to cease to gain a fleeting glimpse of the consciousness and you will never walk away as the same person ever again. You will be changed, both mentally and physically. The seed can flower, only when it is in touch with itself.

    The mind accumulates which ultimately allows it to commit intellectual suicide in childlike awareness. Not childish ignorance, but like a child the mind is dropped, only this time it transcends the intellect that has been acquired.

    This is the best book I have ever encountered on meditation and I can see why Gurdjeff and so many others practiced many of the different techniques. Ultimately the Tao is simply surrendering, you do not need techniques, but the paradox is effort is at first needed to obtain the ability to trash effort: that is the paradox.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
    If you are truly interested in your inner search, this book will be of immense help. It has been of great help for me for many years and it continues to be so. Osho is explaining, with simple meditation techniques, how to experience truth directly. I can only feel that the two guys that wrote a negative review of this masterpiece, never really had the guts to dive into the depth of their inner world and experience truth in first person. If you do have that courage, this book is for you!

    5-0 out of 5 stars a blessing for mankind
    I bought this book in May 2001, in a bookstore in Sebastopol, CA. I still remember taking it from the shelf, reading a bit, and immediately knowing that I was at a turning point in my life, that I was ready for a breakthrough. After years of searching for the truth, this book not only helped me understand what enlightenment is, it helped me getting closer to it, it helped me understand and appreciate life, be grateful for everything I experience. Each time I wake up during a day (that is, I realize that I am alive, I am aware of what is happening, I am present, awake, alive!) I owe the experience to my teachers. Osho is by far the clearest in his explanations of what works and what does not work on the spiritual path. Reading this book helped me understand other great spiritual works as well (and the divine hilarious confusion about them). Whenever I get too caught up in the mind, reading a few pages of this book opens my heart and gives me back my freedom. ... Read more


    9. The Sabbath
    by Abraham Joshua Heschel
    list price: $12.00
    our price: $9.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0374512671
    Catlog: Book (1975-01-01)
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Sales Rank: 17585
    Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Elegant, passionate, and filled with the love of God's creation, Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Sabbath has been hailed as a classic of Jewish spirituality ever since its original publication--and has been read by thousands of people seeking meaning in modern life. In this brief yet profound meditation on the meaning of the Seventh Day, Heschel, one of the most widely respected religious leaders of the twentieth century, introduced the influential idea of an 'architecture of holiness" that appears not in space but in time. Judaism, he argues, is a religion of time: it finds meaning not in space and the materials things that fill it but in time and the eternity that imbues it, so that 'the Sabbaths are our great catherdrals.'
    ... Read more

    Reviews (27)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
    Quite simply, this is one of the most beautiful, inspiring books I have ever read. Abraham Joshua Heschel, in a very short, accessible, clear manner, spells out the meaning of the Sabbath. I have been Jewish all my life, but realize now that I never truly understood Sabbath. The lessons in this book, which takes very little time to read, come back to me now every Friday night when I sit down with my family to say Shabbat prayers. It also has changed my approach to life the rest of the week, as Mr. Heschel explains the blessing of work and rest, and the place for each in life. Followers of other religions (certainly Christians) who have a day of rest will appreciate and benefit from the message of this book as much as Jewish individuals.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to the spirituality of the Sabbath
    I never fully grasped the significance of Sabbath-keeping until reading this book. Heschel introduces several key ideas about the nature of time and how the Sabbath sancitfies time. I am a Christian minister and found this to be an excellent resource, so I would recommend this to anyone who is seeking to understand the important of rest and rhythm in life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WOW! This book is rich!
    Some books are informative. Others are inspiring. This one is both. It has gems on every page. It's not a how-to guide for how to make Shabbat, but a how-to guide for how to think about the Queen of Days. He uses word imagery and wisdom from the sages to paint pictures on every page. It's the kind of book you can read over and over and get something different.

    After checking this book out of the library, I want to buy two copies: one for me and one for our temple's library.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Timeless: Understanding of an Institution
    This book is what breaking concepts down to their basic elements is all about. This is a classic study that lucidates the institution of the Sabbath for all of mankind. Heschel strips all of the burdensome details of adherence from this holy day and makes it accessible to the novice.

    This book allows the reader to understand the premise, and hence provides motivation for the adherence of the day as opposed to making it a regimented theology given as a burden to mankind.

    The delight of the Sabbath can be grasped in this brief study. Learn it, live it, enjoy it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK
    Not only does this book explain why it is celebrated, it inspires you to do so. It's a bit repetetive, but always with a different spin. So explanatory, for the person who observes the sabbath and the person who is just learning about it. Something for everyone. Absolutely inspiring!!! ... Read more


    10. My Grandfathers Blessings : Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging
    by Rachel Naomi Remen M.D.
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1573228567
    Catlog: Book (2001-04-01)
    Publisher: Riverhead Books
    Sales Rank: 9974
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    As a small child, Rachel Remen sat at the feet of her grandfather, an orthodox rabbi and scholar of the kabbalah, and learned the secret of life: that love and blessings given to others heals our loneliness, unhappiness, and in fact all our wounds.Remen uses her power as a master storyteller to bring to life the extraordinary blessings of ordinary existence. These exquisite pieces show us how we bless and serve each other most often without knowing it, how much life gives to us, and how many of our own blessings we have still yet to receive.

    There is nothing more comforting than hearing Rachel's grandfather speak of love, life, and God to a small, lonely, and very spiritual child who was trying to find her way in an unspiritual world. These are stories for keeping at the bedside, for those dark nights when we go out in search of our souls.

    Rachel's grandfather has blessed not only his beloved granddaughter but, through her, has blessed us all.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (28)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone should have this book.
    My partner and I received Grandfather's Blessings as a gift a few weeks ago and read one short story in the morning before work and one in the evening before bed. What an inspiration these stories are. They really make you think about what's important in your life and, to steal a phrase, count your blessings.

    Believe all of these 5 star reviews and buy this book. You won't regret it, and more importantly, you will help inspire Rachel Remen to continue sharing her work with us!

    5-0 out of 5 stars My Grandfather's Blessings: A Reader's Reflection
    I became aware of this book last fall and it caught my interest. I read it and evey page was filled with insights and before I knew it, I had post-it notes throughout the entire book. Rachel speaks many truths. As a Doctor, as a Counselor, as a person who struggles with her own health, I felt that she was a long lost friend. Her words are touching and made me think about my own life, my own struggles and my own blessings. Our background is similar. Rachel had a grandfather, I had a grandmother. A grandmother who believed in a force greater than herself. I was blessed by her presence, her love and her ability to enjoy her life through her children and grandchildren. My love for my faith is a testament of this woman. Her struggles, her disappointments did not deter her from her Orthodox Judaism. In fact, her belief was strengthen by life's challenges. As I read of Rachel's grandfather, I thought of my "Bubbi" (Yiddish for Grandmother)and her ongoing committment to Judaism. Those of you who want to read a book about love, about life, about making a difference in the world, I recommend this book highly. Thanks.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wisdom combined with love
    I am impressed by how wonder-ful this book is. The book provides brief and easily-read vignettes which can be reflected upon over several hours, and which make excellent points of focus for meditation or for prayer. One can see the blessings follow Dr Rehmen throughout the book. She begins as an appreciative young child who is blessed to spend time with her beloved, wise, and cherished grandfather. She uses her grandfather's advice as she travels through adolescence, through her studies in medicine, and then through her teaching and healing years. One can follow the advice of her grandfather and her character development too, and how important love and wisdom are to a person at any stage of life. The love and wisdom spoken of here are not something she owns or acquires, but are something which she participates in, adds to, and then returns to the source.

    I think you will find this a loving and wise work, and that you will be happy you have shared with her.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Master Story-teller
    Dr. Remen doesn't need another 5-star review, but these stories are so wonderful. Just as strong as Kitchen Table Wisdom. I have to admit to bias, because Dr. Remen wrote a beautiful blurb for the back of my book The Art of Getting Well. But I would have loved her anyway.

    David Spero RN www.art-of-getting-well.com

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a blessing
    My friend Stacey gave me this book as a birthday present last year. It is the greatest gift I have ever received, and I am not just saying that. I managed to only pick it up every now and then and read a story or two and force myself to put it down. I wanted it to last. Each time I needed to hear something, I relied on it. I made it last one year, until my next birthday this year. I moved to Switzerland a year ago which sounds glamourous, but it is difficult to leave your home country. This book made my life here, easier and more comforting. Because of this book, I appreciate my new experiences and now consider myself blessed to live here. Dr. Remen is an artist of human emotion and can help anyone feel loved, blessed and that they belong, no matter where in the world they live. ... Read more


    11. Jewish Book of Why-Boxed Set
    by Alfred J. Kolatch
    list price: $44.95
    our price: $37.56
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0824603141
    Catlog: Book (1995-01-01)
    Publisher: Jonathan David Publishers
    Sales Rank: 91436
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In this boxed set of the best-selling volumes The Jewish Book of Why and The Second Jewish Book of Why, Rabbi Alfred J Kolatch explores almost 1,000 questions about Judaism, including:

    Why is a child born to a Jewish father not necessarily Jewish?
    Why is there objection to surrogate motherhood?
    Why do some seminaries ordain women?
    Why are boys circumcised?
    Why is a glass broken at a wedding ceremony?
    Why are pork and shrimp not kosher? ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful gift and accesory
    These wonderful books deal with tradtional judaism and more controversial issues like conversion and marriage. The first volume is essentially detailed with accounts of 'who is a Jew' 'What is a Jew' 'What are Jewish holidays' 'What is the Jewish service and its structure' 'What are essential Jewish rituals' 'How do Jews interpret the Torah'. These chapters detail almost any question one might have about what it means to be a Jew, how to live a Jewish life and how to interpret the essential Torah. This volume is wonderful for non-Jews, return Jews, Secualt Jews and normal Jews intreested in exploring their religion deeper. Wonderful excerts explain the origins of such simple items like the Kipa(Yarmluke) and essential questions about Jewish dietary laws.

    The second volume tackles more modern and controversial topics. it explores the major streams of Judaism in America(Reform, Conservative, Orthodox) and it looks at the Hasidic community. This book explores the essential topic of conversion to Judaism and how that relates to the various Jewish streams. It also tackels intermarriage questions.

    This wonderful boxed set is perfect as a present and for information regarding the wonderful jewish heritage and its 5000 years of development.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well written and simple
    Best, I think, for children, Jews by Choice, and non-Jews with questions. It is written on a very basic level. Wonderful reference source for when those occasional "trivia question" moments come up, and you simply "have to know."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good reference source
    A well written and easily searchable reference source of the "whys" of Judaism. Explains traditions connected with holidays and major life events (weddings, births, funerals) clearly and concisely. The book has a serious tone, and the reader can expect a serious treatment of the subjects covered. ... Read more


    12. Judaism for Dummies
    by TedFalcon, DavidBlatner, David Blatner
    list price: $21.99
    our price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0764552996
    Catlog: Book (2001-03-27)
    Publisher: For Dummies
    Sales Rank: 11304
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Like the many other Dummies books, Judaism for Dummies organizes a wealth of material into an easy-reading format with a warm, accessible voice. Readers can expect to find translations of common Yiddish words, the difference between Orthodox and other denominations, the meaning and rituals of high holidays, the origins of the Jewish people, and a stirring passage about the Holocaust.

    The authors make this book especially engaging by deftly tackling those "I've always wondered..." kinds of questions about Judaism. For instance, what are the guidelines for kosher food? What's the Jewish version of sin? Was Marilyn Monroe really Jewish? (Yes, she converted.) And what exactly do Jews believe about God? The authors answer this last question with characteristic reverence and humor: "Some Jews see God as an external force, a Being outside of the universe.... Some Jews say that God contains the Universe.... Other Jews say that God is the universe.... The one thing that Jews won't argue about, period, is that God--whatever you imagine God to be--is ultimately unknowable and therefore un-nameable." They also note that Jews argue with God in order to know God better. They're called "Children of Israel" because of the biblical story in which Jacob wrestles with an angel and gets his name changed to Israel, meaning "one who wrestles with God."

    The authors' lively voices give this stylistically formatted book a unique personality. Sometimes they sound as though they're telling jokes at a dinner party: "Have you heard the one about the two rabbis arguing over the Torah?" and "Yom Kippur means always having to say you're sorry." Other times they sound like fireside elders sharing the old stories of an ancient faith. This is an excellent book for someone preparing to become a bar or bat mitzvah. It could also be helpful for gentiles marrying into Jewish families, or any adult who is planning on converting. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction
    Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav

    Dont know what this means? Read this wonderful introduction and find out. This wonderful book gives the reader many fascinating introductions to Judaism, from basic prayers and blessings to a valiant history to the many ways in which Judaism has influenced the world. From the ancient rituals to the structure of the Torah and the nature of the High Holidays. From Abraham in the desert to Judah the Maccabbee and Bar Kochba and their wars against the idol worshipers of Greece and Rome. You will not be disappointed if you are interested in Judaism or interested in what Jews believe and who Jews are and how Jews relate to Israel.

    Probably the only flaw with this book is that its called 'for Dummies' and no one who wants to learn about Judaism can be called Dummy in any sense of the word.

    Seth J. Frantzman

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Guide for Goys
    Very detailed and fun guide to Judaism. A wonderful book particularly for the non-Jew, Goyim, and possibly as a basic teaching guide for Jews who are less studious with their faith. Captures everything from who Jews are to their origins and discusses different types of worship from conservative to orthdox to the Hasidism. The book not only covers the basic beliefs but also a modest history along with chapters on the specific holidays with straight forward explanations. Even includes a glossary of frequently used Jewish words, frequently asked questions, reference information and detail on the types of cultural food with recipes. Strong points are not only the description of the beliefs but the break down of the meanings of the holidays with guides on how to act, what to expect and what to bring. This book provides a very pleasant and positive look at the faith, capturing the celebration of life along with soulful reflection. The only criticism, which is mild, is that I wish the book had a broader glossary for quick reference utilizng more terms with small bios of the critical people involved.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great place to start
    This was the first book I ever read about Judaism, and it was a great place to start. Judaism for Dummies gives you an overview on Judaism in a lighthearted way that prepares you for later "heavier" reading on Judaism if you're interested.

    The book covers everything from the holidays and food, to history and various sects of Judaism. The authors manage to do this without your really being able to distinguish whether they're Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or something other.

    As someone who is exploring and thinking about attending a synagogue service, the book settles your mind and lets you know what the service will be like, what will take place, what is appropriate for you to participate in and what isn't. Finally, the end of the book is filled with a glossary to help with your growing vocabulary of Jewish terms and other references. Very helpful and not overwhelming for those just beginning to learn about Judaism.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'd Put More Thumbs Up, But I Only Have 2
    This book is a great book for ANYONE even slightly interested in Judaism--and it's very easy to understand...even for 16-year-olds like me. I agree that this book respectfully potrays all movements of Judaism. The authors display a love of tradition, but understand the importance of common sense, and seek to maintain that balance. As a former Christian (considering Judaism as an option), I also appreciate their respect for Christianity... But anyway...I like how they don't assume you're a complete idiot, but they make sure you understand the important things before you head of to a service, where you might embarass yourself...Well my point (and I do have one) to all of this is that Judaism for Dummies is worth every penny I spent.(duh.) :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Humerous and informative
    A great overview of just about everything Jewish there and how we relate and survive in the gentile world. I think that every religious faith should probably have a book like this. David and Rabbi Ted left me wanting more which is exactly what the book wants. ... Read more


    13. The 72 Names of God: Technology for the Soul
    by Yehudah Berg, Yehuda Berg
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1571891358
    Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
    Publisher: Kabbalah Publishing
    Sales Rank: 6905
    Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The 72 names of God were originally decoded from letters found in a biblical passage describing Moses' miraculous parting of the Red Sea. Rabbi Yehuda Berg translates these 72 names into familiar spiritual concepts, and shows readers how to these names can be useful creeds on the journey toward enlightenment. He explains that "the mystical power of the Hebrew letters that parted those waters can likewise part whatever Red Sea now confronts you in your own life." The letters may be ancient, but Berg's names read like modern catchphrases: "Angelic Influences," "Soul Mate," "Dumping Depression," and "Sexual Energy."Each one gets its own elegantly designed chapter and high impact graphic. Like most Kabbalah teachers, Berg emphasizes the importance of taming ego. Yet Berg also discusses how to keep the ego in check while still attaining sexual satisfaction and prosperity—tricky, but possible. With its stylized presentation and contemporary language, this makes a unique and inviting book on the Kabbalah. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

    Reviews (24)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The recipe for life!
    This book is the most amazing text yet written in modern times on the study of Kabbalah. If you have studied Kabbalah, you know the power and the influence of the Hebrew letters. Yehuda Berg has written a beautiful and "easy to understand" book that not only gives you an overview of Kabbalah and how it can transform your life and the world around us, but also gives us the "recipes" on how to use the 72 names to eliminate all forms of chaos from our lives. I have studied Kabbalah for five years, and this book has brought me to a new level of understanding. I suggest you read "The Power of Kabbalah", "The Way", and the "Secret" and then save "The 72 Names of God" as the dessert!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Cutting Edge of Self Help!
    Celebrate Yehuda Berg's The 72 Names of God! It is an exciting privilege at this time to learn to use the technology of the Hebrew letters that are the DNA of creation and our soul. These are the keys to open the doors to achieving mind over matter and truly creating miracles in our lives and in others. When meditating on the 72 Names we can use the power of our soul, mind and unseen forces of the universe to achieve higher consciousness, so that we can remove our egos, share with others and achieve genuine sustenance, peace and fulfillment within and way beyond this physical world! The tools in this book have given me the conviction and confidence to see real changes in my life. For example, when I scan on the Hebrew letter combination for Certainty, I truly see a difference in my life that removes doubt. It is amazing!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book
    Not only is the book beautiful, but it works.

    5-0 out of 5 stars i liked it
    im not an expert on kabbalah and i just stumbled across it one day but i have to say that after reading, God is a verb, the power of kabbalah and this book, the 72 names of God i have found something that i am passionate about and that makes me truly excited about God. this book has helped me and whether or not it is "kabbalistically accurate" or not has had no affect on the affect it has had on me. personally i loved it and it has instilled in me emotions that i have never felt with catholicisim, and that is coming from a baptized, confirmed, lifelong catholic.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Faux Kabbalah
    As a student of the Kabbalah, I have seen how the Kabbalah Centre (lead by this book's author) has been distilling Kabbalistic wisdom and selling it to the mass market.
    The way in which this books uses the 72 names of God, as described in the Bahir, is little more than a self-help meditation.

    THIS IS NOT KABBALAH.

    But it may help you if you are looking for just another self help exercise. ... Read more


    14. I And Thou
    by Martin Buber
    list price: $11.00
    our price: $8.25
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0684717255
    Catlog: Book (1971-02-01)
    Publisher: Free Press
    Sales Rank: 13840
    Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    I and Thou, Martin Buber's classic philosophical work, is among the 20th century's foundational documents of religious ethics. "The close association of the relation to God with the relation to one's fellow-men ... is my most essential concern," Buber explains in the Afterword. Before discussing that relationship, in the book's final chapter, Buber explains at length the range and ramifications of the ways people treat one another, and the ways they bear themselves in the natural world. "One should beware altogether of understanding the conversation with God ... as something that occurs merely apart from or above the everyday," Buber explains. "God's address to man penetrates the events in all our lives and all the events in the world around us, everything biographical and everything historical, and turns it into instruction, into demands for you and me." Throughout I and Thou, Buber argues for an ethic that does not use other people (or books, or trees, or God), and does not consider them objects of one's own personal experience. Instead, Buber writes, we must learn to consider everything around us as "You" speaking to "me," and requiring a response. Buber's dense arguments can be rough going at times, but Walter Kaufmann's definitive 1970 translation contains hundreds of helpful footnotes providing Buber's own explanations of the book's most difficult passages. --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

    Reviews (26)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Life-Changing
    This small book is obscure at times and difficult to grasp, yet it completely changed my life. I honestly think Buber wrote it poetically to encourage the reader to slow down and potentially I have a true encounter with the ideas. Most of Buber's later books seem to be developing the ideas expounded in I and Thou, so it might be helpful to read another Buber text, like Between Man and Man, alongside I and Thou. He becomes his own commentary. If you have the patience, I think you'll find this book opens a whole new perspective on relationships, our perspective on the world, and the potential for truly divine encounters.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Use the Kaufmann translation instead
    This is a great book, written originally in German. The German language has two second person singular pronouns: "dich", and "du". "Du" is reserved for intimate friends. RG Smith, in the 30's, translated Buber's book "Ich und Du", rendering "du" as "Thou". In 1969, after Buber died, his son asked Walter Kaufmann, himself a well-known philosopher and translater, to retranslate the text. Kaufmann renders "du" as "You". I think this makes all the difference in the world, whether you think of "Thou" as aloof and transcendent, or as "You", intimate and immanent. I recommend the Kaufmann translation over the Smith.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I always return to this book...
    The image of the self is incomplete without the image of the other. There are very few books that resonate so meaningfully or reflect the human condition as accurately as does I and Thou. Buber presses upon his reader the importance of engaging all of one's self in experience in order to be fully attuned to one's environment and the entities present in it, not to view the other as separate from the self but as vital and purposeful in its own self.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An alternative reading
    I think many people misread this book. Of course it is also possible that their interpretations are valid, but I think they miss what is for me the central and most interesting part of Buber's book.
    There are at least two strata of the contents of <>. The deeper one is the metaphysical framework on which the upper one, like Buber's conclusions in the field of ethics, theology &c. is based. Now this superficial part is the part of the contents that many readers exclusively notice. They are taken away by the poetic language and think that this book is some light and soft "life philosophy" or "mystical literature". Many people do not realize the rigorous and exact metaphysical system behind these spectacular "poetic prose" items. Why Buber uses poetic language is because it is well nigh impossible to talk about his topics in a clear everyday language. Because our everyday language lacks the cathegories necessary for the elucidation of such a theory on the structure of being as that of Buber, the user of the language has to revert to writing some sort of myth or metaphors in the hope that some readers may see through. If Buber had used geometrical metaphors instead of "poetic" language, then his book would have become less popular but may have been taken more seriously, for example, by pro-"analytic" readers of philosophy. Instead, because of the difficult language (Buber's language IS difficult, because it is hard to see through the emotional and poetic tone the underlying logical structure), Buber is often discarded as 'obscure' or hailed as 'writing beautiful poetic text'. In some sense both evaluations are true but from another viewpoint neither one is important.
    I'm not going to outline the system of this book, I think anyone will find it if he re-reads the book more carefully. The metaphysical doctrine of Buber is unusual and offers interesting features like the possibility of rethinking (or eliminating?) such relations like 'subject vs. object' or 'matter vs. mind' and rethinking the concept of 'being', that of 'individual objects' &c.
    When a thinker tries to subvert the traditional set of ontological concepts, he very likely begins to use 'obscure language' (like Buber did) or resorts to invent words (this was Heidegger's method). We, readers, often find such works obscure or we misread them because we already do have the 'everyday' scheme of concepts in our minds, which does not conform to the one used by the writer of the book.
    The already mentioned subversion of the traditional concept-scheme is revolutionary in philospohy in the sense that when traditional concept-patterns are disrupted, then many of the traditional problems are revealed as pseudo-problems or they can be solved and newer ones are found. That is why, for example, Heidegger is important, for he has once again set philosophy in motion with his radical new stance on the world. Buber, together with thinkers like Jaspers, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty etc. is one of the revolutionary philosophers of the 20th century. I don't mean that Buber is among the most important, but his work may be worth a reading because of its originality.
    And besides, it is still really beautiful a book and may be life-changing for many.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spirituality Palatable to Even the Crankiest of Aetheists
    Martin Buber has achieved something amazing in this slim book. All you really need to read is Part One of I and Thou (more appropriately translated as 'I and You' in my opinion) to understand his very practical philosophy. There is more profundity in those 30 pages than in all the religious / "metaphysical studies" / spirituality aisle books you'll ever see.

    For some reason, Buber is always shelved under Judaica, when Philosophy seems like a better place for him, but anyway don't be scared off by the religious categorization. This book is as secular as they come, and therefore safe for the avowed atheists out there.

    Anyway, after reading enormous doses of literature, and a pretty good smattering of Western philosophy, this was the first book to have simple, applicable advice; it is at one and the same time a metaphysical system and a doctrine of how to live the good life. As far as I know, these two branches of philosophy usually seem pretty far apart, except in religion, in which case you are forced to accept absurdities as the price of this marriage.

    Buber is neither an optimist nor a pessimist. He's an existentialist but I find him more 'useful' than other Ex's because his theory is not just a laying bare of hypocrisy -- Buber actually gives you a way of taking positive action to enrich your life.

    Lest you misunderstand this convoluted review, there is nothing Anthony Robbins-ish about Buber. He's not a rah-rah go team life coach lightweight.

    Just read it. ... Read more


    15. Kosher by Design: Picture Perfect Food for the Holidays & Every Day
    by Susie Fishbein
    list price: $32.99
    our price: $20.78
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1578197074
    Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
    Publisher: Mesorah Publications, Limited
    Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Impressed by cookbook
    I was skeptical about getting this book - just because a book has great pictures in it doesn't mean that the recipes are any good. This book is different. I haven't made a recipe yet that I didn't like. It also turns out exactly as pictured in the book. (I just made the white and dark chocolate mousse dessert and it looks incredible!) My sister-in-law told me that my Sunken Apple and Honey cake looks so good it should be pictured on the cover of a magazine! I highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Cookbook!
    Since I enjoyed "The Kosher Palette" Immensely I was eager to get my hands on this book. It more than fulfilled my expectations. I own over 50 cookbooks and have studied many many more both kosher and not kosher from my local library. I have found some cookbooks with good recipes and some that are well written and organized. This cookbook is both. The recipes are excellent and clearly written. The photos and layout are beautiful. It is truly a work of art both in a visual and gastronomical sense.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Some criticism allowed?
    Am I the only critical owner of this book? The pictures and layout are indeed stunning, but I found when I tried to produce the recipes many were overly sweet (chocolate pecan pie) or rich, and contained many very fattening additive rich ingredients.

    5-0 out of 5 stars best cookbook around!
    I received this book as a gift. It is so beautiful that I browsed through it a couple of times before I actually picked it up to find something to cook!
    Of the recipes I tested and tasted: Sesame Noodles (I made it without the chicken, and it was a yummy side dish - no leftovers there!!), Lemon Bundt Cake (nice, but not "wow"), Chocolate Pecan Pie (now here's a great find - for all those pecan pie lovers out there, who think the traditional recipe is a drop too rich and sweet, here's one for you!! The chocolate adds the right touch to balance the sweetness in this recipe! Still is great with a cup of milk, but it won't leave you nauseous like regular pecan pie!), and the Challah Napkin Rings came out beautiful and tasty!
    I'm planning my Shavuos menu now - first on the list are the Baby Blintzes, of course! (One look at the picture and I knew I have to make it!)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Gift
    When looking for a gift for my jewish friend, I came across this cookbook with it's eyecatching pictures, along with it's clear explanation of the holidays and their meanings. This convinced me that this was the perfect gift for her.

    The look of surprise and delight on my friends face when I gave it to her confirmed what I had thought when I first spotted it. I know she will enjoy it for years to come.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who is in need of a gift for a friend, family member or anyone who likes to cook. ... Read more


    16. The Way : Using the Wisdom of Kabbalah for Spiritual Transformation and Fulfillment
    by Michael Berg
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471228796
    Catlog: Book (2002-08-09)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 19135
    Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "The simple and practical wisdom I have gained by reading this book and studying Kabbalah is immeasurable."
    —Madonna

    "This book will inspire your soul. Michael Berg has accomplished the monumental task of translating the eternal truths of life into spiritual common sense. Without a doubt, The Way will become one of the sacred texts of your own life."
    –Caroline Myss, Ph.D., author of Anatomy of the Spirit and Sacred Contracts

    The spiritual way of Kabbalah has grown from a hidden treasure into a widespread mainstream movement that has helped people from every walk of life, all around the world, to improve their lives. In this bestselling book, Michael Berg of The Kabbalah Centre–the world’s leading educational institution teaching the wisdom of Kabbalah–shows you how to recognize and understand the key spiritual laws in order to improve your life and the lives of everyone around you. The Way will teach you meditation and prayer techniques and how to reduce emotional chaos and increase personal harmony. At once groundbreaking and so clearly written that it is accessible to anyone following any spiritual path, The Way provides the spiritual power tools to attain true fulfillment and happiness. ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Book That Reveals The Light and Makes You Want To Share It
    This book is an incredible book. If you were ever curious about Kabbalah this book is the answer. Michael Berg provides the reader with a clear interpretation of the meaning of Kabbalah, the meaning and purpose of life, and practical steps toward transformation. However, by no means should a reader look to Kabbalah as some kind of magic nor should a reader expect instant transformation. True transformation takes understanding, patience, time and a lot of work. Nevertheless, after reading this book one will realize that Kabbalah is a philosophy of truth and when studied will provide its students with a purpose in this world. There are a lot of Kabbalah books on the market today yet only a handful are worth the read. Michael Berg's contribution fills a void. He avoids an academic approach and goes directly to the heart, beauty and meaning of Kabbalah without getting bogged down in ecsoteric meanings, terms and definitions. Buy this book, put it in your personal library and return to it on a periodic basis. Let this book be the springboard on your way to personal and in turn to global transformation. Please note that this reviewer is in no way affiliated with the Kabbalah Center. In fact, this reviewer has some misgivings about the center which thrives by selling fairly expensive courses and products. For those serious students, stick to their free information on their website Kabbalah.com and another website called Kabbalah-web.org.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful introductory book on kabbalah
    Looking for a book that puts all the pieces of the puzzle together and opens the door to the age-old questions - why are we here? what is our purpose? how can we improve our lives? - well...here you go! this is a wonderful introductory work on kabbalah and personal spiritual transformation. This book helps tie all forms of mystical teachings together and gives answers where in other places, they may be lacking. If you are looking for answers, kabbalah is the key that unlocks the door and this is an excellent book to begin that journey.

    One thing I must add is that kabbalah deals with very deep and profound ideas. The important thing that is brought forward with this book is a way to share those ideas simply so that the broadest part of the public can have access to them in an easy to understand format. This book does that beautifully. The basic philosophy of kabbalah is most definitely something that should be available to ANYONE that is interested in making a difference, both for themselves and for others. The FOUNDATION SHOULD ESPECIALLY BE AVAILABLE TO OUR CHILDREN so that the next generation can get a headstart. Phooey on those who think that hoarding knowledge like this is proper. The reasons for prior secrecy of this knowledge are no longer applicable.

    We all must use all the tools at our disposal to become better people and learn how to better help others. This is one of those tools.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lifh Changing
    I read this book and it's opened a door for me. No other book, class, teacher, priest or what ever opened this door to a new life change. I felt the force of life awakening inside of me, feel there is a reason to be alive and that the force helps me be strong when push come to shove. Through all my life that I have been in pain, suffering and problems hitting me from all around, I start to look at things differently now. Only Michael Berg with his wonderful book 'The Way' did it for me. Now I can say I am a new person, ready to kick life back into truck and show all those negative forces where they really belong. Now I look at my difficulties in a different way and have a technique how to fight back and get my life as I really disserve. I want to really thank Michael Berg that gave us this book 'The Way' because without it I would be lost forever. My love and best wishes to you and your family.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Not a book about Kabbalah at all
    This is a watered-down, overly simplified book about a subject worthy of much more serious and accurate commentary. The author has taken one tenet of Kabbalah (receiving for the sake of sharing) and basically written a whole book that repeats the same thing over and over. This is true of all of the books published by the Kabbalah Centre, an organization of questionable origins and fundraising methods. Beware of the underlying yet hidden message in this book-give the Kabbalah Centre your money and you will get more "light".

    Please do yourself a favor and read serious works by authentic Kabbalists like Rav Michael Laitman and Rav Yehuda Ashlag. This book trivializes Kabbalah and its true teachings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Do you know what a parable is?
    A wonderful book. As with any spiritual reading, take pieces that your soul embraces with you and ponder the things that you don't like and then decide. The one aspect I LOVED were the parabales. For those that have forgotten, they are stories which teach lessons. One of the wonderful things about Judiasm. This book is definitely worth your time. ... Read more


    17. Kosher By Design Entertains: Fabulous Recipes For Parties And Every Day
    by Susie Fishbein
    list price: $34.99
    our price: $23.09
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1578194474
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
    Publisher: Mesorah Publications, Limited
    Sales Rank: 10183
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Susie Fishbein has done it again! A new cookbook with all the elegance and flair of the original best-selling Kosher by Design, with more magnificent photography, great ideas and an array of fabulous recipes! Each recipe is simple yet elegant enough for any Shabbat, holiday, party or everyday meal. In addition, Susie reveals the secrets of successful hostesses. From an outdoor picnic to a formal anniversary dinner, Susie knows how to make your guests feel at home.

    Kosher By Design Entertains features:
    Over 250 brand new recipes and 200 stunning color photographs
    Triple-tested recipes ensure accuracy, ease of preparation and elegant presentation
    Nine different party formats complete with menu suggestions
    Tips on creating the perfect ambience
    Special Passover index
    Resource and Buying Guide ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book and Lots of Good Ideas
    The only problem I have with this cookbook is that I look at it and the food is beautiful. My own results will (usually) please the ones doing the eating, but they sure aren't going to look this good.

    I notice in the opening of the book she refers to her creative team to set a mood, set a table, accessorize it, and given us room for inspiration. I guess that's it. I don't have a creative team. I notice a couple of times she covers the table with something for her husband. Yes, it looks great, but the old man probably wouldn't notice any difference if it were covered with yesterday's newspaper.

    But what you really want out of a cookbook is the recipies. And what you really look for in recipies is something that sounds good, but which you are probably going to just use as a place to start as you add/subtract things that you like better. And I've got to say, I got some great ideas here. I have tried everything I want to use, but I will.

    5-0 out of 5 stars MOVE OVER MARTHA!
    Move over, Martha...there's a new cook on the block!

    Kosher by Design Entertains is definitely not your typical Kosher cookbook. There are over 250 innovative, inspired recipes, including Tri-Colored Matzo Balls, Mexican Gefilte Fish, Seared Duck Salad, Roasted Eggplant Soup, Balsamic Braised Brisket with Shallots and Potatoes, Hazelnut and Honey Crusted Veal Chop, and Triple Chocolate Explosion. Wow! Susie Fishbein obviously loves to use the best ingredients available to make elegantly simple, yet innovative food that wows the eye as well as the palate.

    Kosher By Design Entertains is jam-packed with magnificent photography that is so mouth-watering, it may even inspire you to rush right into your kitchen and start cooking! There are fabulous photo spreads for nine different party themes, each for a different occasion with a different format, e.g., a baby shower (dessert buffet), engagement party (cocktail party), anniversary party (formal dinner) and housewarming (buffet). The creative and eye-catching presentations have been designed to inspire you to adapt the details to your own entertaining needs.

    If you are looking for some delicious twists to update your traditional Passover menu, look no further. The Passover Guide at the back of the book lists 70 recipes, along with substitutions and modifications, that are appropriate for Passover. Recipes are designated as meat, dairy, pareve and gebrokts.

    She includes suggested menus for other Jewish Holidays, a Resource Guide for unusual kosher ingredients, and a Buying Guide for the cooking tools and housewares that are photographed throughout the book.

    Fishbein is an everyday cook who loves to share her passion for cooking and entertaining with friends and family. Remarkably, she is mostly self-taught. However, chefs from three famous restaurants worked with her in her own kitchen to develop some of the recipes for this book, providing a fusion of Italian, French and Asian cultures.

    When I spoke with Susie recently to interview her for a Passover article on my website Gourmania.com, I asked her for some simple suggestions for an elegant, hassle-free Passover Seder menu, plus some of her favorite recipes (you can find the recipes below on my website).

    "I don't like to have 17 dishes on the table," she replied. "I prefer a lot less food and like to choose dishes that don't cause stress. I know there will be kids at a Seder and they love my green Shrek-style Spinach Matzo Balls. They can be made in advance, which is perfect."

    I asked her what she would suggest as a main dish. Without hesitating, she said, "Rib Roast with Melted Tomatoes is outstanding. It tastes best when served fresh, so it would make an ideal main course for the second Seder, Sunday evening. The hasselback potatoes also taste best fresh from the oven."

    I asked about her Roasted Beet Salad. Susie said "Not one person in my family likes beets. Not one person left a drop of this salad over when I served it and it was requested the very next night! You can easily make it in advance."

    Without a doubt, "Kosher by Design Entertains" belongs in every Jewish kitchen! It is an outstanding resource for elegant entertaining with ease.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Transforming kosher cuisine
    Susie Fishbein is transforming the way we look at kosher cuisine and putting it on par with any other gourmet food. This is an entertaining cookbook first filled with fabulous recipes and fun party ideas and a kosher cookbook second. Besides her own recipes, the book has those from top restaurant chefs as well. The book also has a much appreciated food resource list for unusual and hard to find items.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the best
    Usually when I buy cookbooks, I read them try maybe 1 or 2 items and then they collect dust.But this one hasn't left my counter since the day I bought it.I highly recommend purchasing this book; and not only for the food- but the table settings are brilliant

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book has been better than therapy!
    Like most guys, I never know what to give as a gift.So when my mother's birthday approached, I felt that old tightness in my chest.Then I happened to see this new cookbook.It inspired me. So - I gave it to Mom and I think it made up for all the lousy gifts I gave her over the years - starting with that toad when I was five! She calls me almost daily to tell me what new recipe she tried.And I get invited over to taste test everything now!Thanks, Susie Fishbein.A therapist couldn't have improved things to this degree! ... Read more


    18. When Bad Things Happen to Good People: Twentieth Anniversary Edition, with a New Preface by the Author
    by HAROLD S. KUSHNER
    list price: $21.00
    our price: $14.28
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805241930
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-04)
    Publisher: Schocken
    Sales Rank: 32829
    Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    As a young theology student, Harold Kushner puzzled over the Book of Job. As a small-town rabbi he counseled other people through pain and grief. But not until he learned that his three-year-old son, Aaron, would die in his early teens of a rare disease did he confront one of life's most difficult questions: Where do we find the resources to cope when tragedy strikes?

    "I knew that one day I would write this book," says Rabbi Kushner. "I would write it out of my own need to put into words some of the most important things I have come to believe and know. And I would write it to help other people who might one day find themselves in a similar predicament. I am fundamentally a religious man who has been hurt by life, and I wanted to write a book that could be given to the person who has been hurt by life, and who knows in his heart that if there is justice in the world, he deserved better. . . . If you are such a person, if you want to believe in God's goodness and fairness but find it hard because of the things that have happened to you and to people you care about, and if this book helps you do that, then I will have succeeded in distilling some blessing out of Aaron's pain and tears."

    Since its original publication in 1981, When Bad Things Happen to Good People has brought solace and hope to millions. In his new preface to this anniversary edition, Rabbi Kushner relates the heartwarming responses he has received over the last two decades from people who have found inspiration and comfort within these pages.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (71)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good People Turn to be Better humans Indeed!
    Harold Kushner's book has an insight for a heart touching, warming feeling for those who got to be content with Suffering. Some of the other time in life, we suffer. Why do we have to suffer? Why do Bad things Happen? Why Me? These and many questions surface our minds and that's when our 'Faith' is challenged. Why do we turn to the same God who makes it happen? The author came to see god when he faced the worst trials in his life of having lost his son Aaron when he was fourteen. God weeps with us and would not abandon us and can fill the deepest needs of an anguished heart says Harold. The story of job inspires and builds the strength and courage. Harold provides invaluable reassurances and his words are source of comfort in times of bad things happening just out of the blue. His logic that when bad things happen we dump our anger on others or turn it on ourselves. Sometimes angry on God. Why me? And then referring to Cain killing his brother Abel in a fit of jealousy...all through Harold soothes the mind to relax and be at peace saying 'God can't do everything, but he can do some important things' This ticks the mind Fate, not god, sends us the problem. If we are weak, we get angry, overwhelmed. Its faith strong all the way and God rewards in his own fashion; Knows much better what he has to do. A must book to be read by all people in trouble, no matter what their religios faith. Indeed, When Bad things happen, be positive, What happens, happens for good. Good People turn to be Better.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The truth will set you free.
    I read this life changing book in the early 1980's after experiencing many setbacks in my own life, our family business was very stressful and on the decline and most importantly my husband's 2 heart attacks at the age of 41 and by-pass surgery thereafter.

    This book changed my perception of God from a controlling God to a compassionate God.

    Written after the death of his 13 year old son who had a disease called "progeria" rapid aging, Rabbi Kushner shares with us his insights and his relationship with God. This transformation came after much pain, anger, blame and feelings of despair. The familiar words of Job: " Why me Lord," came to him often and after much scrutiny, Rabbi Kushner is convinced that this is not the God that he believed in, God would not take his son from him, God would not punish in such a cruel way. God was and is a compassionate and merciful God.

    This is Rabbi Kushner's gift to us, the conviction, belief and knowledge that God is a loving God.

    3-0 out of 5 stars "There are better choices to understand the mind of God..."
    Dr. Kushner was well-intentioned in his authorship of this book to be sure. However, his basic conclusion is that God is either all-powerful or all-loving. Since bad things happen, God isn't all powerful.

    The theology is faulty. As Christ was fully God, and still fully human, so God can be loving and powerful without losing either attribute. God's power never works outside His perfect will, and sometimes that will permits evil.

    A much better book on endurance through adversity is "With Joseph in the University of Adversity". This book will answer most questions Kushner poses from a much more conservative and scriptural point of view.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A sincere and thoughtful book
    I must admit, I have not read this book yet, but aim to do so. I heard Mr. Kushner speak about his book on the God Squad and the message of his book .I found it extremely sincere and thoughtful. I think this book would put many people at rest with some of their un-answered question.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read when searching for God after a loss.
    After the recent loss of my infant daughter, I was searching for answers and trying hard to stay connected to God and continue to believe in Him. Being faced with the death of an otherwise perfectly healthy baby it was very difficult to believe that

    1. God is a good, loving God.
    2. God is a just/fair God.
    3. God controls everything.

    How could God be fair and good when he would take the life of an innocent child? Why, if God controls everything, and is good, would he not spare this precious life? Why, if God is fair, would he "punish" this little girl with months of pain and suffering before her ultimate death?

    For anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, particularly a child, this is a powerful book. Rabbit Kushner has addressed these painful questions with clarity and love for God. He uses the bible to back up his analysis and tells his story in a manner that everyone can understand. He also speaks to the horrible things that so many people, who think they are helping, say to those who have lost a loved one.

    What matters is not so much if one agrees with Rabbi Kushner's analysis, it matters that he puts forth a way to stay close to God while working through your grief. At this time, I choose to agree with Rabbi Kushner's analysis. For all those who wish to tell me it is incorrect, I know they do not have my best interest at heart. Staying close and connected to God and not turning from him must be my goal. If I cannot at this time reconcile what I thought to be true with my reality, and it causes me to turn away from God or question God, nothing else matters. Anything that can help me continue love and give praise to God while I continue to work through my grief is valuable.

    I commend Rabbi Kushner and consider this book a must read for anyone who has suffered a loss. ... Read more


    19. Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism
    by Dennis Prager, Joseph Telushkin
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0671622617
    Catlog: Book (1986-04-21)
    Publisher: Touchstone
    Sales Rank: 23446
    Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    If you have ever wondered what being born Jewish should mean to you; if you want to find out more about the nature of Judaism, or explain it to a friend; if you are thinking about how Judaism can connect with the rest of your life -- this is the first book you should own. It poses, and thoughtfully addresses, questions like these:

    Can one doubt God's existence and still be a good Jew?
    Why do we need organized religion?
    Why shouldn't I intermarry?
    What is the reason for dietary laws?
    How do I start practicing Judaism?

    The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism was written for the educated, skeptical, searching Jew, and for the non-Jew who wants to understand the meaning of Judaism. It has become a classic and very widely read introduction to the oldest living religion. Concisely and engagingly, authors Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin present Judaism as the rational, moral alternative for contemporary man. ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nine Answers To Nine Questions
    I am happy to report that it offers nine concise but dense and provocative answers to the nine questions it poses. Certainly people ask more than nine questions about Judaism but the book is clearly most targeted at the assimilated, disillusioned or curious nonpracticing Jew. It is perfect and on target in its speculations of main issues that trouble and perplex nonpracticing Jews (ex. How do you explain the immoral religious Jews). What makes this worthwhile reading for the non Jew is that a large bulk of the material deals with theological and metaphysical issues thoughtfully. It's also a poised argument for the superiority of religious ethics over secular ethics. Interspersed throughout the chapters are many sharp and fascinating sound bites and quotes. The mainstream success of the authors both as writers and public speakers owes to their eloquent style which is persuasive but not absolutist. Their tone is one of sharing knowledge and belief, not forcing knowledge and belief. The authors do a wonderful job of providing a logical exposition on the soundness and consequence of ethical monotheism. This book will appeal to all Jews and to anyone who has an interest in spiritual reasoning.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro, focus on ethics and ideas over ritual
    Nine simple and obvious questions, but most secular and even many (most?) more observant Jews don't know or really understand the answers. Perfect for the Jew, prospective convert, or interested Gentile wondering what Judaims thinks about the big issues and how it arrives at its answers. Prager is generally credited as a modernist but serious Jew who has brought more to Judaism and its ideal of ethical monotheism than perhaps any other commentator/lecturer. Telushkin, a rabbi, provides the scholarly support.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Why Christians should read this book
    Looking back on my college years, I can honestly say that I learned more from listening daily to Dennis Prager on the radio than from attending my classes. What is tragicomic is that I paid over $100,000 for my Pomona College education, whereas my lessons from Prager were free.

    Prager is a Jewish talk radio host who also teaches the Bible at the University of Judaism. His mission in life is "to get people obsessed with what is right and wrong." He does this primarily through his nationally syndicated talk radio show in which he discusses the great moral issues of the day. He often receives challenges from a variety of callers, and I have never heard him lose a debate. I once heard Alan Dershowitz on the show, and Prager wiped the floor with the Harvard law professor. A few years back, Prager also memorably debated an Oxford philosophy professor on the question, "Can man be good without God?", and he triumphed yet again.

    But interestingly enough, while I have never heard a greater defender of Judeo-Christian values in the secular world than Prager, I have never experienced anyone undermine my faith as much as he has either. Since I will be recommending one of his books, I first need to mention a brief caveat before explaining why I think believers ought to read The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism.

    In college I read the works of existentialists, evolutionists, higher critics, et al, and still felt secure in the religion that I grew up with since birth. I could see through their smoke and mirrors, and I could sufficiently meet the objections posed by my classmates and professors in and outside of class. I must confess this was due in no small measure to listening to how Prager handled such objections from his callers.

    But one day as I was listening to Prager's show, he posed a question that I had never thought of before. It provoked several Christians to call in, and my heart and faith began to sink as I heard him shoot down caller after caller. The question was: How can a just God require perfection from imperfect people? By contrasting the apparent unfairness of Christianity with Judaism (which requires neither perfection nor even belief in God to go to heaven), Prager was making a strong case against Christianity and for the reasonableness of the Jewish faith. His statement that a moral giant like Gandhi could go to heaven, at least according to Judaism, which emphasizes good acts over right belief, powerfully resonated with me.

    To make a long story short, after about a month of searching through books, calling ministers, looking online, all to no avail, I finally came upon a small book by R.C. Sproul titled, Reason to Believe. It introduced me to John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, St. Augustine, i.e., the Reformed faith. The doctrine of original sin, as explicated by these masters, answered the challenge and my faith was reborn.

    In light of my own personal quandary, my caveat is that The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism devotes a chapter on why many ethnic Jews are not Christians. The chapter is disturbing especially for new Christians, thus I would not recommend this book for them. Reading Nine Questions might be comparable to a Mormon reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. In fact in my opinion it is Judaism as interpreted by most ethnic Jews, and not Freud or Nietzche, that has presented the most potent objections against Christianity. So why should Christians read this book?

    Christianity is a Jewish religion. 70% of the Bible was written in Hebrew. The heroes of the faith were Jews. (Hebrew 11-12) Indeed the New Testament itself professes that Judaism is the root of Christianity. As Paul reminds Gentile believers, "You do not support the root, but the root supports you." (Romans 11:18) The New Testament by definition is a continuum. You cannot understand it fully without understanding the Old Testament.

    Therefore Christians should read this book in particular because it is the Mere Christianity of Judaism written by the C.S. Lewis of the Jews. And a firmer grounding of the root of one's faith can only lead to more fruit. Did you know, for example, that the purpose of keeping kosher reflects an ethical concern for the suffering of animals? Or did you know that the Jews' life calling is to perfect the world under the rule of God? Even wrestling with the book's chapter on Christianity will make you stronger or reveal just how weak your faith really is. The book's devastating critiques of atheism and humanism, its enlightening explanation of Jewish traditions, and its arguments for the importance of organized religion are some other reasons to pick up this quick read.

    The nine questions addressed in the book are:

    1. Can one doubt God's existence and still be a good Jew?
    2. Why do we need organized religion or Jewish laws - isn't it enough to be a good person?
    3. If Judaism is supposed to make people better, how do you account for unethical religious Jews and for ethical people who are not religious?
    4. How does Judaism differ from Christianity, Marxism and Communism, and Humanism?
    5. What is the Jewish role in the world?
    6. Is there a difference between anti-zionism and anti-semitism?
    7. Why are so many young Jews alienated from Judaism and the Jewish people?
    8. Why shouldn't I intermarry - doesn't Judaism believe in universal brotherhood?
    9. How do I start practicing Judaism?

    2-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Prager, Please Calm Down
    Ah, Dennis Prager. He can't write a book called Nine Questions People Ask about Judaism. No, he has to write, THE Nine Questions People Ask about Judaism. But this is typical Prager. His questions are just the topics upon which he wants to pontificate. On most questions, he could state his positions quite succinctly, but he prefers to belabor each point with the gleanings of his thesaurus.

    The questions themselves don't mine any new territory of Judaic thought, nor pull new wisdom from old problems. As far as I was concerned, questions two and six are self-evident-- they're not really questions. Question eight, whether or not to intermarry, is certainly a question, but because Prager confines the argument to Judaism's tenet of "universal brotherhood," the question becomes some sort of logical fallacy.

    To argue this question in terms of "universal brotherhood" only is to fall through the sand before the first sentence is out of your mouth. Serious debaters can pursue this question for days with powerful and substantial arguments on both sides that have nothing to do with some sort of ideal of "universal brotherhood."

    Prager also asserts, with no support, that most people form their religious belief at a young age, and never examine them again as long as they don't become rabbis. Further, his question seven accepts without examination the much believed, but as far as I know unproved, "fact" that young people feel alienated from Judaism.

    I read this book as a young Jew, a young Jew who read Torah on a regular basis, had been active in Hillel, observed ALL the holidays, and shomer Shabbes. I really resented his broad generalizations about young people.

    But that's Dennis Prager. I haven't read anyone who takes himself more seriously since Rabbi Shammai. His narrative voice is so pompous, I keep waiting for him to declare himself infallible.

    What's more, Prager has an agenda. I've read others of his works, and he has a very conservative political agenda, with some odd quirks, that he had tried other times to link with Judaism. I see him doing it here again. When he poses, then answers, these particular questions, he pretends to speak for Judaism (Judaism reified). I don't agree with him, and I resent what he is trying to do.

    If he would be honest about his agenda, and then try to demonstrate that the Torah or the nava'im offer him proof text, that might be different, but what he is doing here is dishonest, and since this book is marketed as an introduction to Judaism, I think it's a poor show.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for beginning Judaism students
    We used this text in our adult Judaism class, and I, as non-Jew. in a moderate Conservative synagoguge, 'shiksa", in fact, found it most eloquent and to-the-point, of the many textbooks I have read in this genre. You can't go wrong with Telushkin and Prager ( the moderate voices crying out in the wilderness ). ... Read more


    20. Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures, The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
    by Jewish Publication Society
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0827602529
    Catlog: Book (1985-09-01)
    Publisher: Jewish Publication Society of America
    Sales Rank: 50126
    Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (28)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Scholarly Acheivement
    I once heard it said that reading the bible in translation is like "kissing through a veil." I am sure that Jews with various backgrounds will be disputing the merits of this translation as vigorously as Christians of different backgrounds dispute NT translations. Being a religious scholar must be a thankless job, especially if you are dealing with scripture translation.

    That being said, this is an excellent and scholarly achievement. As a Christian, I have all the major scholarly English language translations of the scriptures available. (I am speaking of the ones that include the NT... the NRSV, RSV, NAB, KJV, NKJV etc.) The translations of the Hebrew scriptures in some of these editions are lacking. The psalms in the new NAB for example are terrible in places.

    Thus far I have given Genesis and the Psalms a careful reading in the JPS. I have not been disappointed. The more reliable and scholarly translations I have for comparison the better. Plus, Oxford just published the Jewish Study Bible that uses the JPS translations, and also includes commentary from top Jewish theologians. This is really an asset. I get an excellent translation from the original Hebrew but I also get commentary from a Jewish perspective. This aids my understanding. Jesus was a faithful Jew, and working to both understand and appreciate Judaism seems essential to me.

    Some prior reviews by Christians bash the JPS translations as being "de-christianized." Hogwash. These translations are excellent, scholarly, and truly helpful. Any Christian clergyman or scholar ought to have them at his or her disposal. Ideally, Christians would be more like Jews and learn Hebrew, and some Greek in addition, and have copies of the original sources at their disposal. However it is not a perfect world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, stunning and accurate translation!
    The Tanakh is a thoroughly researched and readable volume. It was refreshing to read the bible stories I grew up with in an accurate translation for adults, rather than as a pre-digested group of children's stories. Moreover, it was wonderful to read a first generation translation from the original Hebrew, rather than a rewrite of an old English translation. Additionally, one of the many benefits is that JPS chose to include, not only its own translation, but footnotes that refer to the translations of others, allowing the reader to identify and understand the differences. Its prose is modern and clear. This is a translation that will last long into the 21st century.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very readable translation
    I own several copies of the "New" JPS translation (it has been around for a few decades now). I own the original three volume edition, the full-size and the pocket size with and without Hebrew text. And despite the fact that I have a few other bibles (including the Judaica Press edition of various books and the entire Soncino Bible) this is the one that I refer to the most.

    The translation is readable and accurate although not in the literal sense. When they stray from the literal meaning, it is included in a footnote, as good scholarship requires.

    The Hebrew-English addition has the original text facing the translation, which is sometimes helpful if you want to improve your vocabulary, but only beware, the translations is not always word for word.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent beginning...
    for those of us still coming up to speed on biblical Hebrew. I do enjoy this translation which is very readable and accessible, although (like any translation) there are some passages others prefer to read from another translation. Its a very good volume for those beginning to study Torah. This edition's only drawback is that its size is a bit awkward for travel.

    I would also recommend the JPS Hebrew-English pocket TANAKH-- the same JPS translation, the Hebrew print is suprisingly readable, and it makes an excellent travel companion.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I want to learn and understand
    I know that this might sound ridiculous. But i went to hebrew school and i was bat mitvahed when i was 19 , to prove to my mom i could do it. Well I lost my mom dec.2003 and i want to get in touch with my religion i guess i want to learn more i have never read the holy scriptures in full. This is easy to read and explains a lot. ... Read more


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