The first tribute to Lord Sacks in his final year as chief rabbi will take place on Monday night at a book launch. This time it will be not for one of his own books — and his output has been prolific — but a collection of essays written in his honour.
This is a beautifully produced book, clearly set out and accessibly written, which will no doubt make it a welcome addition to those who want to buy an attractive gift for a child celebrating bar- or batmitzvah.
The product of a group who met over many years, this book is remarkable for the appreciative openness its members achieved with each other. Dialogue is always a journey, beginning with suspicion of the other accompanied by a desire to defend the obvious rightness of one’s own position. If it works, there is meeting and engagement, re-imaging of one’s own tradition and of the other.
The Talmud is often thought of as a legal source-book, which sets the precedents for Jewish practice. But it is also a work of imagination in which the rabbis explored the world and its ways through parables and anecdotes.
Bible is used by very different groups to support their own view of morality, and this book was written not to provide the definitive view of what the Bible teaches, but to make the biblical evidence known to those who would use it.
The arrival of the Koren Talmud must be the Judaica publishing event of the year. It combines the production quality for which the Jerusalem-based publishers are renowned with the pioneering commentary and translation of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.
The second of Rabbi Dr Benny Lau's monumental Chachamim series to be translated into English, this work, like its companion three volumes (three so far), looks at the development and challenges of the Jewish people through the lives and teachings of rabbinical leaders.