Judaism book reviews

Exodus: The Book of Redemption

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, December 29, 2010

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
OU/Maggid, £16.99

This second volume of Chief Rabbi Sacks's essays on the weekly parashiyot, containing articles adapted from his popular electronic Covenant and Conversation series, will find a broad and receptive audience.

Attractively produced, the book includes a powerful thematic introduction to Shemot and four essays for each of the 11 parashiyot. As ever, Rabbi Sacks blends literary and philosophical references with classic rabbinical sources to create a sophisticated, thought-provoking, yet readable, collection.

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The Jews of San Nicandro

By Simon Rocker, December 2, 2010

John A Davis
Yale University Press, £20

I was talking recently to Professor Tudor Parfitt of London School’s Oriental and African Studies when he he mentioned a story which I had never heard before: about a band of Catholic villagers from San Nicandro in a remote region of south east Italy who took up Judaism in the 1930s and eventually settled in Israel. By chance, just a couple of days later, a new book on the subject appeared at the office.

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An Orthodox American revolutionary

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, November 12, 2010

Rabbi Sherer: the paramount Torah spokesman of our era
Yonoson Rosenblum
ArtScroll Mesorah, £21.25

This book is a biography of Rabbi Moshe (Morris) Sherer, the visionary leader of American (and latterly of World) Agudath Israel from the 1960s until his death. Its author, Yale-educated Rabbi Yonason Rosenblum, is perhaps the most eloquent English-language spokesman for Charedi Jewry.

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Jewish Theology in Our Time

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2010

Edited by Rabbi Elliot J Cosgrove
Jewish Lights, $24.99

We are told so often that Jewish practice is more important than belief that it is possible to think that belief really is not that important at all. Yet belief is the blood that flows through the veins of Judaism; it might not be visible but Judaism would wither without it.

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The Gospels' Veiled Agenda – Revolution, Priesthood and the Holy Grail

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2010

Harry Freedman
O Books, £11.99

At the Limmud conference a couple of years ago, one of the bestselling books was an introduction to the New Testament written by a rabbi. It indicated the growing trend of Jewish curiosity about the origins of Christianity, whose sacred texts would once have simply been shunned as antisemitic heresy.

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Judaism: A Way of Being

By Harvey Belovski, reviewer, April 8, 2010

Judaism: A Way of Being
By David Gelernter
Yale University Press, £20

In this unusual work, Professor David Gelernter offers a romantic vision of the major ideas and practices of Judaism. Gelernter, who teaches computer science at Yale, became well-known in 1993 as a victim of the Unabomber; although critically injured by a mail-bomb, he has continued to write prolifically.

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Review: An Introduction to medieval Jewish philosophy

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, July 30, 2009

By Daniel Rynhold
IB Tauris, £16.99

In this erudite, yet accessible, work, Daniel Rynhold of Yeshiva University (and previously of King’s College London and the London School of Jewish Studies), introduces the primary medieval Jewish philosophers and their main ideas.

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Intoxicated with God and Torah

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, June 17, 2009

And from there
shall you seek
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
Ktav, 2009, £22
Reviewed by Rabbi Harvey Belovski

This breathtaking work by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, arguably the foremost creative scholar and influential leader of 20th-century American Jewry, resists easy categorisation. Drawing on the Jewish longing for God allegorised in the Song of Songs, “the Rav” sets out to address the great existential issues from a sophisticated perspective.

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The influential ‘granny’ of Bible teachers

By Vicki Belovski, May 21, 2009

Nehama Leibowitz, Teacher and Bible Scholar
Yael Unterman
Urim Publications, $39.95

This biography looks at the life and methodology of Nehama Leibowitz, certainly one of the most influential Tanach (Bible) teachers of modern Israel. Born in Latvia, she was educated in Germany after her family moved to Berlin in her teens, gaining a doctorate before marrying and moving to Palestine in 1930.

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Faith that heals the suffering heart

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2009

The Blessing of a Broken Heart
By Sherri Mandell
The Toby Press, £9.99

A Jewish Woman’s Prayer Book
Edited by Aliza Lavie, Spiegel and Grau
Distributed Kuperard, £24.99

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