Judaism book reviews

Review: The Wisdom Books

By Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, May 12, 2011

A translation with commentary by Robert Alter, W.W.Norton, £25


Review: I'm God, You're Not

By Simon Rocker, March 31, 2011

Lawrence Kushner
Jewish Lights, $21.99


The Relationship of Orthodox Jews with Believing Jews of Other Religious Ideologies and Non-Believing Jews

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, March 10, 2011

Edited Adam Mintz, Ktav $30

As suggested by its rather unwieldy title, this volume tackles some of the thornier aspects of inter-denominational interaction from modern Orthodox perspectives. It is a sequence of papers, originally presented at one of Yeshiva University's Orthodox Forums by a distinguished group of educators, professors and yeshivah heads.


Review: Great Reform Lives

By Simon Rocker, January 27, 2011

Edited Jonathan Romain
The Movement for Reform Judaism, £9.99

This short collection of pen portraits of leading Reform figures was produced to mark the bicentenary of the first Progressive service in 1810. Sketched by various members of the British Reform rabbinate, they have been edited by Jonathan Romain, who gives a typically concise and lucid introduction to the principles of Reform.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.