Judaism book reviews

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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A prayer mystery: who started Kaddish?

By Simon Rocker, January 29, 2009

The mourners’ Kaddish is one of Judaism’s most familiar prayers. But where did the custom to recite it originate? It is a question that has intrigued one of the guests at next month’s Jewish Book Week, Leon Charney, author of The Mystery of the Kaddish. Charney, 67, is one of those men of many parts with a book-length CV. He studied Bible and Talmud at Yeshiva University, New York before financing himself through law school by singing in synagogue — he still has a fine chazan’s voice.

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