Judaism books

On Changes in Jewish Liturgy – Options and Limitations

April 4, 2011

Daniel Sperber
Urim Publications, $23

The English-born Bar Ilan University scholar looks at how far one can change the text of the Orthodox siddur – including to the morning blessing "who has not made me a woman".

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Meeting Jews – the Struggle to Bring God Down to Earth

January 10, 2011

Marcus Braybrooke
Christians Aware (Leicester) £12.50 (+£4 p&p)

Former Council of Christians and Jews director, the Reverend Marcus Braybrooke, draws on his 40 years of interfaith experience to offer Christians an insight into the Jewish community and of the Jewish contribution to civilisation.

"Christians cannot come close to Jews until they appreciate why Israel is so important to most Jews," he says.

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Sacred Treasure - The Cairo Genizah

November 19, 2010

Rabbi Mark Glickman
Jewish Lights, $24.99

Rabbi Mark Glickman, of Washington, tells the story of one of the great archaeological Jewish finds: 300,000 ancient documents secreted in the attic of an Egyptian synagogue – including early copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls and samples of Maimonides’s own handwriting.

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Asking the Rabbis

October 11, 2010

Living the Halachic Process volume II
By Eretz Hemdat Institute
Maggid (distributed in UK by Kuperard), £16.99

Can you violate Shabbat in order to save the life of a pet?

Can you use white wine for kiddush?

These are some of the questions submitted to the Jerusalem-based Eretz Hemdat Institute, which runs one of the better online Ask-the-rabbi services.

This collection contains short, reader-friendly responses – none is longer than two and a half pages – on a variety of issues.

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High and holy days - A book of Jewish wisdom

By Simon Rocker, August 26, 2010

By Andrew Goldstein and Charles Middleburgh
Canterbury Press £14.99

The month of Ellul is traditionally a warm-up for Rosh Hashanah. The rabbis of old knew that it can be difficult to get in the mood for the Days of Awe without some kind of preparation: hence the twice daily recitation from the beginning of the month of Psalm 27, "The Lord is my light", the blowing of the shofar at the end of shacharit and the saying of selichot, penitential prayers, the week before Rosh Hashanah.

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Jewish history on one leg

July 27, 2010

Professor Michael Brenner of Munich University travels from ancient Mesopotamia to modern Israel in his 400-page history of the Jewish people.

A Short History of the Jews
By Michael Brenner, translated by Jeremiah Riemer
Princeton, £20.95

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New edition of Tishah b’Av laments

July 12, 2010

The Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot
Edited by Simon Posner
OU Press/Koren, £16.99
distributors: Kuperard

Just in time for Tishah b’Av, Koren has brought out a fine new edition of the liturgy for the fast including the Book of Lamentations and the kinot – dirges – recited on the saddest day of the calendar. It comes with an extensive commentary from the late Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik based on his lectures.

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The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey

April 23, 2010

The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey
By Steve Sheinkin,
Jewish Lights, $16.99

Steve Sheinkin’s Rocky Mountain Rav is back, this time in his first book-length adventure, where he is up against villains Bad Bubbe Bloom and Big Milt Wasserman who want to drive him out of town.

Will our kosher cowboy hero live to teach Talmud for another day?

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Purim and the Persian Empire

March 3, 2010

By Yehuda Landy
Feldheim, $34.99

Strictly Orthodox rabbis have generally been wary of archaeology as a weapon wielded by sceptics to challenge the truth of the Bible.

So Rabbi Yehuda Landy’s coffee-table Megillah, published by the Orthodox Feldheim house, is unusual in using ancient sources to present a backdrop to the events of the Purim story.

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