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Jewish Book Week's glaring gap

    This month's Jewish Book Week is not only one of the biggest events in the Anglo-Jewish calendar, it is also one of the country's major literary festivals. The impressive cast for 2015 includes Simon Schama, Howard Jacobson, Henry Goodman, Linda Grant, Michael Ignatieff and many more.There's a wide spread of subjects from art to food to jazz and quite a bit on money.

    But there is a striking absence; this year is virtually a Judaism-free zone.

    The nearest thing to the world of the synagogue is Sharman Kadish's book on Jewish architectural heritage. There is a book on the Bible, but it's by scientist Steve Jones.

    In the Book Week brochure, you'll see an advert for the admirable Littman Library, featuring volumes on Rashi, Maimonides and Midrash. But when it comes to Jewish thought and religion at the event, the ark is bare.

    Perhaps Jewish Book Week was unlucky and invitations to authors of religious-themed books went begging. But it is not as though nothing has come out in the past year; one of America's leading rabbis David Wolpe, for example, published a book on King David in Yale University's acclaimed Jewish Lives series.

    It may be true that the pens of British rabbis - Lord Sacks apart - are not prolific: they are usually too busy ministering to their flocks. But there was a book launch only last week by Reform Rabbis Larry Tabick and Michael Hilton, authors of books respectively on Chasidic Torah commentary and a history of the barmitzvah. It says something when religion at Jewish Book Week is represented by a session on Pope Francis.

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