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The Gods Are Broken!: The Hidden Legacy of Abrahamby Jeffrey K. Salkin
Synopses & Reviews
A publishing sensation long at the top of the best-seller lists in Israel, the original Hebrew edition of Maimonides and the Book That Changed Judaism has been called the most successful book ever published in Israel on the preeminent medieval Jewish thinker Moses Maimonides. The works of Maimonides, particularly The Guide for the Perplexed, are reckoned among the fundamental texts that influenced all subsequent Jewish philosophy and also proved to be highly influential in Christian and Islamic thought.
Spanning subjects ranging from God, prophecy, miracles, revelation, and evil, to politics, messianism, reason in religion, and the therapeutic role of doubt, Maimonides and the Book That Changed Judaism elucidates the complex ideas of The Guide in remarkably clear and engaging prose.
Drawing on his own experience as a central figure in the current Israeli renaissance of Jewish culture and spirituality, Micah Goodman brings Maimonidess masterwork into dialogue with the intellectual and spiritual worlds of twenty-first-century readers. Goodman contends that in Maimonidess view, the Torahs purpose is not to bring clarity about God but rather to make us realize that we do not understand God at all; not to resolve inscrutable religious issues but to give us insight into the true nature and purpose of our lives.
"Although it involves biblical characters, the widely known story of Abraham's smashing the idols in the shop of his father, Terah, is not in the Bible. Nevertheless, according to author Salkin (The Modern Men's Torah Commentary), it is the forerunner of monotheism, the beginning of Jewish history, and may 'be the most important Jewish story ever told.' His book tries to demonstrate the truth of these contentions by examining commentaries on the story by theologians, poets, writers, philosophers, a composer, and an artist. He examines the implications of the story for Christians and Muslims and its relationship to anti-Semitism. Salkin, a Reform rabbi, gave up his congregational pulpit to become director of the Anti-Defamation League's New Jersey office, claiming that this move gives him a new opportunity to fight against bigotry in general and anti-Semitism in particular. He makes impressive claims for the overriding significance of this story, but surely many biblical stories can arguably be considered to be 'the most important Jewish story.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The dramatic one-thousand-year history of Jews in Spain comes to life in Exiles in Sepharad. Jeffrey Gorsky vividly relates this colorful period of Jewish history, from the era when Jewish culture was at its height in Muslim Spain to the horrors of the Inquisition and the Expulsion.
Twenty percent of Jews today are descended from Sephardic Jews, who created significant works in religion, literature, science, and philosophy. They flourished under both Muslim and Christian rule, enjoying prosperity and power unsurpassed in Europe. Their cultural contributions include important poets, the great Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides, and Moses de Leon, author of the Zohar, the core text of the Kabbalah.
But these Jews also endured considerable hardships. Fundamentalist Islamic tribes drove them from Muslim to Christian Spain. In 1391 thousands were killed and more than a third were forced to convert by anti-Jewish rioters. A century later the Spanish Inquisition began, accusing thousands of these converts of heresy. By the end of the fifteenth century, Jews had been expelled from Spain and forcibly converted in Portugal and Navarre. After almost a millennium of harmonious existence, what had been the most populous and prosperous Jewish community in Europe ceased to exist in the Iberian Peninsula.
The Lost Matriarch offers a unique response to the sparse and puzzling biblical treatment of the matriarch Leah. Although Leah is a major figure in the book of Genesis, the biblical text allows her only a single word of physical description and two lines of direct dialogue. The Bible tells us little about the effects of her lifelong struggles in an apparently loveless marriage to Jacob, the husband she shares with three other wives, including her beautiful younger sister, Rachel. Fortunately, two thousand years of traditional and modern commentators have produced many fascinating interpretations (midrash) that reveal the far richer story of Leah hidden within the text.
Through Jerry Rabowand#8217;s weaving of biblical text and midrash, readers learn the lessons of the remarkable Leah, who triumphed over adversity and hardship by living a life of moral heroism. The Lost Matriarch reveals Leahand#8217;s full story and invites readers into the delightful, provocative world of creative rabbinic and literary commentary. By experiencing these midrashic insights and techniques for reading and#8220;between the lines,and#8221; readers are introduced to what for many will be an exciting new method of personal Bible interpretation.
About the Author
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the author of numerous books, including Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible: Ancient Role Models for Sacred Relationships and Putting God on the Guest List, winner of the 1993 Benjamin Franklin Award for the best religion book published in the United States.
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