Judaism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Judaism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Norman Solomon

Language: English

Pages: 168

ISBN: 0199687358

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Normon Solomon's succinct book is an ideal introduction to Judaism as a religion and way of life. Demonstrating the diverse nature and ethnic origin of Jewish people, Solomon explores how the religion has developed in the 2,000 years since the days of the Bible.

This Very Short Introduction starts by outlining the basics of practical Judaism, including: festivals, prayers, customs, and various sects - and goes on to consider how Judaism has responded to, and dealt with, a number of key issues and debates, including the impact of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. In this new edition, Solomon considers issues of contemporary Judaism in the 21st century, incorporating new material on the relationship between the Muslim faith and Judaism, the rise of Zohar and Kabala, and considers how the faith deals with issues such as homosexuality and gay marriage.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Harvey C. Mansfield TRAGEDY • Adrian Poole THE TUDORS • John Guy TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITAIN • Kenneth O. Morgan THE UNITED NATIONS • Jussi M. Hanhimäki THE U.S. CONCRESS • Donald A. Ritchie UTOPIANISM • Lyman Tower Sargent THE VIKINGS • Julian Richards WITCHCRAFT • Malcolm Gaskill WITTGENSTEIN • A. C. Grayling WORLD MUSIC • Philip Bohlman THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION • Amrita Narlikar WRITING AND SCRIPT • Andrew Robinson AVAILABLE SOON: LATE ANTIQUITY • Gillian Clark MUHAMMAD •

Barmitzvah at 13. This is an individual ceremony, at which the boy reads Torah in the Synagogue, has a great party, and receives presents. Girls may celebrate Batmitzvah at 12 – a Reform ceremony similar to that for boys. Orthodox Jews have only recently started to mark Batmitzvah publicly, usually with a collective ceremony for girls of the year group, plus individual parties. Many Orthodox prefer ‘Bat Chayil’ to Batmitzvah ceremonies; like confirmation, Bat Chayil normally takes place at a

• the ‘coincidence of opposites’ or ‘ambiguity symbolism’ • images of God the Mother, which must be joined with • the goddess of motherhood and culture, twin aspects of creativity • goddess as giver of wisdom and patron of scholarship and learning • the assertion of sexuality as an aspect of divinity. She sums up: Dimensions of deity that have been lost or severely attenuated during the long centuries when we spoke of God as if S/He were only a male are restored. They seem to have to do

a Jew if you bumped into him or her in the street? Since there are black as well as white Jews, oriental as well as occidental, converts as well as ‘natives’, atheist and agnostic as well as many types of religious Jews, is there any way to describe them collectively? How many of them are there? Where do they live? Who the Jews used to be The question of Jewish identity is surprisingly new. Nobody in medieval Christendom, for instance, thought there was a problem. They knew who the Jews were.

Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform reappear. Add to this programme of decision-making the philosophical and theological speculation by which traditional teaching is rendered intelligible in the modern world, the soul-searching demanded in the aftermath of the Shoah, and the challenge of the novel experience for Jews of political empowerment. Never – certainly not since the days of Late Antiquity – has the Jewish world experienced such intellectual and emotional turbulence. Yet never has it

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