A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew [NOOK Book]

Overview


At the turn of the twenty-first century, the central question confronting Jewish leaders in America is simple:

Why be Jewish?

Jonathan D. Sarna, acclaimed scholar of American Judaism, believes that “Why be Jewish?” is the wrong question. Judaism, he believes, is not so much a “why” as a way—a way of life, a way of marking time, a way of relating to the environment, to human beings, to family, and to God. Judaism is experienced through ...

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A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew

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Overview


At the turn of the twenty-first century, the central question confronting Jewish leaders in America is simple:

Why be Jewish?

Jonathan D. Sarna, acclaimed scholar of American Judaism, believes that “Why be Jewish?” is the wrong question. Judaism, he believes, is not so much a “why” as a way—a way of life, a way of marking time, a way of relating to the environment, to human beings, to family, and to God. Judaism is experienced through doing—doing things Jewish, doing things for fellow Jews in need, doing things as a Jew to improve the state of the world. The more Judaism one does, the more one comes to appreciate what Judaism is.

Using the Jewish calendar as his starting point, Sarna reflects on the major themes of Jewish life as expressed in a full year of holidays—from Passover in the spring to Purim eleven months later. Passover, for instance, yields a discussion of freedom; Shavuot, a discussion of Torah; Yom Kippur, the role of the individual within the Jewish community; Chanukah, issues of assimilation and anti-assimilation.

An essential brief introduction—or reintroduction—to the major practices of Jewish life as well as the many complexities of the American Jewish experience, this book will be essential reading for American Jews and the perfect gift for the holiday season.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786731664
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 2/23/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 213 KB

Meet the Author


Jonathan D. Sarna is Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, and chairs the Academic Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. Author of American Judaism: A History, he is also the chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History and of the 350th commemoration of Jewish life in America, 1654–2004. He lives in West Newton, Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration from, Hebrew

A Note on the Jewish Calendar

1 Freedom: Passover 1

2 Food, Family, and Jewish Distinctiveness: Maimuna 17

3 Remembering the Holocaust: Yom ha-Shoah 27

4 Celebrating Israel: Yom ha-Atsma'ut 41

5 Torah: Shavuot 59

6 Antisemitism: Tishah be-Av 77

7 Love, Marriage, and Declining Numbers: Tu be-Av 89

8 Judgment Without Resolution: Rosh Hashanah 97

9 The Individual and the Community: Yom Kippur 109

10 Making Choices and Improving the world: Sukkot 123

11 Assimilation and Anti-Assimilation: Hanukkah 135

12 Going Green: Tu bi-Shevat 147

13 Continuity and Happiness: Purim 155

For Further Reading 165

Notes 177

Index 189

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