Touch of the Sacred: A Theologian's Informal Guide to Jewish Belief

Touch of the Sacred: A Theologian's Informal Guide to Jewish Belief

by Eugene B. Borowitz, Frances Schwartz
     
 

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Powerful, soul-strengthening musings from the leading theologian of liberal Judaism.

“Too often, books on religion are written either primarily for the head or for the heart—as if thinking people don’t also feel intuitively, and spiritual types never think

Overview

Powerful, soul-strengthening musings from the leading theologian of liberal Judaism.

“Too often, books on religion are written either primarily for the head or for the heart—as if thinking people don’t also feel intuitively, and spiritual types never think much at all. Bosh! Here is our special mix for you…. It is our hope that these pieces will serve as unique windows into Judaism—in bite-size, sacred ‘touches’.”
from the Introduction

For the first time, Dr. Eugene Borowitz, the “dean” of liberal Jewish theologians, opens his heart as well as his mind as he talks about the mix of faith and doubt, of knowing and not-knowing—the elements of Jewish belief—in an easily accessible style.

In these pages, Borowitz shares with you his rich inner life, which draws from both the rational and mystical Jewish thought that have inspired two generations of rabbis, cantors, and educators, and will now inspire you. With him, you will explore:

  • Seeking the Sacred One
  • Doing Holy Deeds
  • Creating Sacred Community
  • Reading Sacred Texts
  • Thinking about Holiness
  • Learning from Holy Thinkers
  • and much, much more…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Leading Jewish theologian Borowitz (Hebrew Union College, Liberal Judaism) and coauthor Schwartz (The Jewish Moral Virtues) present a much-needed book. As they note, there are many fine books about Jewish holidays and Jewish history, but too few about Jewish theology-especially liberal Jewish theology-that are accessible to the general reader. Borowitz and Schwartz open with a discussion of how we can talk about God, and then traverse everything from interfaith dialogue to the Psalms to religious authority to Jewish ideas about evil and life after death. Throughout, the authors underscore "humankind's significant role as God's partner." They provocatively suggest that in recent decades, many Jews have become increasingly humble about what they can and cannot know; this philosophical reserve has helped liberal Jews cease trying to be "hardheaded rationalistic types" and to become more open to God and spirituality. Sketches of seven people who have influenced modern Jewish thought, including Hermann Cohen and Judith Plaskow, are useful. The book is marred only by its somewhat confusing organization. Indeed, the authors themselves explain the book can be read in any order and "wasn't written with one in mind"-but that proves to be a weakness, not a boon. (Jan.)

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Jewish Media Review - Dov Peretz Elkins

A Touch of the Sacred is a theological memoir, a collection of powerful, soul-strengthening musings from the leading theologian of liberal Judaism. It is edited for lay audiences by Frances Schwartz, adult learning coordinator of the Union for Reform Judaism.

In the Introduction, Borowitz informs us: "Too often, books on religion are written either primarily for the head or for the heart—as if thinking people don't also feel intuitively, and spiritual types never think much at all. Bosh! Here is our special mix for you…. It is our hope that these pieces will serve as unique windows into Judaism—in bite-size, sacred 'touches'."

For the first time, Dr. Eugene Borowitz, the "dean" of liberal Jewish theologians, opens his heart as well as his mind as he talks about the mix of faith and doubt, of knowing and not-knowing—the elements of Jewish belief—in an easily accessible style. In these pages, Borowitz shares with the reader his rich inner life, which draws from both the rational and mystical Jewish thought that have inspired two generations of rabbis, cantors, and educators. Borowitz explores such themes as Seeking the Sacred One, Doing Holy Deeds, Creating Sacred Community, Reading Sacred Texts, Thinking about Holiness, Learning from Holy Thinkers and much more….

This is not Prof. Borowitz’s most profound, academic or deep book, but it is a powerful personal collection of his thoughts on Jewish theology, Torah, revelation, ritual, the Jewish people, and a variety of other topics, after having taught at HUC-JIR for over 50 years, and lectured in congregations throughout the world. It is an enjoyable and fascinating read—as is anything by Gene Borowitz. We are blessed to have him as our teacher.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580236362
Publisher:
Longhill Partners
Publication date:
05/10/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,084,750
File size:
799 KB

Meet the Author

Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz, the leading theologian of liberal Judaism, is the Sigmund L. Falk Distinguished Professor of Education and Jewish Religious Thought at the New York School of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion where he has taught since 1962. He is a prolific author, having written many articles and books, and was the founding editor of Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility. His book, The Mask Jews Wear, received the National Jewish Book Award in the field of Jewish Thought.


Frances W. Schwartz is coauthor, with Borowitz, of The Jewish Moral Virtues, and is adult learning coordinator of the Union for Reform Judaism. She teaches Jewish adults in many different venues.

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