Jewish Holidays: A Brief Introduction for Christians

Jewish Holidays: A Brief Introduction for Christians

by Kerry M. Olitzky, Daniel Judson
     
 

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A window into Judaism's sacred days—throughout history and today. Written especially for Christians.

Holy days and holidays provide the peak experiences of Jewish life. These moments speak deeply to the Jewish soul and animate Judaism’s culture. They encourage Jews to participate in their shared historical experience, which reflects their

Overview

A window into Judaism's sacred days—throughout history and today. Written especially for Christians.

Holy days and holidays provide the peak experiences of Jewish life. These moments speak deeply to the Jewish soul and animate Judaism’s culture. They encourage Jews to participate in their shared historical experience, which reflects their covenantal relationship with God, and articulate Jewish values that have allowed for the survival of the Jewish people. But what can they mean to Christians seeking to understand their own faith?

In this special book, Rabbis Olitzky and Judson guide you through the major Jewish holidays and what they mean for the Jewish people. Each chapter explores a different holiday and explains the origin, historical background, customs and rituals that are part of observance and the holiday’s Christian parallels. Examining observance in both home and synagogue—and in all Jewish denominations—this easy-to-use guide to the Jewish holidays will be a valuable resource for your own understanding of Jewish sacred time throughout the year. And by linking the Jewish holidays to familiar Christian holidays and practices, you will be better able to appreciate the roots of Christianity and how the fundamentals of Judaism relate to and reflect your own spiritual foundation.

  • Rosh Hashanah–New Year
  • Yom Kippur–Day of Atonement
  • Sukkot–Feast of Booths (Fall Harvest Festival)
  • Simchat Torah–Rejoicing in the Torah
  • Hanukkah–Rededication
  • Purim–(Festival of Survival)
  • Pesach–Passover
  • Shavuot–(Receiving the Torah)
  • Tisha B’Av (Mourning and Commemoration) and Other Special Days
  • Shabbat (Day of Rest)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Clear and concise. Offers Christian readers insight into the wisdom and beauty of Judaism."
Mary C. Boys, coauthor, Christians and Jews in Dialogue: Learning in the Presence of the Other

“Marvelous…. Displays sensitivity to Christian readers. Regardless of Christian denomination, this is a book that speaks to the heart and the soul of the believer.”
Rt. Rev. Kirk Steven Smith, PhD, bishop, Episcopal diocese of Arizona

“Indispensable for anyone who wants to be at home in the Jewish world…. This treasure house could serve, by itself, as an introduction to Judaism.”
Rabbi Neil Gillman, author, The Jewish Approach to God: A Brief Introduction for Christians

“Does Christians and Christian-Jewish dialogue a great service. With straightforward explanations, invites the reader to 'walk the walk' with Judaism and find in such a pilgrimage a deeper insight into one’s own beliefs. A valuable resource to promote intelligent dialogue between Christians and Jews.”
David L. Coppola, PhD, associate executive director, Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding, Sacred Heart University

“Demystifies Jewish holidays without dumbing-down; paints richly satisfying pictures and invites the reader into home, hearth and temple with warmth and respect. Will make Christian devotees with Jewish friends and partners feel more confident in participating in religious celebrations together, eager to delve more deeply into their own religious heritage and grateful for the roots of our common history and spirituality.”
Rev. Molly Phinney Baskette, MDiv, coauthor, Remembering My Grandparent: A Kid’s Own Grief Workbook in the Christian Tradition

Publishers Weekly
In this sequel to Jewish Rituals, rabbis Olitzky and Judson aim for a very specific audience: Christians who want to learn more about Judaism. The authors lay out the basics of each major holiday, explaining why Jews blow a shofar (ram's horn) on Rosh Hashanah, fast on Yom Kippur, refrain from eating leaven during Passover and commemorate the agricultural calendar during Sukkot. The authors also point out parallels between Christian and Jewish observances, discussions that help distinguish this book from introductory guides to Jewish holidays written for a broader readership. They note, for example, that the carnival atmosphere of Purim is similar to Shrove Tuesday, and they point out the relationship between Pentecost and Shavuot. In the chapter on Passover, Olitzky and Judson thoughtfully and delicately address why "historically Christian-Jewish tensions were exacerbated around Passover and Easter, making this a time of heightened danger for Jews." Curiously, they overlook some obvious parallels (for example, they don't connect Simchat Torah with the first day of Advent, when liturgical Christians start a new year's lectionary readings). All in all, the book could be a little longer and more fully fleshed out. Still, it is a helpful guide, and will be especially useful for interfaith families. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580233026
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
10/01/2006
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
814,329
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.44(d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, named one of the fifty leading rabbis in North America by Newsweek, is well known for his inspiring books that bring the Jewish wisdom tradition into everyday life. He is executive director of Big Tent Judaism, formerly Jewish Outreach Institute, and is author of many books on Jewish spirituality, healing and Jewish religious practice, including Making a Successful Jewish Interfaith Marriage: The Big Tent Judaism Guide to Opportunities, Challenges and Resources; Introducing My Faith and My Community: The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide for a Christian in a Jewish Interfaith Relationship; Jewish Paths toward Healing and Wholeness: A Personal Guide to Dealing with Suffering; Grief in Our Seasons: A Mourner's Kaddish Companion; Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery: A Personal Guide to Turning from Alcoholism & Other Addictions—Drugs, Food, Gambling, Sex...; Facing Cancer as a Family; Life's Daily Blessings: Inspiring Reflections on Gratitude for Every Day, Based on Jewish Wisdom; 100 Blessings Every Day: Daily Twelve Step Recovery Affirmations, Exercises for Personal Growth and Renewal Reflecting Seasons of the Jewish Year and Recovery from Codependance: A Jewish Twelve Step Guide to Healing Your Soul. He is also coauthor of Grandparenting Interfaith Grandchildren; Jewish Holidays: A Brief Introduction for Christians; Jewish Ritual: A Brief Introduction for Christians; Renewed Each Day, Vol. One—Genesis and Exodus: Daily Twelve Step Recovery Meditations; Renewed Each Day, Vol. Two—Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy: Daily Twelve Step Recovery Meditations Based on the Bible and coeditor of The Rituals and Practices of a Jewish Life: A Handbook for Personal Spiritual Renewal (all Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky is available to speak on the following topics:

  • The Jewish Twelve Step Path to Healing and Recovery
  • Sparks Beneath the Surface: A Spiritual Read on the Torah
  • Welcoming the Stranger in Our Midst
  • How to Nurture Jewish Grandchildren Being Raised in an Interfaith Family
  • Optimism for a Jewish Future

Click here to contact the author.

Rabbi Daniel Judson, spiritual leader of Temple Beth David of the South Shore in Canton, Massachusetts, is coeditor of The Rituals and Practices of a Jewish Life: A Handbook for Personal Spiritual Renewal and coauthor of The Jewish Pregnancy Book: A Resource for the Soul, Body and Mind during Pregnancy, Birth and the First Three Months (both Jewish Lights). He is a frequent guest speaker at both Jewish and Christian congregations.

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