Why Be Jewish?

Overview

Why Be Jewish? A Guide for Discovering and Maintaining Jewish Traditions and Values addresses the question raised by millions of Jews for whom traditional/religious Judaism doesn't work: "Why should I remain a Jew?" Richard D. Bank addresses the question of why be a Jew in the first place, and provides information that enables the reader to maintain his or her Jewish identity in a way suited for the individual. In addition to suggesting a return to the essence of being Jewish—an emphasis on a oneness and unity to...
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Overview

Why Be Jewish? A Guide for Discovering and Maintaining Jewish Traditions and Values addresses the question raised by millions of Jews for whom traditional/religious Judaism doesn't work: "Why should I remain a Jew?" Richard D. Bank addresses the question of why be a Jew in the first place, and provides information that enables the reader to maintain his or her Jewish identity in a way suited for the individual. In addition to suggesting a return to the essence of being Jewish—an emphasis on a oneness and unity to the world—and recognizing there are many ways to express this, Why be Jewish? offers a cornucopia of resources to reinforce one's Jewish identity.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Richard D. Bank offers a refreshing antidote to the current spate of hand wringing about the future of American-Judaism: A positive, nonjudgmental vision of growth and change that disaffected Jews can swallow and even enjoy. Bank draws from a rich variety of sources to articulate his philosophy of 'Let a thousand Jewish flowers bloom,' supporting this concept with dozens of practical answers to the question, 'How to be Jewish?.'
The author's enthusiasm shines through in his combination of good humor and earnest conviction evident on every page. Richard Bank is to disaffected Jews what Dr. Spock was to new mothers: A warm and friendly voice providing not only specific answers but also reassurance that everything will be all right.
Robert Leiter
Richard D. Bank offers a refreshing antidote to the current spate of hand wringing about the future of American-Judaism: A positive, nonjudgmental vision of growth and change that disaffected Jews can swallow and even enjoy. Bank draws from a rich varietyof sources to articulate his philosophy of 'Let a thousand Jewish flowers bloom,' supporting this concept with dozens of practical answers to the question, 'How to be Jewish?.' The author's enthusiasm shines through in his combination of good humor andearnest conviction evident on every page. Richard Bank is to disaffected Jews what Dr. Spock was to new mothers: A warm and friendly voice providing not only specific answers but also reassurance that everything will be all right...For those intrigued by Judaism but unsure of their footing, Why Be Jewish? A Guide for Discovering and Maintaining Jewish Traditions and Values clears a path in the wilderness. Richard D. Bank takes curious readers step-by-step through the process, examining every possible facet of identity to provide nontraditional and unaffiliated Jews with all the ammunition they could possibly need. And though the subject may sound forbidding, Bank has written it with style and humor so that the work is always interesting and more often entertaining. Highly recommended!
Library Journal
According to Bank (How To Get the Most from Your Attorney), fewer Americans identify themselves as Jews today than a half-century ago. Yet millions of Jews are seeking a deeper sense of meaning in their lives and an understanding of their Jewish identity. To Bank, a Jew can "be religious or not; belong to a synagogue or not; be an atheist or agnostic, a secularist, universalist or humanist or not." For him, the essence of being a Jew lies in "a way of responding to life which emphasizes a oneness and unity to the world." This book explores key aspects of being a Jew through a discussion of Jewish values (e.g., individualism, freedom, equality, justice, and a reverence for memory); the essential humanism of Jewish life and belief; Jewish spirituality; organized religion and secular organizations; and raising children with a sense of their own Jewish identity. While many traditional Jews will not agree with Bank's freewheeling approach, nontraditional and unaffiliated Jews may find his welcoming, nonthreatening suggestions just the thing to get them started on a path to a more meaningful life as a Jew. Recommended for public libraries. Marcia Welsh, formerly of the Guilford Free Lib., CT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765761699
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard D. Bank, an attorney and author, has published numerous articles and essays on topics of Jewish interest as well as The Everything Judaism Book and The Everything Jewish History and Heritage Book. Richard Bank is a past president of the Jewish Children's Folkshul and served as vice-chairman of B'nai Brith Youth Organization-Philadelphia Region.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. I You Are Not Alone! 1
1 Adrift in a Sea of Assimilation? 3
2 That "Old Time Religion" Doesn't Work for You Anymore? 5
3 Still Call Yourself a Jew but Not Sure What to Do About It? 10
4 So You're No Longer a Jew but a Member of the Greater Human Community and Yet ... 12
5 Blame It on Us Baby Boomers! 15
Pt. II So Who Is a Jew Anyway? 19
6 Don't Be Jewish out of Spite 21
7 Here's What Others Have to Say About "Who Is a Jew?" 23
8 Phylogeny, Genes, and the Jewish Soul 29
Pt. III Why Be a Jew? How About Our Values! 33
9 We Are "One" 35
10 No Golden Calves for Us! 39
11 We Jews Revere Memory 43
12 Peace, Harmony, and Understanding It's the Jewish Way 46
13 Jews Prize the Individual 49
14 Freedom, Equality, and Justice 53
15 Love 58
Pt. IV You Don't Have to Be Religious or Believe in God to Be Jewish 61
16 God - Who's to Say? Who's to "Know"? 63
17 Woe Is the Day Religion Got "Organized"! 69
18 "Do as I Do - Not as I Preach" 73
19 All Jews Are Humanists 76
Pt. V Something Missing? Try Jewish Spirituality! 79
20 "Reality" - The Eternal Mystery 81
21 The Soul 85
22 For Jews Life Is Meaningful and Sacred 89
23 Jews and Existentialism 94
24 Jews, Buddhism, and Meditation 98
Pt. VI How to Celebrate the Holidays and Why! 101
25 There's No Place Like Home! 103
26 Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur 105
27 Passover 111
28 Chanukah 120
29 The Sabbath 124
Pt. VII Jewish Organizations One or More for You! 129
30 Zionists and Supporters of Israel 131
31 Synagogues - More Branches Than a Tree! 139
32 Jewish Secular Organizations 143
33 Jews Helping Others - Jewish Service Organizations 146
34 Be Politically Active Promoting Jewish Values 149
Pt. VIII Reading and Being Jewish Even on the Internet! 153
35 After All, We Are the "People of the Book" 155
36 Books of Jewish Interest - So Many! 158
37 Jewish Periodicals and Tabloids 162
38 Surf Jewish on the Internet Jewish Web Sites 167
Pt. IX Adult Education 171
39 Learn About Being Jewish with the Mind of an Adult 173
40 Where to Go to Learn 176
Pt. X The Next Generation - Your Children 179
41 Be an Example! 181
42 Resources: Schools, Organizations, Activities 184
43 The Question of Intermarriage 188
Afterword 194
Appendix 196
Index 205
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