JEWISH LITERACY TELUSHKIN PDF

Shelves: judaism , history The book was extremely thorough and educational, and works both as a collection of individual encyclopedic entries and as a whole cohesive narrative. However, it only gets three stars because of the distracting and persistent Islamaphobia that came up every time the author mentions "Mohammed" or laments the permanence of the mosque at the Dome on the Rock, lest there be "an international Islamic jihad holy war. Arranged in short articles, the information is easy to digest regardless of background and makes for rapid reading despite its page length. The author seems to come from a fairly conservative in the context of Judaism, not necessarily politics mindset, but makes a sincere effort to represent the many sects, opinions, and divisions within his religion. For non-Jews, this may be A good overview of Jewish ideas, history, and theological principles written by a member of the Jewish community.

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Shelves: judaism , history The book was extremely thorough and educational, and works both as a collection of individual encyclopedic entries and as a whole cohesive narrative. However, it only gets three stars because of the distracting and persistent Islamaphobia that came up every time the author mentions "Mohammed" or laments the permanence of the mosque at the Dome on the Rock, lest there be "an international Islamic jihad holy war.

Arranged in short articles, the information is easy to digest regardless of background and makes for rapid reading despite its page length. The author seems to come from a fairly conservative in the context of Judaism, not necessarily politics mindset, but makes a sincere effort to represent the many sects, opinions, and divisions within his religion. For non-Jews, this may be A good overview of Jewish ideas, history, and theological principles written by a member of the Jewish community.

For non-Jews, this may be the most valuable attribute of the book: dispelling monolithic assumptions about Judaism. If you grew up in any kind of Christian religious tradition, you automatically know some things about the Jewish religion, because Christianity is a historical offshoot or appropriation, depending on who you ask of Judaism.

This is not his fault, but it sometimes allows him whether consciously or not to gloss over facts that reflect negatively on his biases.

As an example, his stance on the modern state of Israel: he is understandably very favorable toward it, its survival, and in justifying certain actions taken by its government. Telushkin condemns this of course, and notes how the Israeli government tried, and convicted, some of the soldiers involved. He stops there, and the reader is left with the impression that Israel holds itself to high standards when it comes to the conduct of its military. He neglected to note however, that all the convicted soldiers were pardoned within a year, and their commanding officer was given a largely symbolic fine.

Personally, I came away with more sympathy toward Israel than I had before--and a greater awareness of the assumptions many Americans make when it comes to going too far in that direction and believing Israel can do no wrong.

I look forward to reading more about Israel, and everything else Telushkin covered. I chose to read it sequentially to my wife as a bedtime story. We found it often makes for violent and tragic bedtime stories. Nonetheless, the book is full of important summaries that seem really useful for a non-Jew trying to understand the Jewish people.

Occasionally, the author shares a legend, story, or aphorism that is truly profound I "Jewish Literacy" is formatted as an encyclopedia of Jewish history, with pg. Occasionally, the author shares a legend, story, or aphorism that is truly profound I loved the chapter on Rabbi Israel Salanter.

I have two substantial complaints, though. The first is that Rabbi Telushkin does not delve deeply enough into the Jewish thinkers he discusses. For some figures, like Rabbi Akiva or Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, far too much time is spent on their geographical movements and the respect afforded them, and not enough time on their actual teachings.

My second complaint is that the author is highly motivated, and not subtly, to read Zionism into potentially any part of Jewish history. It becomes extremely annoying in that it feels like the author is wasting my time with politically motivated reasoning.

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