Read e-book online A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew PDF

By Jonathan D Sarna

ISBN-10: 0465002463

ISBN-13: 9780465002467

ISBN-10: 0786731664

ISBN-13: 9780786731664

At the flip of the twenty-first century, the critical query confronting Jewish leaders in the USA is easy:

Why be Jewish?

Jonathan D. Sarna, acclaimed student of yankee Judaism, believes that “Why be Jewish?” is the inaccurate query. Judaism, he believes, isn't quite a bit a “why” as a way—a lifestyle, a manner of marking time, a fashion of on the subject of the surroundings, to people, to family members, and to God. Judaism is skilled via doing—doing issues Jewish, doing issues for fellow Jews in desire, doing issues as a Jew to enhance the country of the area. The extra Judaism one does, the extra one involves get pleasure from what Judaism is.

Using the Jewish calendar as his start line, Sarna displays at the significant subject matters of Jewish existence as expressed in an entire 12 months of holidays—from Passover within the spring to Purim 11 months later. Passover, for example, yields a dialogue of freedom; Shavuot, a dialogue of Torah; Yom Kippur, the position of the person in the Jewish neighborhood; Chanukah, problems with assimilation and anti-assimilation.

An crucial short introduction—or reintroduction—to the key practices of Jewish lifestyles in addition to the numerous complexities of the yankee Jewish adventure, this e-book might be crucial interpreting for American Jews and the ideal reward for the vacation season.

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Where was God when all of this was going on? Perhaps, as some theologians claim, God was hiding. Perhaps, as others insist, God was weeping. Perhaps the mystery is so great that it transcends our ability to comprehend it. qxd 6/17/08 10:48 AM Page 37 remembering the holocaust | 37 after the Holocaust, surely we must wonder even more how Jews can continue to believe in humanity! Astonishingly, an inscription found on the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany, where Jews hid from the Nazis, suggests that even in the very midst of darkness, some Jews did continue to believe: I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.

Speaking of “doing Jewish,” I have to get back to preparing for tonight’s seder. Our guests come from different places, and they have different traditions that I want to respect. The vegetables that we dip? qxd 12 | 6/17/08 10:48 AM Page 12 a time to every purpose descended from King David! I won’t tell him this, but actually Spanish explorers brought the potato from Peru to Europe in the sixteenth century; King David never ate a potato in his life! The potato custom actually developed when Jews lived in cold climates where green vegetables were not to be found at Passover time.

Qxd 28 | 6/17/08 10:48 AM Page 28 a time to every purpose Independence Day, so that it coincides with the midpoint of the monthlong Warsaw Ghetto uprising but does not conflict with other holidays. The date also serves as an annual reminder that the slaughter of six million Jews immediately preceded the State of Israel’s birth. Some Jewish leaders opposed having a special day to commemorate the Holocaust. The Jewish calendar hardly lacks for the remembrance of tragedies, they pointed out. To their mind, the Holocaust differed from previous persecutions only in degree but was rooted in the same ageold hatred.

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A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew by Jonathan D Sarna


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