Radical Then, Radical Now: The Legacy of the World?s Oldest Religion

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9780007108428: Radical Then, Radical Now: The Legacy of the World?s Oldest Religion

In what can be seen as a time of crisis, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has written his own very personal answer to the big question: How did we come to be here, and why?

An engrossing testimony to a people who have survived four thousand years of persecution and exile.

This book was originally a wedding present for his son, in which Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks challenged him to think clearly about the most important things in life. Who are we? Why should we continue to have faith? And how did we come to lose our way?

Radical Then, Radical Now is quite a gift.

The main tenets of the Jewish faith are explained in a simple and accessible manner and the author’s pride in his heritage shines from every page. Yet Jonathan Sacks does not only talk to Jews, but also to everyone who looks to the future, for we must prepare our children, and our environment, if we want to build a better world.

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Review:

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' Radical Then, Radical Now is destined to join the masterpieces of modern Judaic scholarship as his magnum opus, a magisterial work that, in its breadth of vision and beauty of language, is unlikely to be surpassed by any other Jewish thinker of our age. Preceded by tumultuous applause in the United States, where it has just won a National Jewish Book Award, it succeeds two other contemporary classics--Isidore Epstein's Judaism and Herman Wouk's This Is My God--as the definitive exposition of Judaism for the new millennium.

Every Jew, writes Rabbi Sacks, is a letter. "Each Jewish family is a word, every community a sentence, and the Jewish people at any one time are a paragraph. The Jewish people through time constitute a story, the strangest and most moving story in the annals of mankind." But, says the Chief Rabbi, something has gone wrong. Somehow, in today's world, many Jews have lost the script of the story, "that breathtaking attempt to build, out of simple acts and ordinary lives, a fragment of heaven on earth." Why, he asks, "at the very moment when we are freer than ever before to be Jews, are so many ceasing to be Jews? What is the shadow over Jewish life today?"

Described, in his own words, as "an open letter to the next generation" and as "my own theology of Judaism, something I have never previously written," this tour de force is an attempt to come to grips with those devastating questions. An intensely personal statement of belief, and an epic "journey of discovery" through the ideas, ideals, mysteries and marvels of Judaism, it is, above all, a realisation that, for the Chief Rabbi as for every Jew, being Jewish means being a letter in the eternal scroll, making one's own contribution to the glorious but unfinished story of faith above fate. --Meir Persoff

Review:

Mentioned in Jewish News.--Eric Moonman

Mentioned in Jewish News.--,

Book chosen by Lord Alton of Liverpool for his Lenten reading.-The Times

Mentioned in Jewish News.--Sanford Lakoff

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