To Life!: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking

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9780316507356: To Life!: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking

In his remarkable new book, best-selling author Harold Kushner writes of the traditions and practices of Judaism with all the wisdom, understanding, and humor for which he is so well known.
A master at making sense of human nature and of spirituality, Harold Kushner now focuses on the religious tradition he knows best: the Jewish tradition. To Life! will awaken readers to the exuberance and enjoyment, the rewards and relevance of Judaism today.
As Harold Kushner tells us: "To Life! is a book for everybody who had a bad Hebrew School experience as a child, for anyone who feels a need to fill the spiritual vacuum in his life, for the Christian who may suddenly find himself with a Jewish daughter-in-law and Jewish grandchildren, for the believer who wants to find out about the origins of his faith, and finally, for everyone who is seeking time-tested answers to the ongoing religious and spiritual issues that every human being has to face."
To Life! explores the ideas and visions of Judaismexplaining why prayer matters, how holiday observances and life-cycle events teach us to be human, why we follow the dietary laws, how we look at Christianity, and finally why the world needs committed Jews to make God's purposes come about. Both a practical and spiritual guide to the Jewish tradition, To Life! will lend new meaning to our days.

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From the Inside Flap:

ing author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People makes a passionate and practical case for the relevance of Judaism today. For anyone who wants to know more about Jews and Judaism.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Bestselling Conservative rabbi Kushner (Who Needs God, 1989; When Bad Things Happen to Good People, 1981) on the joys of Judaism. Kushner tilts this good-natured panegyric toward practicing Jews, who would be most willing to embrace his view of Judaism as God's greatest gift to humankind. ``Life is the question, Judaism is the answer,'' he exhorts, with such ebullience that even nonbelievers may be swayed. He promotes the Jewish people, tiny in numbers, as ``the most influential group on earth,'' producing everything from the theory of relativity to psychoanalysis to Marxism, and, through the Hebrew Bible, shaping ``the way the world thinks about God.'' Judaism, he emphasizes, is primarily a community rather than a theology, finding expression in its own calendar, holidays, rituals, and land (for Kushner, love of Israel as the ancestral home is incumbent upon all Jews). He's at his best when justifying religious customs--for instance, he explains kosher dietary laws, which may strike non-Jews as needless complications, as ``spiritual calisthenics'' that ``sanctify the act of eating''; the same applies to laws on sexuality, speech, Sabbath behavior, and so on. Discussion of controversies like abortion or homosexuality is glaringly absent, although he argues for traditional religious language--i.e., referring to God as ``He'' rather than ``She'' or, God forbid, ``It.'' Kushner never minces his beliefs, explaining why he won't officiate at marriages where one partner is non-Jewish (the ``words and rituals do not apply to non-Jews''). This ardency, which has much to do with the rabbi's popularity, doesn't prevent him from striking an alliance with his potentially vast Christian readership; these two religions are both part of ``God's ultimate plan for the world,'' allies in a sacred battle against ``apathy and selfishness and a neo-paganism that sees Man as an animal and his every urge as legitimate.'' Kushner at his very best, abubble with enthusiasm. L'Chaim! -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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