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 important query confronting Jewish leaders in the United States is easy:

Why be Jewish?

Jonathan D. Sarna, acclaimed student of yank 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 manner of with regards to the surroundings, to humans, to relatives, and to God. Judaism is skilled via doing—doing issues Jewish, doing issues for fellow Jews in want, doing issues as a Jew to enhance the kingdom of the area. The extra Judaism one does, the extra one involves savour what Judaism is.

Using the Jewish calendar as his place to begin, Sarna displays at the significant topics of Jewish lifestyles 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 most important practices of Jewish existence in addition to the various complexities of the yankee Jewish adventure, this publication could be crucial analyzing for American Jews and the appropriate reward for the vacation season.

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Sample text

News stories focus largely on Israel’s never-ending battles with its Arab neighbors, but I know that there is much more to the country than that. Israelis actually spent yesterday, the day prior to Yom ha-Atsma’ut, thinking about the thousands of men, women, and children who sacrificed their lives for the state. Yom ha-Zikkaron, Israel’s Day of Remembrance, is roughly akin to our Memorial Day, except that everyone in Israel seems to have a relative or friend whose death from war or terrorism they recall.

Many of those without physical marks, we found out, were touched by the Holocaust too. Some of them personally experienced Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), November 9–10, 1938, when attacks against Jews reverberated throughout Germany. One who was there once described to me how synagogues were destroyed, stores looted, homes destroyed, and thousands of Jewish men rounded up and taken off to concentration camps—a prelude of horrors yet to come. Some of the parents of our friends growing up suffered greatly while fleeing the Nazis.

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. They proposed instead to add Holocaust themes to an existing memorial day: either the major fast day of the Ninth of Av (Tishah be-Av) in summer, when so many other Jewish tragedies are recalled, or the halfforgotten minor fast day of the Tenth of Tevet, in winter, commemorating the start of the siege of Jerusalem by Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar more than twenty-five hundred years ago.

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

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