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Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals [Paperback]

George Robinson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2001
What happens at a synagogue service? What are the rules for keeping kosher? How do I light the Hanukah candles? What is in the Hebrew Bible? What do the Jewish holidays signify? What should I be teaching my children about being Jewish?
A landmark reference, here is an indispensable one-volume guide to the religious traditions, everyday practices, philosophical beliefs, and historical foundations of Judaism -- everything you need to know about being Jewish. In Essential Judaism, George Robinson has created the accessible compendium that he sought when he rediscovered his Jewish roots as an adult. Robinson illuminates the Jewish life cycle at every stage, and lays out many fascinating aspects of Judaism -- the Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, the evolution of Hasidism, and much more -- while keeping a firm focus on the different paths to living a good Jewish life in today's world.

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Customers buy this book with Choosing a Jewish Life: A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends CDN$ 13.68

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From Amazon

Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals is a brief but comprehensive layman's handbook to Jewish prayer, worship, festivals, customs, history, language, philosophy, and ideology. Its author, George Robinson, returned to synagogue after a 20-year absence and found himself utterly confused about the basics of his religion, despite having attended Hebrew school. He looked far and wide for a reference work that would help him get his bearings but did not find one; so he wrote one himself. Robinson's background as a journalist proved to be an asset in this project, which shows evidence of much detective work, the results of which are plainly described and clearly organized. Robinson is sensitive to the many perspectives of contemporary Judaism without being mealy-mouthed. His work is a triumph of diplomacy and clear thinking; his overview of Hebrew Scripture, and his excellent Kosher primer, would be worth the price of this book in themselves. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Ten years ago, Robinson entered a Reform synagogue for the first time since adolescence. He became an active congregant, but he discovered in his reincorporation of certain rituals and practices that he "was often baffled" by what occurred in the synagogue. This expansive tome attempts to provide the essentials of Judaism for novices, outsiders and those who, like Robinson, rediscovered their heritage as adults. It's an excellent introductory resource, vast but accessibly organized. Robinson first covers the most ritually significant Jewish prayers and walks the reader through a typical Shabbat service. He presents the basic facts about holidays and the Jewish calendar, then explores Jewish life-cycle rituals from bris to burial and includes a catch-all chapter on other practices such as Kashrut. By beginning with Jewish practice, rather than history or law, Robinson centers the core of Judaism in everyday life. The book's second half is a whirlwind tour of Torah and Talmud, Kabbalah and Jewish philosophers, with a key explanatory chapter on historical developments such as Hasidism and Zionism. Notably absent is the history of the Holocaust and the founding of Israel; Robinson notes that the Judaica sections of most bookstores already overflow with such historical information, and he explores instead the scope of Jews' reactions to those events. This is a valuable, sensitive one-volume guide to Jewish practice. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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In the beginning, the Jews were a tribe, a band of nomads, probably shepherds. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great guide to Judaism June 8 2004
By oba9873
Format:Paperback
This is by far the best book about Judaism that I have ever read. It carefully gives details on all aspects of Jewish life in a simple, page-turning way. If you are spiritually searching I highly recommend this book. I also recommend this book to any person who has just converted to Judaism and is having a hard time remembering the many prayers and blessings. If you have any questions about Judaism turn to this book, you will find the answers. G-d bless you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book June 22 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a great book. Anyone interested in Judaism should read it. It has an answer for anything that you may have a question about. The author has done a great job of clearly explaining the major points of Judaism. It's impossible to sum up all the aspects of the religion in one volume, but this book has done a great job of it. You may also want to get THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING JUDAISM by Benjamin Blech.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A CLASSICAL ANALYSIS OF BOTH JEWS AND JUDAISM Nov. 8 2002
Format:Paperback
Yes, George Robinson was sensational in his "Essential Judaism". I felt that air of classical elevation as I read through the pages.
From beliefs to customs; rituals to tradition, no book has handled it so well in a single compendium. Indeed, very few books possess the arresting aura that made this one so complete. All aspects, as well as all the factors affecting the religion were treated in details. The explanatory methodology employed throughout the chapters testified that both Jews and non-Jews were thought of, during the compilation of the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Survey of Beliefs, Ritual & Custom Sept. 23 2002
Format:Paperback
If you are not a Jew, I highly recommend this book as a primer which will describe many of the customs, thought, and ritual of the Jewish faith.
As a Christian, this book has given me some great insight. The chapters on the ritual calendar and life cycle were particularly helpful. Moreover, the discussion on the oral tradition given to Moses and both Babylonian and Palestinian Talmud was excellent.
This book is a starting point. It probably will not answer in any great depth pointed or particular fine points regarding the Jewish faith. It is definitely a survey. However, the bibliography is excellent, and Robinson does an excellent job of naming his sources.
In short, I recommend this book as the place to start. It is well written, enlightening and, from my perspective as a Christian, does a great job in orienting the non-Jewish reader to what is a vast and complex covenantal relationship with God. I recommend it highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A CLASSICAL ANALYSIS OF BOTH JEWS AND JUDAISM June 11 2002
Format:Hardcover
Yes, George Robinson was sensational in his "Essential Judaism". I felt that air of classical elevation as I read through the pages.
From beliefs to customs; rituals to tradition, no book has handled it so well in a single compendium. Indeed, very few books possess the arresting aura that made this one so complete. All aspects, as well as all the factors affecting the religion were treated in details. The explanatory methodology employed throughout the chapters testified that both Jews and non-Jews were thought of, during the compilation of the book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Average Jan. 22 2002
Format:Hardcover
This book's title purports the book to be "complete" guide. This is an impossibility but this is a good "summary" guide to Judaism. Good but average.
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