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How Good Do We Have to Be?: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness Paperback – Sep 1 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (Sept. 1 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316519332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316519335
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 12.6 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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I LOOK OUT at a synagogue filled to overflowing, every seat taken, people standing in the rear aisle. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MagicSkip on Jan. 5 2004
Format: Paperback
When this book was originally published in 1996, I met Rabbi Kushner at a lecture and book signing event in a synagogue in Omaha, Nebraska. As a Catholic making my first visit to a synagogue, I felt a bit apprehensive about making an inadvertant faux-pas. When the Rabbi started speaking, I felt comfortable right away. His presence felt, not like a high-ranking church official, not like a person of celebrity, but rather like a good neighbor -- someone who might live next door, who I would see mowing the grass and passing out Halloween candy, someone who just happened to be presenting his beliefs on the topic because that is *who he is*, and that the lecture is *what he does*, and that when it was over, he might share a ride home.
I had seen, in my religion classes, presentations by Leo Buscaglia. Leo was a man who exuded love, yet almost had a larger-than-life intimidation feeling around him because of it. Rather like a TV evangelist, one never knew when you would be grabbed and "healed"; or, in Leo's case, grabbed and hugged and loved! Not that it's a bad thing, just a bit intimidating.
Rabbi Kushner also exudes love, but he has an exactly-life-size feel. Seeing him at a podium, meeting him in person, I got the feeling that despite being well-known, that he is *a real person*, all the time, and that he doesn't have some stage persona, some celebrity, some image to put on in front of people. Rabbi Kushner simply is who he is -- a man. He is a man who loves G_d (I believe that is the proper Jewish way to write it?), a man who loves people, and a man who has made it his life's work to help bring the two closer together.
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Format: Paperback
I don't know if it is because I've read 3 other books by Rabbi Kushner, or because from the first words to the last words reading this book I feel like I am having a conversation with him. This includes many questions about life, the human condition, and religion that I have carried with me for a long time.
If someone had mentioned religion, God, or related words to me before discovering both Rabbi Kushner, and Dennis Prager, I would have been ready to bolt for the nearest door, because that had signaled what I called "Bible-thumpin time."
So, no matter where you stand on religion, politics, or the human condition, I invite you to open your mind to the possibility of forgiveness.
With the subtitle being "A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness," it's nice to notice that throughout this book Kushner discusses many examples of what guilt has been for us.
He uses "The Original Sin;" "Paradise Lost;" and many other stories that show how we have interpreted God's expectations of us to mean that we are born sinners who must become perfect. Which of course is not, as he points out, God's expectations of us.
Kushner adds, "My experiences as a clergyman and a counselor has taught me that much of the unhappiness people feel burdened by, much of the guilt, much of the sense of having been cheated by life, stems from one of two related causes: either somewhere along the way, somebody - a parent, a teacher, a religious leader - gave them the message that they were not good enough, and they believed it. Or else they came to expect and need more from the people around them --- their parents, children, husbands, or wives - than those people could realistically deliver.
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Format: Paperback
A thoroughly enjoyable read that has surprising depth of feeling about people's basic goodness and our shared need to embrace our own humanity. Some of Kushner's advice may seem a bit pithy when faced with the blood guilt of those who have endured great evil and through their professions were faced with death and tragedy, but for the more common predilection for angst based on imagined ills brought on by religious self-intolerance, this book offers a fresh perspective and practical advice that makes sense of so many anxieties suffered by the truly devout. David R. Bannon, Ph.D.; author "Race Against Evil."
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Format: Paperback
A thoroughly enjoyable read that has surprising depth of feeling about people's basic goodness and our shared need to embrace our own humanity. Some of Kushner's advice may seem a bit pithy when faced with the blood guilt of those who have endured great evil and through their professions were faced with death and tragedy, but for the more common predilection for angst based on imagined ills brought on by religious self-intolerance, this book offers a fresh perspective and practical advice that makes sense of so many anxieties suffered by the truly devout. David R. Bannon, Ph.D.; author "Race Against Evil."
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Format: Paperback
Wonderful interpretation of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.
How we all evolved from the animal kingdom to the human kingdom.
Our eyes were opened and we were made aware of right from wrong, of evil vs. good. We have choices, we are not programmed by God to be a certain way, we can choose to be or not to be.
Another book by Rabbi Kushner that has been life changing is the wonderful little book "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People".
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