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The Jewish Cultural Tapestry: International Jewish Folk Traditions [Paperback]

Steven M. Lowenstein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 22.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 18 2003
Here, in one compact volume, is an illuminating survey of Jewish folkways on five continents. Filled with fascinating facts and keen insights, The Jewish Cultural Tapestry is a richly woven fabric that vividly captures the diversity of Jewish life. All traditional Jews are bound together by the common thread of the Torah and the Talmud, notes author Steven Lowenstein, but this thread takes on a different coloration in different parts of the world as Jewish tradition and local non-Jewish customs intertwine. Lowenstein describes these widely varying regional Jewish cultures with needlepoint accuracy, highlighting the often surprising similarities between Jewish and non-Jewish local traditions, and revealing why Jewish customs vary as much as they do from region to region. From Europe to India, Israel to America, The Jewish Cultural Tapestry offers an engaging overview of the customs and folkways of a people united by tradition, yet scattered to the far corners of theearth.

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Product Description

From the Publisher

90 halftones, maps & music ex.

About the Author

Steven M. Lowenstein is Isadore Levine Professor of Jewish History at the University of Judaism. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
WHAT IS IT THAT HAS MADE THE JEWISH PEOPLE, SCATTERED ALL OVER THE WORLD for over 2000 years, one people despite the lack of a homeland for most of that time? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally Explanations May 16 2001
Format:Hardcover
Finally a book is available for the Jewish and non-Jewish reader that explains both the common thread and the differences of Jewish customs throughout the world. Clearly the author has a strong scholarly background, but this book is a lively read. Especially fascinating are the chapters on vernacular languages, cuisine (with recipes), music (with notations), and the new field of genetics. The author treats each custom with equal respect; nothing is described as being weird or exotic. Numerous action maps explain migrations and cultural changes, and the many illustrations of actual people add to the accessibility of this usually dry subject. It is a must for personal, synagogue, and secular libraries.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally Explanations May 16 2001
By Emily Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Finally a book is available for the Jewish and non-Jewish reader that explains both the common thread and the differences of Jewish customs throughout the world. Clearly the author has a strong scholarly background, but this book is a lively read. Especially fascinating are the chapters on vernacular languages, cuisine (with recipes), music (with notations), and the new field of genetics. The author treats each custom with equal respect; nothing is described as being weird or exotic. Numerous action maps explain migrations and cultural changes, and the many illustrations of actual people add to the accessibility of this usually dry subject. It is a must for personal, synagogue, and secular libraries.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big & Little Tradition July 25 2007
By Eric Maroney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book begins with a very simple assertion about religious experience. There is such a thing as a Big Tradition and Little Tradition. For The Jewish Cultural Tapestry, the Big Tradition is embodied in the formal and official aspects of Jewish worship: the synagogue service, holiday celebration, the study of texts like the Talmud and the commentaries on Jewish law. The Little Tradition are those folk elements which fill in the numerous gaps left unanswered in the official practice of Judaism (mainly text bound, and not always exhaustive in explanation on how to carry a practice). For example hot food cannot be prepared on the Sabbath, but it is considered important to do so, so various Jewish communities developed ways around this difficulty. Overall, the book shows how many Jewish customs, most of a folk variety in the realm of food, clothing, song, dance, and even to some extent in religious practice, are modified forms of what is already present at the folk level of the gentile community which surrounds a group of Jews. Folk practice can often be widely at variance with "official" religion, and perhaps the one weak spot of this work is that it does not explore this rich mine of conflict and resolution. That said, the book presents a complex series of subjects in an excellent and easy to read format and style.
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