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Get 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 critical query confronting Jewish leaders in the USA is straightforward:

Why be Jewish?

Jonathan D. Sarna, acclaimed pupil of yankee Judaism, believes that “Why be Jewish?” is the incorrect query. Judaism, he believes, isn't loads a “why” as a way—a lifestyle, a manner of marking time, a fashion of with regards to the surroundings, to people, to kin, 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 nation of the realm. The extra Judaism one does, the extra one involves get pleasure from what Judaism is.

Using the Jewish calendar as his start line, 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 main practices of Jewish existence in addition to the numerous complexities of the yank Jewish adventure, this publication may be crucial examining for American Jews and the correct present for the vacation season.

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Additional resources for A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew

Sample text

Individual Jews escaped into the forest to fight as partisans against the Nazis. They gathered weapons within the ghettos to use when there were no other options, as in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that I wrote to you about just before Passover. They participated in over twentythree other uprisings against the Nazis in ghettos, labor camps, and death camps. A few courageous Jews even managed to set fire to a crematorium at the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Taken together, these acts of resistance help to explain how some three million Jews survived in Europe when the war ended, despite the Nazis’ best efforts to exterminate them.

I expected everyone to start running for shelter. But instead, an astonishing thing happened. Everyone around me stood stark still. The joggers on the street froze. Walkers stopped in their tracks. Automobiles braked to a halt, and some people got out and stood at attention. An older woman on the sidewalk wept quietly. For two full minutes, only the sound of the sirens filled the air: nobody spoke and no radios broke the spell (the sirens sounded on the radio too). I watched the scene, and I too remembered: Today is Yom ha-Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Prayers like the one in our holiday liturgy that reads “thou has chosen us from among all other peoples, loved us, valued us, and exalted us above all nations,” sound haughty, even arrogant, especially when read out of context. As a result, some Jews have abandoned the idea of chosenness, replacing uncomfortable prayers that make Jews sound superior and different with more politically correct universal prayers that offend no one. What being chosen means, of course, is an entirely different matter.

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


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