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Essential Judaism

A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals

Essential Judaism by George Robinson
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Contents

Acknowledgments

A note to the reader

Introduction

Chapter 1

Service of the Heart:

Prayer and Ritual


The Jewish Idea of Prayer

The Names of God

The Role of the Rabbi

The Blessings of Daily Life

An Assortment of Blessings

The Daily Services

Before the Morning Service

Tallit and Tzitzit

Tefillin

Shakharit/The Morning Service

The Basic Structure of the Service

Covering the Head

Kaddish

The Sh'ma

The Amidah

Minkhah/The Afternoon Service

Ma'ariv/The Evening Service

The Shabbat Services

Kabbalat Shabbat/Welcoming the Sabbath and Ma'ariv

Shakharit/Musaf

Minkhah
and Havdalah

Festival Services

The Synagogue

Liturgical Music

Home Rituals

Mezuzah

The Evolution of the Prayer Book

The Rise of Denominations

Reform Judaism

Conservative Judaism

Reconstructionism

Modern Orthodox

Ba'al Teshuvah

Havurah


Jewish Renewal Movement

Gay and Lesbian Synagogues

Women's Prayer Groups

Shul Etiquette

The Chosen People?

Chapter 2

Rejoice in Your Festivals:

The Jewish Year


Sacred Time -- The Jewish Calendar

Rosh Khodesh

The Jewish Calendar

The Festivals

Shabbat

The Thirty-nine Categories of Forbidden Work

Special Sabbaths

The High Holy Days

Elul, a Month of Teshuvah

Rosh Hashanah

Days of Repentance

Yom Kippur

Sukkot

The Sukkah

Building the Sukkah

The Four Species

f0 Hoshanah Rabbah/The Great Hosannah

Shemini Atzeret

Simkhat Torah

Hanukah

Historical Roots

Home Observance

Tu b'Shevat

Purim

Pesakh

Exile and Home

The Bread of Affliction

The Seder

The Meaning of the Seder

The Four Questions

Counting the Omer

Shavuot

Yom ha-Shoah, Yom ha-Atzma'ut, Yom ha-Zikaron, and Yom Yerushalayim

Minor Fast Days

Tisha b'Av

Special Readings for the Festivals

Chapter 3

Birth to Death:

A Jewish Life Cycle


Birth

Abortion

Adoption

Mamzerut

Brit Milah

Brit Habat
-- the Baby-Naming Ceremony

Pidyon Ha-Ben

Parent and Child

Jewish Education

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Confirmation

Engagement and Marriage

The Jewish View of Marriage

The Ketubah

Engagement

Before the Ceremony

The Wedding Ceremony

Levirate Marriage

Intermarriage

Prohibited Marriages

Divorce

Conversion to Judaism

The Noahide Laws

Who Is a Jew?

Should Judaism Proselytize?

Leaving the Fold

Illness

Aging

Ethical Wills

Death and Mourning

Defiance and Acceptance

Dying

Right to Die? Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Preparations for Burial

Burial

Mourning

Unveiling and Yahrzeit

The Afterlife

Chapter 4

613 Ways:

Living a Jewish Life


The Mitzvot

Gematria: Making the Letters Add Up

Pikuakh Nefesh: To Save a Life

Who's Counting?

The 613 Mitzvot (According to Maimonides)

Why Observe?

Mind, Body, and Soul

Halakhah: Mitzvot into Law

Joseph Caro and the Shulkhan Arukh

Opponents of Halakhah

The Sadducees and the Karaites

Reform Judaism

Conservative Judaism

Reconstructionism

Reactions Within Orthodoxy

The Mitzvot in Daily Life

Gemilut Khasadim/Acts of Lovingkindness

The Evil Tongue: Lashon Hara

Tzedakah/Doing Justice

The Ladder of Charity

Ethics and Justice

Laws Governing Loans

Capital Punishment

"An Eye for an Eye"

Tikkun Olam/Repairing the World

Sexuality

The Mikveh

Kashrut/Dietary Laws

Kosher and Treif

Meat and Dairy

Buying Kosher

Kosher Wine

Taking Khallah

Match But Don't Mix: Sha'atnez

Chapter 5

In the Beginning:

The Hebrew Bible


The Tanakh

The Books of the Hebrew Bible

The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

What Is in the Hebrew Bible?

The Torah

The Parashiyot and the Haftarot

Genesis/Bereishit

Exodus/Shemot

Leviticus/Vayikra

Numbers/Bamidbar

Deuteronomy/Devarim

Biblical Measurements

Making the Text Sing: Cantillation

Torah Comes First

The Nevi'im/The Prophets

Joshua

Judges

I and II Samuel

I and II Kings

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Ezekiel

The Twelve Minor Prophets

The Role of the Prophets

The Ketuvim/The Writings

Tehillim/The Psalms

Reading the Psalms

Proverbs

Job

Shir ha-Shirim/Song of Songs

Ruth

Lamentations

Kohelet/Ecclesiastes

Esther

Daniel

Ezra and Nehemiah

I and II Chronicles

Reading the Book

Some Key Bible Commentators

Peshat

Derash

Remez

Sod

Who Wrote the Hebrew Bible?

Chapter 6

The Rabbis Said:

The Talmud and Other

Rabbinical Writings<>

Roots of Rabbinic Judaism

From the Pairs to the Tannaim

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Torah

"O You Scribes and Pharisees!"

Tragedy, Dispersion, and the Writing of the Mishnah

What Is in the Mishnah?

What's in the Mishnah and the Talmud: Primary Subject

Matter of the Tractates and Where They Appear

How the Mishnah Works

An Example from the Mishnah

Tosefta and Baraita

Gemara: The Task Continues

A Time Line of Talmudic Scholars

Yavneh: The First Great Academy

Some Key Figures in Rabbinic Judaism

Halakhah and Aggadah

How the Gemara Works

Palestinian Talmud versus Babylonian Talmud

The Later Commentators

Proliferation and Persecution

A Page of Talmud

Modern Talmudic Scholarship

How to Study Talmud

Daf Yomi

Midrash

Some Important Midrashic Texts

Chapter 7

Jewish Mysticism:

Emanations of the Eternal


What Is Mysticism?

The Chariot and the Chambers: Ancient Jewish Mysticism

The Mysteries of Creation: Sefer Yetzirah

Ten Sefirot Twice Over: Early Kabbalah and the Ashkenazi Hasidim

Kabbalah in Spain

Splendor: The Zohar

The Tree of Life

The Star of David

The Lion Speaks: Lurianic Kabbalah

The False Messiah: Shabbateanism

Hasidic Mysticism

Some Other Key Figures in Jewish Mysticism

Kabbalah in the Twentieth Century

Rabbi Kook

Gershom Scholem and the Study of Mysticism

Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and the Jewish Renewal Movement

Meditation

The Lasting Influence of Jewish Mysticism

How to Study Kabbalah

Chapter 8

The Philosophers:

The Continuing Evolution

of Jewish Thought


Rabbis versus Philosophers

Philo Judaeus (20 B.C.E.-50 C.E.)

From the Writings of Philo

Saadiah Gaon (882 C.E.-942 C.E.)

From the Writings of Saadiah Gaon

Maimonides (c. 1135 C.E.-1204 C.E.)

13 Principles of the Jewish Faith

From the Writings of Maimonides

Judah HaLevi (1075 C.E.-1141 C.E.)

From the Writings of Judah HaLevi

Baruch Spinoza (1632 C.E.-1677 C.E.)

From the Writings of Baruch Spinoza

Moses Mendelssohn (1729 C.E.-1786 C.E.)

From the Writings of Moses Mendelssohn

Franz Rosenzweig (1886 C.E.-1929 C.E.)

Rosenzweig and Buber Translate Torah

From the Writings of Franz Rosenzweig

Martin Buber (1878 C.E.-1965 C.E.)

From the Writings of Martin Buber

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907 C.E.-1972 C.E.)

From the Writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel

Joseph Soloveitchik (1903 C.E.-1993 C.E.)

From the Writings of Joseph Soloveitchik

Emmanuel Levinas (1906 C.E.-1995 C.E.)

From the Writings of Emmanuel Levinas

Chapter 9

Beyond the Rabbis:

How Judaism Got

Where It Is Today


The Jews in the East

Sworn Enemies: Hasidim and Mitnagdim

"Why Do They Dress Like That?"

Enlightenment and Emancipation

The Jewish Question

Sworn Enemies: Reform and Orthodox

Sworn Enemies: The Rabbis and the Haskalah

Yiddish: The "Mother Tongue"

Ladino

The Zionists

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda

Herzl and His Successors

The Evolution of Anti-Semitism

Sifting Through the Ashes

Exiles' Return

Feminism Remakes Jewish Theology

The Temptations of Assimilation

Appendix 1

Some Key Documents of

Contemporary Jewish Belief


Reform Judaism

The Pittsburgh Platform, 1885

The Columbus Platform, 1937

A Centenary Perspective, 1976

The Doral Country Club Resolution, 1997?100th

Anniversary of the Zionist Movement

Conservative Judaism

On Changes in Judaism -- Zecharias Frankel

The Ideal Conservative Jew: Eight Behavioral Expectations -- Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein

Reconstructionism

Who Is a Reconstructionist Jew?

Orthodoxy

The Orthodox Jewish Congregational Union of America

Founding Program of Agudat Israel (May 1912)

Zionism

The Basel Program -- Passed by the First Zionist Congress

(1897)

The Balfour Declaration

Declaration of Israel's Independence, 1948

Appendix 2

A Time Line of Major Events


Appendix 3

Where the Jews Are Today


Appendix 4

Jewish Holidays, 1999-2006


Appendix 5

How Do I Know It's Kosher?

An Orthodox Union Kosher Primer<>

Glossary

Sources and Resources:

A Bibliography


Index
Atria Books; June 2008
672 pages; ISBN 9781439117521
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Title: Essential Judaism
Author: George Robinson
 
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1439117527
9780671034818
9781439117521