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Who Is A Jew?

Conversations, Not Conclusions

Meryl Hyman

6 x 9, 272 pp, Paperback, 978-1-58023-052-0

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Sure to generate great controversy as it provides new insights, "Who Is a Jew?" courageously takes on this timely and controversial question. It provides the full range of perspectives necessary to let us draw our own conclusions.
A seasoned journalist, Meryl Hyman weaves her own life experiences into this complex and controversial subject, exploring profound and highly personal questions of identity in conversations with Jew and non-Jew. The daughter of a Jewish father and a Christian mother, she set out to find out why so many Jews say she is not a Jew, even though she has practiced Judaism and identified herself as a Jew since birth. She found a people struggling with its own history, customs, and laws; a people who fear that their unity may be sacrificed.
Featured in "Who Is a Jew?" are leaders from all parts of the Jewish world, eminent scholars, and others from all spectrums of belief—from Israel, England, and the United States—who speak out on the subject and delve into such questions as:
  • What are the many-faceted "answers" to this seemingly simple question?
  • Why are these answers crucial for all Jews?
  • Why does Jewish identity have a bearing on all cultural, religious, and ethnic groups?
  • Why and how does Israel's answer to the question matter to Jews everywhere in the world?
"Penetrating, thoughtful and thought-producing."
Booklist Starred Review
"Should be required reading for anyone with an opinion on the Jewish continuity or 'Who is a Jew' issue."
J. J. Goldberg, Gannett Newspapers
Some people interviewed in “Who Is a Jew?” argue. . . .
“The law is stronger than us. Israel will not cease to be. We can be diluted, we can be watered down, we can lose a lot of blood, we can lose six million physically and six million spiritually in almost the same generation. We will not vanish. A tenth will remain, and from that tenth everything will be rebuilt.”
Rabbi Nachman Bulman, Mashgiach Ruchni (Spiritual Leader) and Dean of Students, Ohr Somayach Yeshiva, Jerusalem (Orthodox)
“I believe that Israel needs to be a Jewish state. It cannot be an Orthodox state and to make it an Orthodox state will shrink it, and render it insignificant to the Jewish people.”
Rabbi Dr. Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, New York City
“You can’t bridge the unbridgeable. The issue was, and remains, what will the State of Israel do?”
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the congregational arm of the Reform Movement in North America, New York City
“Israel is the only country in the free democratic world which . . . denies Jews religious freedom.”
Rabbi Uri Regev, Director and Counsel, The Israel Religious Action Center, and member of the Neeman Commission, Jerusalem (Reform)
“We are in the process of redefining what constitutes the Jewish identity.”
Rabbi Prof. Jonathan Magonet, Principal, Leo Baeck College, the Progressive (Reform and Liberal) rabbinic seminary in Europe, London
“These things don’t have an answer, they’re part of a conversation.”
Chief Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks, The United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, London (Orthodox)
Meryl Hyman, a veteran reporter and editor, has worked for most of her career at Gannett Newspapers.

 

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