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Creating an Ethical Jewish Life

A Practical Introduction to Classic Teachings on How to Be a Jew

Dr. Byron L. Sherwin and Dr. Seymour J. Cohen

6 x 9, 336 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-58023-114-5

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A handbook of Jewish ethical values and literature. Life as an art form—
an invitation to Jewish ethical living.
“It is the human task to complete God’s unfinished artistic masterpiece—the human person.”
—from the Introduction
The classic texts of Jewish ethical literature—works little-known to most of us—are now readily available for personal study. This one-of-a-kind book brings the genre of Jewish ethical literature from its origins in the ancient and medieval worlds, straight into our 21st-century lives.
An invitation into a history rich with wisdom and guidance, Creating an Ethical Jewish Life offers traditional texts, clear explanations, and ways for us to use them in our lives. Rabbis Sherwin and Cohen highlight a wide variety of classic texts, including the Zohar, The Holy Letter, The Path of the Upright by Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto, Duties of the Heart by Bahya ibn Pakudah, and Nachmanides’ Commentary on the Torah. These timeless texts are combined with the authors’ insightful commentary to address the ultimate human moral issue, the most intimate personal question: How can I best live the life God has entrusted into my care?
With expertise and passion, Sherwin and Cohen show us how these unusual texts not only inform—but can transform our lives.
Explores how to:
Deal with ego • Be wise • Be healthy • Employ wealth • Die • Behave sexually • Believe in God • Thank God • Love God • Study the Torah • Repent • Treat one’s parents • Parent • Speak about another • Be Philanthropic
“A self-help manual with a thousand years of Jewish wisdom to back it up. A wonderful tool for anyone wanting to grow as a person and a mensch.”
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer, President-elect, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
“Jewish ethics is not simply ‘being a good person.’ It means understanding the Jewish sources. Precisely the right texts for attuning our lives to the way that God wants us to live…. This is a treasure trove of wisdom.”
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, author of Being God’s Partner: How to Find the
Hidden Link Between Spirituality and Your Work
“This is the book every rabbi and teacher has been waiting for to help stem the tide of apathy and assimilation among Jews who are not aware of how powerful the ethical thrust in Jewish traditional literature truly is.”
Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, The Jewish Center; editor of Moments of Transcendence
“This is a book that contains wisdom, and not just information. We will turn to it many times for guidance, insight, and perspective.”
Rabbi Jack Riemer, co-editor of So That Your Values Live On: Ethical Wills and How to Prepare Them
“There are values and then there are Jewish values, i.e., the way we act as Jews and how we Jews act as human beings. I am delighted to see such a fine selection of combined text and comments, each informative, every one much needed.”
Danny Siegel, lecturer, poet, and author
“Anyone searching for answers to the current question, ‘Why be Jewish?’ will find all of them in this efficiently arranged and documented work…. Excellent.”
American Library Association’s Booklist
Dr. Byron L. Sherwin, a leading scholar in Jewish theology, has served for over thirty years as professor of Jewish philosophy and mysticism at Chicago’s Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, where he is also Vice President for Academic Affairs. Rabbi Sherwin is the author of twenty-five books and over 150 articles and monographs; his works include Why Be Good?; In Partnership with God: Contemporary Jewish Law and Ethics; and Jewish Ethics for the 21st Century. Active in international Jewish communal affairs and interfaith relations, in 1992 Rabbi Sherwin was the first recipient of the “Man of Reconciliation” award from the Polish Council of Christians and Jews.
Dr. Seymour J. Cohen has opened up to English readers the previously little-known genre of medieval Jewish ethical literature through his masterful translations of three of its classics: The Ways of the Righteous, The Book of the Righteous, and The Holy Letter. Rabbi Cohen served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly and the Synagogue Council of America.

 

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