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Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century

Human Responsibility, the Presence of God, and the Future of the Covenant

Edited by Rabbi Edward Feinstein
Foreword by Paula E. Hyman

6 x 9, 192 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-58023-374-3

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What can we do to repair, rewind and reset Jewish time to
ensure a thriving existence in the future?
The generation of the late twentieth century experienced a rupture in Jewish time. As a result of our confrontation with Modernity, the integration of Jews into the American mainstream, the shattering tragedy of the Holocaust, and the miraculous rebirth of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, we can no longer look easily to the past for lessons of faith and models of Jewish meaning. No longer do we confidently project ourselves into the future. So much of what was taken for granted in earlier times is now open to question.
In this thought-provoking book, five celebrated leaders in Judaism, representing a broad spectrum of contemporary Jewish experience, reinterpret Jewish life, re-envision its institutions, and re-imagine its future in the shadow of the events of the twentieth century.
Reflecting on the unique events of this century, these eminent scholars assert a shared recognition of human responsibility as the quintessence of God’s presence in the world. They imagine a new stage in the development of the ancient Covenant, a stage in which human beings take responsibility for shaping the Jewish historical experience. They explore how that new stage will find expression in the rhythms of Jewish personal and communal life—its implications for halachah, prayer, spirituality, the synagogue, and our relations with the world.
Contributors include:
Rabbi David Ellenson
Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg
Rabbi David Hartman
Rabbi Harold Kushner
Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis
“Heartfelt presentations touch on such diverse issues as ethics, the presence of God, the Holocaust, and God’s love.... A high-quality, well-grounded symposium.... A wonderful resource for adult learning. It should be required reading for all those who are shaping the Jewish future.”
Congregational Libraries Today
“Concise and very readable, while addressing deep questions.”
Jewish Book World
“Reminds us that Jewish debate across denominational lines can be compelling, respectful, and worthwhile; Jewish theology, so often neglected, is both fascinating and important to our Jewish lives; and serious Jewish learning always leads to activism and engagement with the world. Buy this book; it will, in these difficult days, restore your faith in the Jewish future.”
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president, Union for Reform Judaism
“A treasure house…. The five most illustrious Jewish thinkers of our day discuss the eleven most pressing issues now facing the Jewish community. Sit back, read, learn and enjoy.”
Rabbi Neil Gillman, Aaron Rabinowitz and Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Jewish Philosophy, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; author,
Traces of God: Seeing God in Torah, History and Everyday Life
“Stimulating and challenging. It will make you realize how far we have come and how far we yet have to go. Anyone who takes Jewish life seriously will be intrigued by this book.”
Prof. Deborah  E. Lipstadt, PhD, director, Tam Institute for Jewish Studies,
Emory University
“Powerful … speaks personally and passionately about why being Jewish matters today. Poignant, private experiences as well as brilliant, insightful understandings of historical texts and events illuminate Judaism’s capacity to empower our lives with meaning, direction—and hope.”
Sylvia Barack Fishman, professor of contemporary Jewish life, Brandeis University; author of The Way Into the Varieties of Jewishness
“Thoroughly captivating…. Confronts the most sobering and depressing realities of our time and recent history; yet their thoughts leave us with hope and inspiration for the Jewish future.”
Prof. Steven M. Cohen, research professor of Jewish social policy, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion
Paula E. Hyman is the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Modern Jewish History at Yale University.

 

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