"From the Sabbath to circumcision, from Hanukkah to the Holocaust, from bar mitzvah to bagel, how do Jewish religion, history, holidays, lifestyles, and culture make Jews different, and why is that difference so distinctive that we carry it from birth to the grave?" This accessible introduction to Judaism and Jewish life is especially for Christian readers interested in the deep connections and distinct differences between their faith and Judaism, but it is also for Jews looking for ways to understand their religion--and explain it to others. First released in 2002 and now in an updated edition.
The Purpose of This Book
A Range of Jewish Lifestyles, Beliefs, and Behaviors
Christians and Jews
- Going to Church: The Jewish Roots of Christian Worship Jews, Jesus, and Christianity
The Jewish Religion
- From Orthodox ...
- To Reform ...
- To Conservative ...
- To Reconstructionist
- Contemporary Synagogues and Congregations
- A Personal Observation
Inside the Synagogue
- The Torah and the Law
- Prayers and Blessings
- Symbols—The Mezuzah and the Star of David
- The Role of the Rabbi
- The Role of the Cantor
- Jewish Education
- Congregation Membership and Paying the Bills
- Jewish Priests
- Time for Confession
- Who’s in Charge?
Holidays and Festivals
- Holidays and the Jewish Calendar Shabbat—-The Sabbath
- The High Holidays—Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
- Simchat Torah
- Hanukkah—Is It Really the “Jewish Christmas”?
- Shavuot—The Harvest Festival
- Other Religious Events
Jewish Life Cycle Events
- A Jewish Wedding
- Let’s Go to a Circumcision!
- Baby Namings and Rituals for Daughters
- An Invitation to a Bar Mitzvah and a Bat Mitzvah A Jewish Funeral—Saying Good-bye to Uncle Harry You Can Only Get a Divorce If You’re Married
Home Life, Jewish Beliefs, and Other Interesting Matters
- Is a Kosher Hot Dog Really Kosher?
- Jewish Food
- Degrees of Orthodoxy
- Conversion to Judaism
- Religious Apparel and Dress
- Hasidim and Hasidism
- Creation, Heaven, Hell, and Life after Death
- Where, When, and How Many
- Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews
- Women and Judaism
Judaism in the World
- Jewish Art and Music Mysticism and the Repair of the World
- Money—Stereotypes, Charity, and the Scriptures
- Perform a Mitzvah
- Controversial Social Issues
- Old Wars and New Wars The Chosen People
- The Holocaust
A Call for Understanding and Community
Glossary and Pronunciation Guide
"Written in a breezy, conversational style and laced with humor, this primer on Judaism delivers precisely what the title indicates. Schoen describes himself as 'a layman and an 'average Jewish American.' He is actually an accomplished musician whose compositions have been played in recital and appear on two CDs. Schoen claims that he wrote the book to present a systematic response to questions about Judaism that were posed by his Christian friends. Schoen begins his guidebook with a clear explanation of the streams of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist. He then discusses what goes on inside the synagogue, followed by an examination of the Jewish holidays. The final sections deal with Jewish life cycle events, home life and beliefs and Judaism in the world. The book concludes with a plea for inter-faith cooperation. What is truly remarkable about this compendium is its thoroughness and lucidity. Schoen manages to touch briefly on practically all aspects of Judaism-from Israel, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism to the role of women, Jewish symbols, Jewish art and appropriate behavior at a bar or bat mitzvah, Jewish weddings and Jewish funerals. Although Schoen says he wrote the book as a manual for Christians, Jews can also benefit from this masterful overview of their religion, either as a refresher or as a quick source of new information."--Publishers Weekly [STARRED REVIEW]
"This compendium of facts, lore, and opinion is intended to help Christians become more knowledgeable about the issues of what it means to be a Jew, what the basic tenets and philosophy of Judaism are, and what problems American Jews face in today's society. Schoen discusses such topics as synagogues and congregations, the Torah, prayers, the roles of rabbis and cantors, and Jewish education. He also explains the holidays and festivals, weddings and funerals, keeping kosher, degrees of orthodoxy, conversion, religious apparel, women and Judaism, mysticism, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. Rounding out this very informative book is a helpful glossary and pronunciation guide of Hebrew and Yiddish words."--George Cohen, Booklist
"Schoen contributes to further understanding between Americaís Jewish and Christian communities." -- Rabbi Daniel Lapin, co-chair, American Alliance of Jews and Christians; president, Toward Tradition
"Schoen's syle is practical, informed, and helpful. A must read for anyone who wants to understand a Jewish friend."-- Monsignor Tom Hartman, The God Squad
" With wit and wisdom, Schoen takes the beginner through the basics... Highly recommended." --Dr. Eugene Fisher, executive secretary of the Secretariat for Catholic-Jewish Relations, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.