A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew by Jonathan D Sarna

By Jonathan D Sarna

At the flip of the twenty-first century, the primary query confronting Jewish leaders in the United States is straightforward:

Why be Jewish?

Jonathan D. Sarna, acclaimed student of yank Judaism, believes that “Why be Jewish?” is the incorrect query. Judaism, he believes, isn't a lot a “why” as a way—a lifestyle, a fashion of marking time, a manner of with regards to the surroundings, to humans, to family members, and to God. Judaism is skilled via doing—doing issues Jewish, doing issues for fellow Jews in desire, doing issues as a Jew to enhance the kingdom of the area. The extra Judaism one does, the extra one involves delight in what Judaism is.

Using the Jewish calendar as his place to begin, Sarna displays at the significant subject matters of Jewish lifestyles as expressed in an entire yr of holidays—from Passover within the spring to Purim 11 months later. Passover, for example, yields a dialogue of freedom; Shavuot, a dialogue of Torah; Yom Kippur, the function of the person in the Jewish neighborhood; Chanukah, problems with assimilation and anti-assimilation.

An crucial short introduction—or reintroduction—to the main practices of Jewish existence in addition to the various complexities of the yank Jewish event, this ebook could be crucial examining for American Jews and definitely the right reward for the vacation season.

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Many times, Nazi troops and sympathizers gathered entire populations, had them dig their own graves, and shot them dead on the spot. qxd 6/17/08 10:48 AM Page 35 remembering the holocaust | 35 lined up by a ravine, and shot so they would fall into it. Most of the Jews of Greece—an ancient community and home to a large enclave of Sephardic Jews who had come from Spain and Portugal—were deported to Auschwitz in spring 1943 and never returned. A year later, some 437,000 Jews from Hungary were deported to Auschwitz in the space of just two months.

Our guests come from different places, and they have different traditions that I want to respect. The vegetables that we dip? qxd 12 | 6/17/08 10:48 AM Page 12 a time to every purpose descended from King David! I won’t tell him this, but actually Spanish explorers brought the potato from Peru to Europe in the sixteenth century; King David never ate a potato in his life! The potato custom actually developed when Jews lived in cold climates where green vegetables were not to be found at Passover time.

The modern call to return to Zion arose, in large measure, in response to two important movements that captured widespread attention in the late nineteenth century: antisemitism and nationalism. People like your great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents in Eastern Europe found themselves reviled as religious and cultural outsiders in their own home countries. AntiJewish violence and persecutions abounded: riots; pogroms; false accusations; restrictions on education; and limits on where Jews could live, work, and travel.

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