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Vanessa Ochs invites her readers to explore how Jewish practice can be more meaningful through renewing, reshaping, and even creating new rituals, such as naming ceremonies for welcoming baby girls, healing services, Miriam's cup, mitzvah days, egalitarian wedding practices, and commitment ceremonies. We think of rituals -- the patterned ways of doing things that have shared and often multiple meanings -- as being steeped in tradition and therefore unalterable. But rituals have always been reinvented. When we perform ancient rituals in a particular place and time they are no longer quite the same rituals they once were. Each is a debut, an innovation: this Sabbath meal, this Passover seder, this wedding -- firsts in their own unique ways. In the last 30 years there has been a surge of interest in reinventing ritual, in what is called minhag America. Ochs describes the range and diversity of interest in this Jewish American experience and examines how it reflects tradition as it revives Jewish culture and faith. And she shows us how to create our own ritual objects, sacred spaces, ceremonies, and liturgies that can be paths to greater personal connection with history and with holiness: baby-naming ceremonies for girls, divorce rituals, Shabbat practices, homemade haggadahs, ritual baths, healing services. Through these and more, we see that American Judaism is a dynamic cultural process very much open to change and a source of great personal and communal meaning.
Portrait of the City in the Second Temple Period (538 B.C.E. – 70 C.E.)
Jerusalem in the Second Temple period experienced dramatic growth as it achieved unprecedented political, religious, and spiritual prominence. Lee Levine traces the development of Jerusalem during this time -- through its urban, demographic, topographical, and archaeological features, its political regimes, public institutions, and its cultural and religious life.
A JPS Guide
This new volume in the acclaimed JPS Guides series is an invaluable companion to the Jewish Bible, providing readers with ready access to important facts and Bible basics: # how the Bible became the "Bible"; its origins, content, and organization # distinctions between the Jewish Bible (the Tanakh) and Christian Bibles # a short history of Bible translations, and how they differ # Bible commentaries # storytelling, poetry, law, prophecy, and Wisdom literature # popular methods of Bible study # finding meaning through midrash In addition, there are summaries of all the biblical books; dozens of text boxes; an extensive glossary of Bible terms, places, and people; maps, charts, and tables; and large foldout timelines and family trees--all in color. Contributions are by leading Bible scholars and educators: Marc Zvi Brettler, Joyce Eisenberg, Michael Fishbane, Michael V. Fox, Leonard Greenspoon, Jill Hammer, Stuart Kelman, Adriane Leveen, David Mandel, Lionel Moses, Shalom Paul, Benjamin Edidin Scolnic, Ellen Scolnic, David E. S. Stein, Barry Dov Walfish, and Andrea Weiss.
a companion for all seasons
Throughout the ages, Jews have connected legends to particular days of the Hebrew calendar. Abraham's birth, the death of Rachel, and the creation of light are all tales that are linked to a specific day and season. The Jewish Book of Days invites readers to experience the connection between sacred story and nature's rhythms, through readings designed for each and every day of the year. These daily readings offer an opportunity to live in tune with the wisdom of the past while learning new truths about the times we live in today. Using the tree as its central metaphor, The Jewish Book of Days is divided into eight chapters of approximately forty-five days each. These sections represent the tree's stages of growth--seed, root, shoot, sap, bud, leaf, flower, and fruit--and also echo the natural cadences of each season. Each entry has three components: a biblical quote for the day; a midrash on the biblical quote or a Jewish tradition related to that day; and commentary relating the text to the cycles of the year. The author includes an introduction that analyzes the different months and seasons of the Hebrew calendar and explains the textual sources used throughout. Appendixes provide additional material for leap years, equinoxes, and solstices. A section on seasonal meditations offers a new way to approach the divine every day.
What are our obligations and rights to our own bodies? What does Judaism say about tattoos? Piercings? About our obligations to exercise and eat properly? What about smoking? Alcohol? Recreational drugs? Who owns our organs? What about our eggs and sperm? If resources are limited, whose body comes first and how do we decide? Why do so many young Jews suffer from eating disorders? Each volume in this series presents traditional and contemporary sources on specific topics, followed by hypothetical cases and study questions to provoke discussion. Supplementing these are brief essays written by a diverse group -- political figures and journalists, business professionals and authors, scholars and artists, young voices and old, traditional believers and iconoclasts. As a conclusion, Dorff and Newman present their own reflections, providing a counterpoint to the contributors' perspectives. These voices from the Jewish tradition and today's Jewish community give us new questions and perspectives to think about and encourage us to consider our moral choices in a new light.
Sex and Intimacy
In the newest addition to the Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices series, co-editors Elliot Dorff and Danya Ruttenberg have brought together a diverse group of Jews to comment on how Judaism affects their views and actions regarding sex. Contributors range from adult movie actor Ron Jeremy, to renowned feminist scholar Martha Ackelsberg, to noted writer and blogger Esther Kustanowitz, as well as rabbis, doctors, social workers, and activists. They discuss issues of monogamy, honesty, and communication in dating and marriage; testing for and disclosure of STDs; abortion, sex education, sex work, and sexuality. Each volume in this series presents hypothetical cases on specific topics, followed by traditional and contemporary sources. Supplementing these are brief essays, written by contributors of various ages, backgrounds, and viewpoints to provoke lively thought and discussion. These voices from Jewish tradition and today’s Jewish community present us with new questions and perspectives, encouraging us to consider our own moral choices in a new light.
How do we use power once we’ve gained it? Is it completely for our individual benefit, or do we use it to help our neighborhoods, or society at-large? What kinds of decisions must CEOs and business owners make regarding suppliers and customers? How should bosses treat workers? Teachers treat students? Parents treat children? Government treats citizens? Power dynamics affect people on a political level, a social level, and a deeply personal level as well. The newest volume in the Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices series examines these dynamics and includes essays by such fine contributors as U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, NBC Universal Television-West Coast President Marc Graboff, and author and scholar James Diamond.
Is it O.K. to be wealthy? How do we know when we have too much? Enough? Is wealth relative--are those born into wealth entitled to accumulate more money than those born in poorer circumstances? What are we obligated to do with our money? How much are we supposed to give to charity? Can Jewish charitable institutions accept money that may be "tainted"? How big a role should income play in our identity, in our life plan, in our pursuit of happiness? Each volume in this series presents traditional and contemporary sources on specific topics, followed by hypothetical cases and study questions to provoke discussion. Supplementing these are brief essays written by a diverse group -- political figures and journalists, business professionals and authors, scholars and artists, young voices and old, traditional believers and iconoclasts. As a conclusion, Dorff and Newman present their own reflections, providing a counterpoint to the contributors' perspectives. These voices from the Jewish tradition and today's Jewish community give us new questions and perspectives to think about and encourage us to consider our moral choices in a new light.
How do we expand health care coverage to more Americans? Are hate crimes legislation and affirmative action fair? What sacrifices must we make to protect the environment? Is the death penalty morally acceptable? Contributors include Jill Jacobs, of Jewish Funds for Justice; Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center; and TV commentator and UCLA law professor Laurie Levenson.
War and National Security
Is it morally acceptable to use surveillance and profiling to protect national security? Should war only be used in self-defense? Is torture in times of war morally acceptable? Contributors include scholar Noam Chomsky, Lt. Col. Seth Milstein, and political philosopher Michael Walzer.