Rethinking Modern Judaism: Ritual, Commandment, Community

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University of Chicago Press, 1999 - History - 347 pages
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Arnold Eisen here calls for a fundamental rethinking of the story of modern Judaism. More than simply a study of Jewish thought on customs and rituals, Rethinking Modern Judaism explores the central role that practice plays in Judaism's encounter with modernity.

"Fascinating . . . an insightful entrance point to understanding the evolution of the theologies of America's largest Jewish denominations."—Tikkun

"I know of no other treatment of these issues that matches Eisen's talents for synthesizing a wide variety of historical, philosophical, and social scientific sources, and bringing them to bear in a balanced and open-minded way on the delicate questions of why modern Jews relate as they do to the practices of Judaism."—Joseph Reimer, Boston Book Review

"At once an incisive survey of modern Jewish thought and an inquiry into how Jews actually live their religious lives, Mr. Eisen's book is an invaluable addition to the study of American Judaism."—Elliott Abrams, Washington Times

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Rethinking modern Judaism: ritual, commandment, community

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In his new book, Eisen (religious studies, Stanford, and author of Chosen People in America, Indiana Univ., 1995), examines modern Jewish ritual as a window into Jewish feeling. He offers some ... Read full review

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Inaccessible to the lay reader. Approached this book hoping to gain greater insight into the mind of the man who is supposedly at the forefront of the battle to reshape and guide Conservative Judaism through its clear and continuing struggles in his capacity as Chancellor of the JTS. Instead, this work is an institutional product from the recesses of the Office of the Chancellor begging only for peer recognition. The Author's contempt for the lay reader is evident in his approach that demands the reader to be well versed in Enlightenment (and subsequent) philosophical works and concurrent Jewish product. If this is not enough, one only need to review his public comments to his lay constituency while basking in the light of the Chancellor. For the thinking lay reader, a more accessible recommendation: Judaism and Modern Man, by Wil Herberg 


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