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9781580232593

I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl

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WINNER OF THE 2004 NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD FOR ANTHOLOGIES!

Being Jewish. What does it mean—today—and for the future? Listen in as Jews of all backgrounds reflect, argue, and imagine.

When Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered in Pakistan, many Jews were particularly touched by his last words affirming his Jewish identity. Many were moved to reflect on or analyze their feelings toward their lives as Jews.

The saying "two Jews, three opinions" well reflects the Jewish community’s broad range of views on any topic. I Am Jewish captures this richness of interpretation and inspires Jewish people of all backgrounds to reflect upon and take pride in their identity. Contributions, ranging from major essays to a paragraph or a sentence, come from adults as well as young people in the form of personal feelings, statements of theology, life stories, and historical reflections. Despite the diversity, common denominators shine through clearly and distinctly.

This inspiring collection presents answers from Jewish people around the world—artists, entertainers, government leaders, authors, media personalities, scientists, community organizers, scholars, rabbis, and others—covering the religious, professional, and political spectrum. They explore:

• Identity—Our relationship to ourselves, how we define who we are in the most fundamental way.
• Heritage—Our relationship to family, community, culture, tradition, and our collective history.
• Covenant, Chosenness, and Faith—Our relationship to God, our understanding of the relationship between God and the Jewish people, and our understanding of Judaism as a religion.
• Humanity and Ethnicity—Our relationship to others who are not part of the Jewish people. How does a sense of particularism relate to the universal themes and teachings of Judaism?
• Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) and Justice—Our relationship to the larger world, and what "I am Jewish" means for what we do with our lives as we address our responsibilities in the world.

In this critical time in our history, I Am Jewish will motivate people throughout the Jewish community to think about their lives as Jews, and have a profound effect on the way younger Jews shape their identity in years to come. It will help people of all faiths and backgrounds to better understand Jewish people and Judaism.

Contributors include:

Ehud Barak
Sylvia Boorstein
Edgar M. Bronfman
Alan Colmes
Alan Dershowitz
Kirk Douglas
Richard Dreyfuss
Kitty Dukakis
Dianne Feinstein
Tovah Feldshuh
Debbie Friedman
Milton Friedman
Thomas L. Friedman
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Nadine Gordimer
David Hartman
Moshe Katsav
Larry King
Francine Klagsbrun
Harold Kushner
Lawrence Kushner
Shia LaBeouf
Norman Lamm
Norman Lear
Julius Lester
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Bernard Lewis
Daniel Libeskind
Joe Lieberman
Deborah E. Lipstadt
Joshua Malina
Michael Medved
Ruth W. Messinger
Amos Oz
Cynthia Ozick
Shimon Peres
Martin Peretz
Dennis Prager
Anne Roiphe
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Vidal Sassoon
Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi
Daniel Schorr
Harold M. Schulweis
Lynn Schusterman
Natan Sharansky
Gary Shteyngart
Sarah Silverman
Michael H. Steinhardt
Kerri Strug
Lawrence H. Summers
Mike Wallace
Elie Wiesel
Leon Wieseltier
Sherwin T. Wine
Ruth R. Wisse
Peter Yarrow
A. B. Yehoshua
Eric H. Yoffie

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Product Description:

Being Jewish. What does it mean?today?and for the future? Listen in as Jews of all backgrounds reflect, argue, and imagine.

When Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered in Pakistan, many Jews were particularly touched by his last words affirming his Jewish identity. Many were moved to reflect on or analyze their feelings toward their lives as Jews.

The saying "two Jews, three opinions" well reflects the Jewish community's broad range of views on any topic. I Am Jewish captures this richness of interpretation and inspires Jewish people of all backgrounds to reflect upon and take pride in their identity.

Contributions, ranging from major essays to a paragraph or a sentence, come from adults as well as young people in the form of personal feelings, statements of theology, life stories, and historical reflections. Despite the diversity, common denominators shine through clearly and distinctly.

Contributors include:
Ehud Barak • Sylvia Boorstein • Edgar M. Bronfman • Alan Colmes • Alan Dershowitz • Kirk Douglas • Richard Dreyfuss • Kitty Dukakis • Dianne Feinstein • Tovah Feldshuh • Debbie Friedman • Milton Friedman • Thomas L. Friedman • Ruth Bader Ginsburg • Nadine Gordimer • David Hartman • Moshe Katsav • Larry King • Francine Klagsbrun • Harold Kushner • Lawrence Kushner • Shia LaBeouf • Norman Lamm • Norman Lear • Julius Lester • Bernard-Henri Lévy • Bernard Lewis • Daniel Libeskind • Joe Lieberman • Deborah E. Lipstadt • Joshua Malina • Michael Medved • Ruth W. Messinger • Amos Oz • Cynthia Ozick • Shimon Peres • Martin Peretz • Dennis Prager • Anne Roiphe • Sandy Eisenberg Sasso • Vidal Sassoon • Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi • Daniel Schorr • Harold M. Schulweis • Lynn Schusterman • Natan Sharansky • Gary Shteyngart • Sarah Silverman • Michael H. Steinhardt • Kerri Strug • Lawrence H. Summers • Mike Wallace • Elie Wiesel • Leon Wieseltier • Sherwin T. Wine • Ruth R. Wisse • Peter Yarrow • A. B. Yehoshua • Eric H. Yoffie

About the Author:

Sylvia Boorstein is cofounding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, and a senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She lectures nationally on Buddhism and mindfulness, and teaches Vipassana and Metta meditation.



Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of many books.



Debbie Friedman, the beloved late singer-songwriter, transformed modern Jewish music and was called "the Joan Baez of Jewish song." Her albums have sold over half a million copies, she performed forty to fifty concerts a year worldwide, including performances at Carnegie Hall, and she is subject of the documentary film A Journey of the Spirit. Her fan following continues to be emotional and strong.



A world-renowned philosopher and social activist, Dr. David Hartman (z"l) is the founder and president emeritus of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Named after his late father, the Institute is dedicated to developing a new understanding of classical Judaism that provides moral and spiritual direction for Judaism's confrontation with modernity.

Presently professor emeritus at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University's theological seminary in New York City. He is the author of many award-winning books, including A Living Covenant: The Innovative Spirit in Traditional Judaism (Jewish Lights) and Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest, both winners of the National Jewish Book Award; A Heart of Many Rooms: Celebrating the Many Voices within Judaism (Jewish Lights), finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and a Publishers Weekly "Best Book of the Year"; and Love and Terror in the God Encounter: The Theological Legacy of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (Jewish Lights).



Harold S. Kushner is rabbi laureate of Temple Israel of Natick in
Natick, Massachusetts.



Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is one of the most widely read authors by people of all faiths on Jewish spiritual life. He is the best-selling author of such books as Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary; God Was in This Place & I, i Did Not Know: Finding Self, Spirituality and Ultimate Meaning; Honey from the Rock: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism; The Book of Letters: A Mystical Hebrew Alphabet; The Book of Miracles: A Young Person's Guide to Jewish Spiritual Awareness; The Book of Words: Talking Spiritual Life, Living Spiritual Talk; Eyes Remade for Wonder: A Lawrence Kushner Reader; I'm God, You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion and other Disguises of the Ego; Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians; The River of Light: Jewish Mystical Awareness; The Way Into Jewish Mystical Tradition; and co-author of Because Nothing Looks Like God; How Does God Make Things Happen?; Where Is God?; What Does God Look Like?; and In God's Hands. He is the Emanu-El Scholar at San Francisco's Congregation Emanu-El and an adjunct professor of Jewish mysticism and spirituality at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is available to speak on the following topics:


• Jewish Mystical Imagination

• Rymanover's Silent Aleph: What Really Happened on Sinai

• Zohar on Romance and Revelation

• What Makes Kabbalah Kabbalah

• Sacred Stories of the Ordinary: When God Makes a Surprise Appearance in Everyday Life

Click here to contact the author.



Ruth W. Messinger is the president of American Jewish World Service. She contributed to We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet, Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef and All These Vows—Kol Nidre (both Jewish Lights).



Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, a parent, spiritual leader, and storyteller, is the awardwinning author of God's Paintbrush, In God's Name, God In Between and many other inspiring books for children of all faiths and backgrounds. The second woman to be ordained as a rabbi (1974) and the first rabbi to become a mother, she and her husband, Dennis, were the first rabbinical couple to jointly lead a congregation—Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis. They have two children, David and Debora, and three grandchildren. Sasso, who holds a doctorate in ministry, is active in the interfaith community, and has written and lectured on the renewal of spirituality and the discovery of the religious imagination in children of all faiths.
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Nurturing the Spiritual Imagination of Children
  • Tell Me a Story: Reading the Bible and the Religious Imagination of Children
  • Filling in the Blanks: How Women Read the Bible
  • Women and Judaism: A Personal Journey
  • Midrash as a Tool for Spiritual Reflection

Click here to contact the author.



Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi, the inspiration of the Jewish Renewal movement, is widely recognized as one of the most important Jewish spiritual teachers of our time. Professor emeritus at Temple University, he has contributed to Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections, and is the author of Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice, Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; First Steps to a New Jewish Spirit: Reb Zalman's Guide to Recapturing the Intimacy & Ecstasy in Your Relationship with God, (all Jewish Lights); From Age-ing to Sage-ing; and Wrapped in a Holy Flame, among other books.



Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, one of the most respected spiritual leaders and teachers of his generation, has been a rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California, for close to forty years. He is the founding chairman of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, an organization that identifies and offers grants to those non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews threatened by the agents of Nazi savagery. He is also the founder of Jewish World Watch, which aims to raise moral consciousness within the Jewish community. Synagogues and other religious institutions are now supporting this effort across the country.

Rabbi Schulweis is the author of many books, including: Conscience: The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey (Jewish Lights), Approaches to the Philosophy of Religion, For Those Who Can't Believe, Finding Each Other in Judaism, In God's Mirror, and two books of original religious poetry and meditation—From Birth to Immortality and Passages in Poetry. His Evil and the Morality of God is regarded as a classic.



Elie Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor and an award winning novelist, journalist and human rights activist. He is the founding chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and winner of the Noble Peace Prize. His writing is considered among the most important in Holocaust literature.

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