A Heart of Many Rooms: Celebrating the Many Voices within Judaism

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9781580230483: A Heart of Many Rooms: Celebrating the Many Voices within Judaism
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"This work is not addressed only to scholars of Judaism or theologians, but also, and primarily, to all Jews and non-Jews who would like to share the thoughts and struggles of a person who loves Torah and Halakhah, who is committed to helping make room for and celebrate the religious and cultural diversity present in the modern world, and who believes that a commitment to Israel and to Jewish particularity must be organically connected to the rabbinic teaching, 'Beloved are all human beings created in the image of God.'"
―from the Introduction

With clarity, passion and outstanding scholarship, David Hartman addresses the spiritual and theological questions that face all Jews and all people today. From the perspective of traditional Judaism, he helps us understand the varieties of twentieth-century Jewish practice and shows that commitment to both Jewish tradition and to pluralism can create bridges of understanding between people of different religious convictions.

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Review:

A Heart of Many Rooms is a passionate, eloquent collection of essays that praise the diversity of Jewish experiences. Philosopher David Hartman's work is based on his conviction that "[T]he rebirth of the Jewish people in its homeland challenges us to articulate a sober and responsible religious anthropology capable of energizing Jews to assume responsibility for a total Jewish society." Education regarding the variety of religious experiences within Judaism, Hartman says, will equip Jews for assuming that responsibility. To hasten that process of education, Hartman describes various Jewish experiences and brings them into dialogue with one another--orthodox and reform, religious and secular, skeptical and faithful. Although some readers may take issue with the breadth of Hartman's inclusiveness, most will agree with his basic idea of what it means to be a Jew. "My picture of a genuinely religious person is one who is not averse to getting hands dirty," Hartman writes, "one who does not await divine intervention but who experiences God's presence in efforts to discharge the responsibilities he or she feels for the welfare of a total society." --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

A world-renowned philosopher and social activist, Dr. David Hartman (z"l) was 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.

Formerly 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 From Defender to Critic: The Search for a New Jewish Self; The God Who Hates Lies: Confronting and Rethinking Jewish Tradition; A Heart of Many Rooms: Celebrating the Many Voices within Judaism, 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 (all Jewish Lights). His classic works A Living Covenant: The Innovative Spirit in Traditional Judaism (Jewish Lights) and Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest both were winners of the National Jewish Book Award.

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9781580231565: A Heart of Many Rooms: Celebrating the Many Voices within Judaism

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