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Exploring Jewish Tradition: A Transliterated Guide to Everyday Practice and Observance

Abraham Witty; Rachelle Witty

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ISBN 10: 0385494548 / ISBN 13: 9780385494540
Published by Doubleday, 2001
Used Condition: Used: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Exploring Jewish Tradition: A Transliterated...

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Used: Good

About this title


If you want to introduce Jewish traditions into your home, would like to learn about the Jewish faith of your neighbor, plan to host a traditional seder, or are just curious about a term or ritual, Exploring Jewish Tradition addresses all your needs. This thorough review of Judaism as it has been practiced by Jewish men, women, and children for thousands of years provides concise directions for observing traditions, captioned illustrations that illuminate and enhance the text, and overall guidance about how to live a Jewish life.
Organized into ten chapters, hundreds of transliterated terms are linked together in a friendly narrative that leads the readers step-by-step through the vocabulary and concepts of Jewish tradition.

The text includes chapters on the interpretation and significance of the word "Torah," the foundation of all Jewish knowledge; the synagogue and its artifacts; prayer and Jewish liturgy; the Jewish (lunar/solar) calendar; the Sabbath; the high holy days; the pilgrimage festivals; the minor festivals; the Jewish life cycle; and special words and phrases that are used in everyday Jewish life.

Exploring Jewish Tradition is a guidebook not only for the traditional Jew but for the uncertain newcomer, the inquisitive non-Jew, or anyone else who has ever wondered about the difference between Torah and Talmud, Kiddush and Kaddish, Shabbat and Shevat, or mezuzah and mazal.


Exploring Jewish Tradition, by Rabbi Abraham B. Witty and Rachel J. Witty, is not a particularly original project. There are already dozens of general and specialized guidebooks covering the territory that the Wittys explore here. What sets this one apart, however, is its emphasis on the language of Judaism--the vocabulary and idioms of Jewish traditions. Each of 10 chapters (covering Torah, synagogue ritual, prayer, the Jewish calendar, the Sabbath, the High Holidays, the Pilgrimage Festivals, the minor festivals, the Jewish life cycle, and "special words and phrases used in the day-to-day Jewish experience") is strictly organized into numbered sections exploring the meaning of various terms, with frequent and often lengthy allusions to the Torah, the Talmud, and other central Jewish texts. Each chapter ends with a cross-referenced listing of new words that have appeared in the chapter; and the back of the book provides a complete vocabulary and subject index. With these features, Exploring Jewish Tradition is structured as an exploration of the meaning of Jewish language. It's an ingenious and apt device for introducing the major elements of modern Judaism. For readers who seek a more historical, theological, or philosophical orientation to Jewish tradition, this may not be the best choice. But for those whose understanding is best structured by the meanings of words, it's a perfect fit. --Michael Joseph Gross

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