Judaisms: A Twenty-First-Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities

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What does it mean to be a Jew in the twenty-first century? Exploring the multifaceted and intensely complicated characteristics of this age-old, ever-changing community, Judaisms examines how Jews are a culture, ethnicity, nation, nationality, race, religion, and more. With each chapter revolving around a single theme (Narratives, Sinais, Zions, Messiahs, Laws, Mysticisms, Cultures, Movements, Genocides, Powers, Borders, and Futures) this introductory textbook interrogates and broadens readers’ understandings of Jewish communities. Written for a new mode of teaching—one that recognizes the core role that identity formation plays in our lives—this book weaves together alternative and marginalized voices to illustrate how Jews have always been in the process of reshaping their customs, practices, and beliefs. Judaisms is the first book to assess and summarize Jewish history from the time of the Hebrew Bible through today using multiple perspectives.
 
Ideal for classroom use, Judaisms

  • provides a synthetic and coherent alternative understanding of Jewish identity for students of all backgrounds;
  • focuses on both the history of and potential futures for physical and ideological survival;
  • includes an array of engaging images, many in color;
  • offers extensive online resources including notes, key terms, a timeline of major texts, and chapter-by-chapter activities for teaching.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Judaisms is just what the world needs: a scholarly and accessible introduction to the multifaceted Judaisms of the 21st century. Aaron Hahn Tapper draws readers in with engaging personal anecdotes and then offers insightful analysis of the narratives, texts, rituals, and communities that comprise Jews and Judaisms, past and present. This book has significantly enhanced my teaching of Introduction to Judaism by sparking rich classroom conversations and increasing students' understanding. Highly recommended!"—Sarah Bunin Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, Hebrew Union College

"Broad in its sweep, sensitive in its explanations of concepts, theories, and ideas, and lucid in its prose, this book makes a passionate and necessary case for the plurality of Jews and Judaisms."—Lila Corwin Berman, Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History and Director, Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, Temple University

"Aaron Hahn Tapper’s capacious Judaisms: A Twentieth Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities delivers what the title promises.  As the plurals in the title suggest,  the unifying theme is diversity—its complexity, nuance, and fluidity—an animating 21st century trope. Crafted with the student and classroom in mind, the book is driven by pedagogic passion and insight rendering a wide-range of knotty topics intelligible, accessible, and compelling."—Rabbi Bernie Steinberg, Adjunct Faculty, Graduate Theological Union and former Executive Director, Harvard University Hillel

"A crucial guide to the multivocality of Jewish experience and ideology. Required reading for anyone looking for an overview of Judaism and Jews, in all of their diversity and complexity."—Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights and author of Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community

"Sweeping and sophisticated, Judaisms challenges our understanding of the Jewish community and weaves a new narrative, which embraces difference, multiplicity, and contestation. I can think of no one in the field more qualified than Aaron Hahn Tapper in exploring issues of Jewish identities."—Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
 

About the Author:

Aaron J. Hahn Tapper is the Mae and Benjamin Swig Associate Professor in Jewish Studies and the Founder and Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

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