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

David Hartman, Author
David Hartman, Author Jewish Lights Publishing $24.95 (300p) ISBN 978-1-58023-048-3
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-58023-156-5
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In a series of eloquent essays, some published 30 years ago, Hartman (A Living Covenant) celebrates the great diversity that exists within contemporary Judaism. Raised as a Torah-observant Jew, Hartman learned from his early religious teachings that all human beings are loved because they are created in God's image. Early in his rabbinic career, Hartman began seeking ways to reconcile what he saw as the exclusionist tendencies of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, secular Zionists and non-Israelis. Most of the essays collected here focus on the author's ""continuing belief in the possibility and necessity of building educational bridges between different sectors of the population in Israel and throughout the Jewish world."" In a section on ""Family and Mitzvah Within an Interpretive Tradition,"" he contrasts what he calls two different approaches to Jewish spirituality--Torah and secular spirituality--and explores the great joy that Torah study brings to Judaism and to the Jewish family. In another section, ""Educating Towards Inclusiveness,"" Hartman advocates creating a shared language for education in Israel and among the Diaspora. Other essays in the collection include a paean to Abraham Joshua Heschel, ""A heroic witness to religious pluralism""; an ""Open letter to a Reform rabbi""; reflections on the conversion law; and ""Zionism and the continuity of Judaism."" In each of his essays, Hartman's incisive wit, passionate heart and loving soul animate his desire for religious diversity and understanding. (Apr.)
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