Text Messages: A Torah Commentary for Teens

Rabbi Jeffrey K Salkin, Editor
Edited by Jeffrey K. Salkin. Jewish Lights, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-58023-507-5
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-58023-634-8
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Salkin, a rabbi, writer, and editor, has selected 53 brief excerpts from the Five Books of Moses that he thinks contain a message for teen-age Jews. To deliver the message, he has recruited rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators, Jewish social workers and other Jewish community leaders to spell out the meaning of these teachings. To insure that those who read the book will find it clear, thirteen youngsters served as a teen editorial advisory board. Inevitably, with such a large number of authors, the quality of contributions varies. The writers generally succeed, however, in not haranguing readers but rather encouraging them to follow the lesson of the passages. For example, the book opens with Cain's answer to God on being asked where Abel is: "Am I my brother's keeper?" First, the author expands the meaning of "brother" to include others who are not relatives. Then, the assertion is made that one should "think of the other person as much as you think of yourself." Finally, the lesson: "But when you learn what it means to protect your brother (and when you figure out who your ‘brother' really is), that will be the moment you become an adult."  This will be a useful book for Jewish teen-agers who read it, and a potential bar- or bat-mitzvah gift. (July)
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