cover image Judaism for the World: Reflections on God, Life, and Love

Judaism for the World: Reflections on God, Life, and Love

Arthur Green. Yale Univ., $30 (416p) ISBN 978-0-300-24998-9

Green (The Heart of the Matter), a rabbi and founding dean of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College in Boston, brings together 29 of his most stimulating “essays, short teachings, insights, and readings of Jewish sources” in this illuminating collection. Reflecting over 50 years of Green’s experience as a “Jewish seeker and teacher of Torah,” the entries are divided into three sections: “Soul” covers his religious journey, including his struggles with observance, the concept of submission to God, and the meaning of prayer; “Year” tracks the Jewish calendar, with Green’s reflections on holidays, fast days, and the Sabbath; and “World” addresses Jewish relations with Christians (helped by a recent multi-faith “awakening”), responds to American anti-Semitism after the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, and considers the relationship of American Jews to Israel by arguing Israeli society is approaching “a great self-examination” regarding its stance on security. A prologue makes clear the pieces are meant to be read independently of each other, as there is “no central ‘argument’ to this volume, no progression of thought from one essay to the next.” Nonetheless, all are animated by Green’s view that all true religions function as “a set of tools” to enable humanity to protect “that divine spark” in each human being. Admirers of Green’s body of work and newcomers alike will love this humane, accessible collection. (Sept.)