JEWISH RITUAL: A Brief Introduction for Christians

Kerry M. Olitzky, Author, Daniel Judson, Author . Jewish Lights $14.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-58023-210-4

Of the many guidebooks to Judaism, few address themselves specifically to Christian readers. Given today's permeable religious boundaries and the cross-fertilization between traditions, this handbook should be warmly welcomed on the religious bookshelf. Olitzky and Judson, both rabbis and authors, offer simple but profound explanations of the rituals that inform, shape and reflect Jewish life, identity and values. They include understandable rituals like Shabbat, universal practices like prayer and study and identifiable signs of Jewish identity like wearing a kippah . The authors also branch out to explain traditions Christians might find peculiar, like wearing tefillin (prayer boxes). Each chapter includes the ritual's biblical origin, evolution, modern perspectives, practical instruction, symbolic and spiritual values and Christian parallels. Some rituals have easy commonalities, like baptism and the mikvah (ritual bath), but others require deeper and more creative links: tefillin and the rosary, for instance, both enhance the "tactile sensation of prayer." To show how practices seek to "infuse life with sense of holiness," Olitzky, Judson and three contributing authors mix straightforward explanations with personal narratives that reflect their own experiences. "The history of Jewish-Christian relations is... a place of brokenness," they write, hoping their book will generate spiritual healing, "allowing Jews and Christians to see each others' religion with greater clarity and greater respect." (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-1-58023-597-6
Hardcover - 144 pages - 978-1-68336-148-0
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