Living a Joyous Life: The Spirit of Jewish Practice

David Aaron, Author Shambhala/Trumpeter $21.95 (162p) ISBN 978-1-59030-395-5

Aaron's mission, to “offer uncommon answers to common questions that people ask about Jewish identity, faith, and daily Jewish practices” begins with an unpacking of negative spiritual baggage. He encourages readers to take a deep look at the “oppressive, distorted” images of Judaism that hold them back from true delight in the tradition. Many Jews don't love being Jewish because they don't understand who they are or why they would want to live what Judaism teaches, asserts Aaron, a mystic and teacher (Inviting God In ). In an analogy from the Zohar, the mystical classic, he compares those who do not know the “whys” of Judaism to a cow that chews its cud mindlessly. To go from “the oy to the joy,” he provides accessible, readable chapters on God, Torah, prayer, Shabbat and kashrut. Each chapter asks a complex theological question (Who is God? Why pray?), then proceeds to answer it simply and clearly, with personal anecdotes, analogies and teachings from Jewish sources. Because Aaron himself grew up without a strong religious background, his empathic insights strike a note resonant enough to reawaken the spiritual taste buds. (Aug. 15)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 162 pages - 978-1-59030-611-6
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