cover image The JGuy's Guide: The GPS for Jewish Teen Guys

The JGuy's Guide: The GPS for Jewish Teen Guys

Joseph B. Meszler, Shulamit Reinharz, Liz Suneby and Diane Heiman. Jewish Lights, $16.99 trade paper ISBN 978-1-58023-721-5

"Judaism says boys become men at age thirteen, but we all know that is not really true nowadays," writes Meszler (A Man's Responsibility), a congregational rabbi and educator. This male counterpart to 2005's The JGirl's Guide (Reinharz was a co-author) examines male adolescent concerns and yearnings through multiple perspectives: a short think piece from Meszler; reflections from peers ("Teen Voices"); a passel of supposedly relevant factoids (perhaps the book's weakest element); anecdotes about male Jewish role models of all kinds (Howie Mandel, for example, had to overcome mysophobia %E2%80%93 fear of germs); thoughts from the Bible and other Jewish sources (the story of Dinah is evoked in a discussion of women as sex objects); and inspiring Hebrew texts. There's also space for prompted journaling ("Do you think prayer is important? Why or why not?") Teen boys are a tough crowd, and it would take a pretty extraordinary specimen to digest this book on his own. That said, its openhearted tone and willingness to wear its wisdom relatively lightly could make it an excellent tool for an individual or group exercise led by a trusted teacher. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)