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Outline ReviewJonathan Kirsch wants to answer the question, "Who is a Jew?" and in The Woman Who Laughed at God, he comes to some gracious, broad-minded conclusions. Kirsch rejects definitions of Judaism based on "a set of commandments literally written in stone." Instead, he offers stories of chutzpah through the ages, beginning with Abraham (who argued with God) and Sarah (who laughed at Him), demonstrating that "Judaism has been defined by generation upon generation of courageous men and women who felt both inspired and empowered to reimagine and reinvent what it means to be a Jew." Kirsch argues by telling stories--of Maccabee freedom fighters, of ecstatic mystics, of kibbutzers who feasted on "kosher pigs." Although his essential point--that diversity, not orthodoxy, is the hallmark of true Judaism--is not a new one, it still bears repeating. Kirsch, author of the bestselling The Harlot by the Side of the Road, writes with such flair, ranging over a wide variety of characters, that his lively style elevates his conventional premise. --Michael Joseph Gross
Who is a Jew? In this colorful, eye-opening work, bestselling author and lecturer Jonathan Kirsch takes us on a three-thousand-year tour of Jewish identity and diversity and offers answers to this complex and difficult question. Kirsch reveals that Judaism has never been a religion of strict and narrow orthodoxy. For every accepted tradition in Jewish faith there are countertraditions rooted in biblical antiquity: the Maccabee freedom fighters who closed the Bible and picked up swords, dervish-like ecstatics who claimed to enjoy direct communication with God even after they had been excommunicated by a distrustful rabbinate, and courageous men and women who were the forgotten heroes of the Holocaust. With drama and narrative verve, Kirsch explores these and many other "Judaisms" that make up the rich tapestry of Jewish identity.
Buy The Woman Who Laughed at God: The Untold History of the Jewish People (Compass) by Jonathan Kirsch from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780142196113 & 0142196118 upc: 051488015000
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