26 07, 2015

High Holidays without God

By |2015-07-26T07:25:36-07:00July 26th, 2015|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

                                                                                                                              High Holidays without God   “The Days Between” by Dr. Marcia Falk is thought provoking even if one disagrees with what the author writes. She presents an inward, contemplative approach to the High Holiday services. Her versions of the principle traditional holiday prayers omit all references to God, and offer a non-patriarchal [...]

1 03, 2015

Does the Prayer Book teach the Truth?

By |2015-03-01T12:25:15-07:00March 1st, 2015|Thoughts|

                                             Does the Prayer Book teach the Truth?   From time to time, I receive excellent questions. I added explanations of Hebrew words in parenthesis. Here is one of them and my reply:   In a recent blog you wrote: "The central part of Israelite life after the redemption from Egyptian slavery was [...]

11 02, 2014

A Synagogue Companion

By |2014-02-11T08:43:40-07:00February 11th, 2014|Book Reviews|

                                                             Review by Israel Drazin                                  A Synagogue Companion By Rabbi Hayyim Angel Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, 2014, 351 pages   Rabbi Hayyim Angel is a scholar who writes very readable, interesting, and informative books. He presents “a vision of the Torah that is authentic, passionate, reasonable, and embracing [...]

30 08, 2013

Mystics and prayers

By |2013-08-30T04:13:34-07:00August 30th, 2013|Thoughts|

Mystics and prayers Part one By Israel Drazin The following two-part description of mystical notions and an explanation of the prayer Lecha Dodi is adapted from my book Maimonides: The Exceptional Mind.   The Sefirot The Zohar is one of the most important books of Jewish mysticism. Mystics claim that it was composed during the [...]

21 10, 2011

Noble Prize Winner Saramago Mocks Judaism

By |2011-10-21T04:13:17-07:00October 21st, 2011|Book Reviews|

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ By Jose Saramago   The reviews of 1998 Noble Prize winner Jose Saramago’s brilliant book on Amazon and elsewhere have generally been quite comprehensive, very well written, and informative. Therefore I will not delve again into the aspects of the novel that they discussed, such as the book’s plot; [...]

21 10, 2011

The truth about Judaism’s famous “prayer”

By |2011-10-21T03:44:25-07:00October 21st, 2011|Book Reviews|

All These Vows Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011, 264 pages   Remarkably, very few people understand the content, purpose, and history of what many consider Judaism’s most important prayer, a recitation embroiled in controversy, a legal document that the rabbis tried to expunge from the high holiday Day of Atonement [...]

12 01, 2011

An analysis of six prayers recited in the Jewish liturgy

By |2011-03-15T09:41:35-07:00January 12th, 2011|Book Reviews, Jewish Books, Thoughts|

Why We Pray What We Pray The Remarkable History of Jewish Prayer By Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel Urim Publications, 2010, 313 pages   Reviewed by Israel Drazin               Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel, Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America, reveals the fascinating history of six significant Jewish prayers in six well researched, informative, [...]

7 01, 2011

Prayers and women

By |2011-03-15T09:44:31-07:00January 7th, 2011|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

On Changes in Jewish Liturgy Options and Limitations By Daniel Sperber Urim Publications, 2010, 221 pages   Reviewed by Israel Drazin             This is the second recent volume where Daniel Sperber, professor, rabbi, author of thirty books and more than four hundred articles, a leading expert on Jewish laws and customs, addresses what many consider [...]

7 01, 2011

Discrimination against women

By |2011-03-15T09:48:15-07:00January 7th, 2011|Book Reviews, Jewish Books, Thoughts|

Women and Men in Communal Prayer Halakhic Perspectives Edited by Chaim Trachtman, MD Ktav Publishing House, 2010, 418 pages   Reviewed by Israel Drazin             One of the great world tragedies is the systematic exclusion of women from many activities and positions, making them, in essence, only partial citizens, reminiscent of blacks being considered only three-fifths [...]