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Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals [Paperback]

George Robinson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Dec 2001
The Jews are known as the "People of the Book." Even though a library on Judaism would fill mnay miles of bookshelf space, there has been no single comprehensive, hands-on volume that provides an up-to-date overview of Jewish practices and beliefs. Until now. For the Jew and non-Jew alike, ESSENTIAL JUDAISM explains not only what Jews do and believe, but why. In the process it answers such questions as; what happens at a synagogue service? What do the prayers and rituals mean? What is the Jewish calendar? And many more. With insight and clarity, George Robinson illuminates the Jewish life cicle at every stage, from birth and circumcision, to bar/bat mitzvahs, to weddings and mourning. He places over four thousand years of learning and belief in a practical context for living a good Jewish life in today's world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (3 Dec 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671034812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671034818
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals is a brief but comprehensive layman's handbook to Jewish prayer, worship, festivals, customs, history, language, philosophy and ideology. Its author, George Robinson, returned to synagogue after a 20-year absence and found himself utterly confused about the basics of his religion, despite having attended Hebrew school. He looked far and wide for a reference work that would help him get his bearings but did not find one; so he wrote it himself. Robinson's background as a journalist proved to be an asset in this project, which shows evidence of much detective work, the results of which are plainly described and clearly organised. Robinson is sensitive to the many perspectives of contemporary Judaism without being mealy-mouthed. His work is a triumph of diplomacy and clear thinking; his overview of Hebrew Scripture, and his excellent Kosher primer, would be worth the price of this book in themselves. --Christine Buttery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Diane Cole "The New York Times Book Review" Ambitious and all-inclusive, from practical deeper, more abstract discussions.

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In the beginning, the Jews were a tribe, a band of nomads, probably shepherds. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete indeed 5 Jan 2012
Essential Judaism is, as the title states, a complete guide - it compiles, traditions, rituals and prayers, gives an insight to probable variations within the various currents of judaism and is thorough without being boring.

George Robinson writes in a pleasant, unaffected style that conveys the seriousness or more fun interpretations of the theme at hand.

I'm studying judaism in a probable path to conversion and found this book immensely helpful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 14 July 2014
By Hannah
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very good, clear and full account of Judaism, easy to read and immensely informative.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not a literary conquest, but comprehensive 4 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
George Robinson's book, while not difficult to read, presents itself too similarly to a reference book at times. That being said, the information therein is comprehensive, well-written and, in my experience, accurate.
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