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It's very easy to want to condense any subject into bite-sized morsels for public consumption, but some subjects don't fit in a nice neat box. Religion is typically one of those subjects and Judaism, definitely, fits the mold.

***
JUDAISM FOR DUMMIES is a part of the series that attempts to either synthesize, or explain in a very concise and simple way the history and major points of Judaism. But it is written from more from a conservative Jewish standpoint than academic. And, I'm not particularly impressed with their point of view in certain areas such as "Who is a Jew."

These two subject are opened-ended because for instance- the common Rabbinic Jewish belief is that a biological Jew is one who is a descendent through matrilineal means. Then there's Karaite Judaism who considers Jews descendents from patrilineal means.

Neither is actually right. It is written that all those who were with Abraham and his family were circumcised and their descendents--all of them, the workers included (whom were not biological children of Abraham) but were included in this "brit."

From that moment until just before the fall of the Second Temple, the "popular" sentiment amongst many (not all and certainly not the only) was the line came through the father, afterwards the Rabbinical rule changed and it became matrilinear. There's, of course, the social issue of Jewish men fathering children with their gentile neighbors. The rule seemed to change to protect the inheritance rights.

Neither, it seems, answers the biological question of DNA and that unique genetic distinction.

There are several other publications that I think are a lot more thorough, academic in scope such as Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals,Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History or Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice. Any of these are priceless. The Dummies version just doesn't measure up.
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on 4 April 2016
Well written and can be easily used as a coffee table book, a reference book, or read cover to cover.
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on 2 March 2015
an excellent little book and very well presented
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on 4 March 2015
Very good purchase, just what I wanted
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on 20 February 2016
Very informative and easy to read
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on 3 February 2016
Asolutely fascinating. Love it.
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