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At the turn of the twenty-first century, the central question confronting Jewish leaders in America is simple: Why be Jewish? Jonathan D. Sarna, acclaimed scholar of American Judaism, believes that “Why be Jewish?” is the wrong question. Judaism, he believes, is not so much a “why” as a way—a way of life, a way of marking time, a way of relating to the environment, to human beings, to family, and to God. Judaism is experienced through doing—doing things Jewish, doing things for fellow Jews in need, doing things as a Jew to improve the state of the world. The more Judaism one does, the more one comes to appreciate what Judaism is. Using the Jewish calendar as his starting point, Sarna reflects on the major themes of Jewish life as expressed in a full year of holidays—from Passover in the spring to Purim eleven months later. Passover, for instance, yields a discussion of freedom; Shavuot, a discussion of Torah; Yom Kippur, the role of the individual within the Jewish community; Chanukah, issues of assimilation and anti-assimilation. An essential brief introduction—or reintroduction—to the major practices of Jewish life as well as the many complexities of the American Jewish experience, this book will be essential reading for American Jews and the perfect gift for the holiday season.
Sunday is more like Monday than it used to be. The Fourth of July is more like the third. Although time is a feature of the natural world, it is at the same time not natural, but given its meaning by human action and, in our contemporary world, primarily through the law. Rakoff argues that legal regulation of the law has become weaker, with unfortunate results for both individuals and families.
The publication of the King James version of the Bible, translated between 1603 and 1611, coincided with an extraordinary flowering of English literature and is universally acknowledged as the greatest influence on English-language literature in history. Now, world-class literary writers introduce the book of the King James Bible in a series of beautifully designed, small-format volumes. The introducers' passionate, provocative, and personal engagements with the spirituality and the language of the text make the Bible come alive as a stunning work of literature and remind us of its overwhelming contemporary relevance.
The most exciting and compellingly original novel to come out of Scandinavia since Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow.
Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that God has a clock that has been ticking away since the foundation of the world or perhaps from eternity past—from time unknown to the present? Do you know that God has a clock for each of our lives? Have you ever attempted, or even desired, to order your life not just according to the watch on your wrist or the clock on the wall, but according to God's clock? How important is it to you that you do things according to God's time and that you are doing what He wants you to be doing at any point of time in your life? And, how important is it to you that you become what He wants you to be, at the time appointed for your life?
In artworks from a mosaic by Marc Chagall to schoolchildren's paintings, in writings from Susan Fenimore Cooper to Annie Dillard, and in diverse print sources from family genealogical registers to seed catalogs, the four seasons appear and reappear as a theme in American culture. In this richly illustrated book, Michael Kammen traces the appeal of the four seasons motif in American popular culture and fine arts from the seventeenth century to the present. Its symbolism has evolved through the years, Kammen explains, serving as a metaphor for the human life cycle or religious faith, expressing nostalgia for rural life, and sometimes praising seasonal beauty in the diverse American landscape as the most spectacular in the world. Kammen also highlights artists' and writers' shift in attention from the glories of seasonal peaks to the dynamics of seasonal transitions as American life continued to accelerate and change through the twentieth century. Few symbols have been as pervasive, meaningful, and symptomatic in the human experience as the four seasons, and as Kammen shows, in its American context the annual cycle has been an abundant and abiding source of inspiration in the nation's cultural history.

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