Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Time To Every Purpose...Including a holiday!

I'm leaving for Detroit tomorrow to spend Passover with my family, but before I go I thought it a good time to mention one of my staff picks for this month--A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew by Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish Studies at Brandeis.

I first read this last autumn, when I was home for Rosh Ha'Shanah. It was in one sitting, on the train between Detroit and Chicago, and now that I think about it I'm surprised by how many of the chapters (each based around a major Jewish holiday or event) I can still clearly remember. Professor Sarna writes in what I would call a wise-but-not-overbearing style (it's a very tricky thing!) and I felt like he was really speaking to me and the exact questions and struggles I've had about what I want to believe and how I want to live and behave as a young Jew in the 21st century--for example, questions about identity, the environment, social justice, and Israel. Stuff like this--meaty and without being didactic--is rare and welcome!

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