Cover image for The explorer's guide to Judaism
The explorer's guide to Judaism
Magonet, Jonathan, 1942-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Hodder & Stoughton ; North Pomfret, Vt. : Distributed by Trafalgar Square, 1998.
Physical Description:
xi, 340 pages ; 20 cm.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM561 .M211 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Magonet, principal of Leo Baeck College in London, tells a story about the time he spoke at a conference in India. A young student walked up to him and expressed interest in Magonet's paper on Judaism. "After all," the student said, "I am very interested in the minor religions." With that remark in mind, Magonet set out to write this introductory guide to Jewish history, doctrine and spirituality. The author provides a brief, clear and humorous insider's look at Judaism. He devotes each chapter to a particular topic, and he uses the number heading of the chapter to shape the chapter's title. For example, chapter one is titled, "One is our God in heaven and earth: God and the Jewish people." Other chapters examine the covenants between God and the Jews, the changing roles of Jewish women, the primacy of Torah in Judaism, the Talmudic and Mishnaic interpretations of Torah, the Shabbat and Jewish liturgy, Jewish rituals and Holy Days like Passover and Yom Kippur, and Jewish law and life today. Each chapter provides a brief historical explanation for a particular practice or belief, and Magonet liberally sprinkles into each chapter passages from the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud or the Mishnah that offer the ground out of which certain practices grow. In his section on Passover, for instance, the author quotes from the book of Exodus to illustrate the historical and biblical reasons for Passover, and he then describes in vivid detail the seder dinner and the seder liturgy in a modern Jewish home. Each chapter contains a list of "further reading" for those interested in more depth. Magonet's guide offers non-Jews an excellent primer on Judaism. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

These two books are part of a series that introduces the world's faiths by offering a popular read in the sociological and spiritual aspects of each religion. Each book reflects its author's perspective while serving as well as a starting place in the study of religion by providing a bibliography of additional sources and an index. In addition, Magonet provides a glossary, Jewish calendar, and historic time line. Braybrooke, an Anglican vicar, has a British perspective on Christianity but picks highlights from the various denominations and churches throughout the world. He attempts to capture the Christian experience through short incidents from key historic individuals' lives, defining Jesus, providing historical data on the spread of Christianity, and showing understanding. We don't find born-again snake handlers, but we do find the essence of Christian faith and its place in culture. Magonet, a rabbi in London, has the job of explaining how Judaism faces the paradox of planning to live forever and at the same time preparing for the world to end tomorrow. Various levels of Orthodox Judaism are explored sociologically, and Magonet also takes an in-depth look at women's roles, the covenant of circumcision, and the state of Israel. This series will be a good addition to public libraries.‘Leo Kriz, West Des Moines Lib., IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.