Cover image for Yiddishe kop : creative problem solving in Jewish learning, lore, and humor
Yiddishe kop : creative problem solving in Jewish learning, lore, and humor
Bonder, Nilton.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Idiche kop. English
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Shambhala : Distributed in the United States by Random House, Inc., 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 101 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM565 .B6513 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Jews are known for their intuitive genius in getting out of a pickle. With their long history of persecution, they've developed a knack for escaping seemingly hopeless predicaments: when your back is against the wall, you learn to think fast. Centuries of reasoning and interpreting the Holy Scriptures have also contributed to the Jews' skill in solving the most puzzling problems. This astute way of thinking is known in Yiddish as yiddishe kop , literally "Jewish head."

Through Jewish humor, folklore, and tales of the great rabbis, Rabbi Nilton Bonder presents the basic principles of this creative approach to thinking, which sees beyond appearances to the hidden truth of any problem. Once these are mastered, they may in turn be applied to many "impossible" situations that arise in business and in life.

The book focuses on four levels of solving a problem:

nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;1.nbsp; On the level of Information, we approach problems literally, in response to the obvious and the concrete.
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;2.nbsp; On the level of Understanding , we obtain concealed information through techniques such as questioning, reframing, and emptying the mind.
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;3.nbsp; On the level of Wisdom , we access the world of intuition, where a "fool" can achieve the impossible by relying on feelings, premonitions, dreams, and coincidences.
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;4.nbsp; On the level of Reverence , we discover the hidden Reality behind appearances. This is the realm of those who dare to take risks, make commitments, and learn from mistakes, who act out of their living experience without relying solely on reason and conceptual thinking.

Author Notes

Rabbi Nilton Bonder was born in Brazil and ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He leads workshops on spirituality in management for such corporations as IBM, the Brazilian Oil Company, and the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo. Rabbi Bonder is known in Brazil as the Green Rabbi for his activism in environmental causes. He also serves as president of the Institute for Religious Studies, the largest forum for civil rights activities in Latin America. Rabbi Bonder is the author of eight books, several of them best-sellers in Brazil.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A rabbi and graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Bonder offers an intriguing glimpse into what he views as the Jewish tradition of life: negotiating information, understanding, wisdom, and reverence in order to use both faith in God and daily experience to live life with insight and closeness to God. Bonder's revisitation of the mystical awareness of the Talmud and the teachings of the rabbis should prove popular with spiritual seekers and devout Jews alike. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.