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Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  272 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The classic and essential guide for the educated, skeptical, and searching Jew, or for the non-Jew who wants to understand the meaning of Judaism.

If you have ever wondered what being born Jewish should mean to you; if you want to find out more about the nature of Judaism, or explain it to a friend; if you are thinking about how Judaism can connect with the rest of your lif
Paperback, 218 pages
Published April 21st 1986 by Touchstone (first published July 1st 1981)
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Michael Benami Doyle
This book really helped me place Judaism in context with other major religious and philosophical schools of thought, and unexpectedly brought me to the point of understanding Judaism as a better viewpoint (in terms of morality and social justice) than all others. It was pretty breathtaking in doing so. It is, however, written from a distinctly conservative perspective. I don't agree with the take on intermarriage or (Dennis Prager's) near-mindless Zionism, but it was an informative book nonethel ...more
Jul 09, 2008 Jon-Erik rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: pseudo-intellectuals.
Shelves: judaica
If I wanted to see someone knock down a bunch of straw men, I'd put The Wizard of Oz on repeat. Once again, Prager=fail.
Spider Goddess
Oct 09, 2014 Spider Goddess rated it liked it
I did like this book. There were several great points that were made, and ideas that I had not considered in the way presented in this book. However, there was also much that I did not agree with, and arguments that did not quite make sense if reasoned out fully. As with many books on a subject as wide ranging as religion, even within one religion, there is much to be debated within these pages, but the fact that it makes one think in a very detailed manner about your own beliefs and ideas is de ...more
Simcha Wood
Jul 05, 2015 Simcha Wood rated it really liked it
Prager and Telushkin's The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism is a somewhat dated but solid approach to observant Judaism. The book takes the form of responses to nine questions (Can one doubt G-d's existence and still be a good Jew? Why do we need organized religion or Jewish laws - isn't it enough to be a good person? If Judaism is supposed to make people better, how do you account for unethical religious Jews and for ethical people who are not religious? How does Judaism differ from Chri ...more
Dec 08, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it
It's good to go back the basics. The wealth of information about actual Judaism and Jewish philosophy more than makes up for the lesser parts of the book, (e.g. the chapter on Zionism got a little weird). This book is intelligently written and can definitely be helpful for Jews and non-Jews alike.
Oct 23, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Some of the authors' arguments about ethical monotheism's superiority to secular humanism and other systems of thought are conclusory--they set up straw targets and then knock them down too easily and quickly. In spite of that, I enjoyed the book because it opened a window onto Jewish perspective with which I am largely unfamiliar (I am a non Jew) and it is nice to learn about something that's so important to so many people, even though I understand that the authors can't speak for every one of ...more
The first chapter/question is a must read for many people. However, the rest of the book is not as intelligently laid out as promised. In addition, I found myself quickly skipping pages or even entire sections due to deep philosophical disagreements: setting aside the obvious slant of orthodox Judaism and right-wing politics (which I can appreciate even if I disagree), I could not bear to read about the moral superiority of Judaism. Is this not the stuff of wars? Can be likened to Arianism? Perh ...more
Apr 19, 2016 Liz rated it it was ok
If Ken Ham converted to Judaism and wrote a book about his new faith, this is what it would sound like.
Jun 09, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Joseph Telushkin referenced this book often in his book about Hillel (which I enjoyed a lot), so I decided to check it out. Definitely got off on the wrong foot with the whole chapter about moral behavior necessitating the existence of God (I want to send a copy of Greg Epstein's "Good Without God" to these guys), but some of the other chapters about Jewish belief were interesting. Overall kind of browsed through it, since I picked it up to elaborate on things from another book.
A fascinating, provocative overview of belief and practice.
J. Bryce
Apr 07, 2015 J. Bryce rated it it was amazing
Yo, goyim! We should all read this!
Sep 17, 2009 Alex rated it it was amazing
That passing on practices and rituals are far less relevant to conveying to my children why my Judaism is so important to me than would be letting them experience the startling effects of my upholding the extremely high standards of the moral code to which I am choosing to hold myself and seizing opportunities to talk about and share the experience of my values with my children.
Erin Butler
Oct 23, 2013 Erin Butler rated it liked it
Growing up as a non-Jew, this was a fascinating and enlightening book. Anyone interested in religious thought should read this. It informed me on the connections between Christianity, Judaism, Islam, humanism, Marxism, Atheism, etc. I want to know more about the philosophy of Judaism, and I would like any suggested reading.
Liz Sager
Mar 04, 2013 Liz Sager rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of answers to common questions about Judaism. Presented in a logical, pragmatic approach to dispelling myths and generating awareness about the Jewish faith. A must-read for anybody interested in becoming more observant.
May 16, 2012 TaleofGenji marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Tom Darrow
Jul 14, 2011 Tom Darrow rated it liked it
Decent introduction into Judaism for a non-Jew. Written in an expanded question and answer style.
Marc Spector
Dec 22, 2013 Marc Spector rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very insightful-easy to read and understand and thought provoking too.
Roxy Beardall
Jul 15, 2010 Roxy Beardall rated it it was amazing
Apr 23, 2007 Cristina rated it liked it
Intro to Judaism.
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Dennis Prager is an American syndicated radio talk show host, syndicated columnist, author, and public speaker. He is noted for his conservative political and social views emanating from conservative Judeo-Christian values.
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