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This is My God: A Guidebook to Judaism
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This is My God: A Guidebook to Judaism

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  536 ratings  ·  60 reviews
This Is My God is Herman Wouk's famous introduction to Judaism completely updated and revised with a new chapter, Israel at Forty. A miracle of brevity, it guides readers through the world's oldest practicing religion with all the power, clarity and wit of Wouk's celebrated novels.
Paperback, Large Print, 395 pages
Published February 1st 1991 by Christian Large Print (first published January 1st 1959)
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Melanie
Jan 09, 2008 Melanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melanie by: Public library - withdrawn
Probably my first formal introduction to Judaism. I read this in seventh grade.

Bought for 25-cents from the withdrawn section at the library.

A favorite quote:

“Religious people tend to encounter, among those who are not, a cemented certainty that belief in God is a crutch for the weak and the fearful. It would be just as silly to assert that disbelief in God is a crutch for the immoral and the ill-read.....Now the belief in God may turn out at the last trump to be a mistake. Meantime, let us be
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Manugw
JUDAISM FOR EVERYONE

A formidable book, written for everyone, from the pious Chassidim who seems to know all about Judaism to the secular Wall Street Jewish Banker who is far from his faith but feels every now and then the sweet but stern internal calling of his demanding heritage

The best chapters,in my opinion, are related to the experiences related to the secular Jewish people when they got involved in the Jewish religious rituals at the synagogue or at home during childhood, "one feels like h
...more
Angela
An introduction to the Jewish faith written for secular Jews and curious others.

This was interesting. What struck me the most was the focus on how you act, rather than what you believe. (Basically pretty much the exact opposite of the religion I grew up in.) And then, perhaps as a result of that, the much greater emphasis on the common law coming about as a great conversation/debate that spans centuries. It was also interesting how the author would sometimes referred to a commentary author who
...more
Skylar Burris
This book summarizes the Jewish religion, written "for people who have at least an open mind on God, and who would like to know something about the Jewish way to him." In it, Wouk reminds me of C.S. Lewis, using a clear, conversational writing style and employing numerous analogies to make his points accessible. He even engages in a great deal of apology, although he insists that Jews do not seek to convert anyone. The book is aimed at non-practicing Jews and gentiles who are "curious about the ...more
Larry
Herman Wouk was a literary giant of the post World War II fiction genre. But at one point, in the later days of his life, he sat down and wrote a book from his heart about his religion. It is undoubtedly the simplest yet most comprehensive work on Judaism that it has been my pleasure to read. Written as a devouit believer who felt that hsi religion was something that far transcended the Holacaust, having meaning and merit for all peoples to understand and admire. Using all of his writers skills ...more
Thom Dunn
Would love to see this packaged with The Will to Live On.
Stan
This is an excellent book! I learned so much from it, and not just about the Judaism. I learned about principles that help one lead a good life, not always an easy life, but a life of value and depth. And yes, I learned a lot about judaism. Wouk is a thinker of the highest caliber and has a wonderful way of expressing his points. Still, this was not an easy read for me, nor was it a fast read, but the further I got into it the less that mattered. I was enjoying the journey through this book and ...more
Gary
This is the perfect starting point for anyone-Jew or Christian -who wants to learn about Judaism. It is thoughtful, insightful, entertaining and sensitively explains Judaism to a broad readership
This is not simply a guide to the Jewish religion .Herman Wouk-a well known novelist and playwright - is clearly a man of the world but is also an observant Jew
He speaks about his own illuminating insights and experiences
Written in 1959 it is still equally relevant today as then . He points out the contr
...more
Kevin Pace
Not a bad book for someone who's taking a first look into Judaism. Mr. Wouk was born into a Jewish family but was not truly dedicated to his faith until his early adulthood; as a result he has seen the most frequent attacks against Judaism as well as a few new ones as well. He responds beautifully to each and does whatever someone who writes a book about his faith should do: he reminds us that no matter the differences between members of different faiths we will discover a good deal to admire in ...more
Emily
I read this book for a world religions class in college ten years ago. After college I sold or gave away most of my textbooks and required reading books, except this one. I found it to be well-written and an enjoyable read. I love learning about religions that aren't my own but sometimes the books written on them are a little dull -this one was not. I appreciated the author's explanations, examples and personal experinces. It's a book I would, and should, read again.
Linda
This book was a very interesting introduction to the Jewish faith, although I'm not Jewish, the Jewish religion has always facinated me. This book gave me a good idea of the beliefs and lifestyle of the Jews. Mr Wouk lays out all the festivals, the different sects, the traditions, his personal feelings and thoughts. I was touched by his deep love and respect for his grandfather and his heritage.
Casey Miller
This was a great book. It was recommended to me by one of my wife's orthodox colleagues as a good basic primer on the Jewish faith. Of course, even the updated version I read is a couple decades old at this point, and so I am sure that the information is not completely up to date in terms of modern practice. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting and informative read. As a Christian, my entire religion is based on the faith and scripture of Jews, and so I find it unfortunate that so many Christ ...more
Sara Elise
I certainly didn't dislike this book, and it does offer a personal yet concicse look at Judaism from a traditional perspective. But it's very much a product of the 50s and as such can't give a perspective of modern Judaism and modern Israel, and certain social issues are slightly off to the modern reader. Regardless, I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about Judaism. It's an easy book for any beginner to read, and it's not without humour.
Carol Catinari
This is an excellent overview/introduction to many things Jewish: history, customs, traditions, and the way things have involved. I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting more background information on Judaism. The only drawback is that it was written in the late 80s, and that dates some of his observations and remarks. Two updates to the chapters on Israel are included, and this helps. But there are still some changes worthy of noting, that are not included (for example,Reform Judaism is descr ...more
Eric Skaggs
A great source for those like myself who have an academic interest in Judaism. It was an easy read, but quite thorough in information and sentiment.
Derrick Clements
It's been a few years since I read this book, but one chapter still stands out to me: the chapter on the Sabbath. Wouk's depiction of the Jewish day of rest is equally as reverent for the ritual as it is unashamed of it. He describes his Sabbath experience as a truly empowering and spiritually nourishing sacrifice, and in a way that is unapologetic to our American 7-day-a-week, time-is-money paradigm. I hold other religious convictions close to me, but I wish I had an easier time being unapologe ...more
Nate
An introductory view of Judaism. Wouk is an American Jew who comes from a traditionally Orthodox family. He has lived in America and Israel and writes about Judaism from these perspectives. The book explores the history and progression of Judaism and talks about various aspects including holidays, religious practices, prayer, and views on marriage, religion, food, etc. I found that Wouk would often digress from the topic into stories relating to his personal experiences and frequently I was left ...more
Todd
Okay - I didn't actually read the large print version - my eyes aren't that bad yet. :-) You might remember Herman Wouk as the writer of Winds of War and such. This is a great book for the lay person of non-Jewish background who is interested in understanding the Jewish faith.

Wouk wrote this orginally in 1959 after a secular friend asked him if he knew any good books about Hanukah as he wanted his son to learn about his heritage. It is an enjoable read written with a light hand and no small amo
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Kelsie
I read this book for a class and was expecting a boring scholarly book, but Wouk has a way of making this feel more like a novel and I loved that. I learned so much about Judaism. I am a Mormon and I really enjoyed learning of another faith. It helped me better understand the Bible better, especially when you remember that Jesus was a Jew. I would highly recommend this book to others that are exploring other faiths or would merely like to know more. If you don't know that much about Jews and wan ...more
Joseph Green
A nice and simple guide to Judaism.
Barbara Franklin
An excellent introduction into Judaism.
Manish Katyal
Unique insight.
Tyler
This book is a bit dry at times, because it is simply explaining the Jewish history and religion. However, it's probably as well written as could be desired and the way he and most other Jews feel about Judaism really comes across. There are a few humorous bits, and he keeps a good pace. For anyone who is really curious about Judaism, it's a great read. If the person doesn't really care to learn more about Judaism, this book wouldn't fit you.
MJ
Aug 27, 2008 MJ rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to MJ by: Complete idiots guide
This is a great book offering a explanation into the Jewish religion. Wouk does a great job of giving the history and evolution of the Jewish faith. If you have ever wondered at all about Judism this is a great book to start reading. Although some of the analogies the author uses are a bit date, the author talks about a home costing $25,000, I beleive the book is an relevant now as it was when it was written in 1959.
Elaine
Jul 27, 2008 Elaine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an open mind and an interest in religion
Shelves: religous
I loved this book. I read it at the same time I was reading some other Wouk books and some of Potok's. It made those novels more accessible and enjoyable, and, in fact, opened up all kinds of interesting possibilities comparing religious beliefs. I appreciate so much having a book like this to explain concepts and beliefs that I would have no other way to access.
Stephanie
Even though I'm not Jewish, I absolutly love this book and how simple it's written! It explains everything you ever wanted to know about the Jewish way of life(but were affraid to ask:-),
I loved studying world religion in high school, and am picking it up again, of my own free will, though, just for fun! I loved this book, couldn't put it down!
Al
Amazing book. I read the original entitled This is My God: The Jewish Way of Life, published in 1970 by Doubleday & Company. Of course, Wouk is an amazing writer and it comes through in this book about his faith. Tremendous insight to the Jewish faith and life.
Aubrey
Technically I haven't finished this one, but I've read most of it and haven't wanted to read anymore of it for almost a year, so I think I'm done.

It was interesting to read about another's faith. I loved, loved, loved reading about all the festivals and holidays.
Taniel Proctor
A wonderful insight into Jewish history and culture past and present. I set out to read this initially for a class, but ended up loving it as it helped me to better understand how my religion (Mormon) is tied into the Jewish religion as Christ was Jewish.
Barry
An excellent summary of Judaism from an insiders perspective, written to us goys. Mr. Wouk seems to know what non-Jews would be interested in, and he delivers not only factual summaries, but also antecdotal stories and such to liven up the book.
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Herman Wouk is a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earned
...more
More about Herman Wouk...
The Winds of War (The Henry Family, #1) War and Remembrance (The Henry Family, #2) The Caine Mutiny Marjorie Morningstar Don't Stop the Carnival

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“Religious people tend to encounter, among those who are not, a cemented certainty that belief in God is a crutch for the weak and the fearful...Now the belief in God may turn out at the last trump to be a mistake. Meantime, let us be quite clear, it is not merely the comfort of the simple--though it is that too, much to its glory--it is a formidable intellectual position with which most of the first-class minds of the human race, century in and century out, have concurred, each in his own way....speaking of crutches--Freud can be a crutch, Marx can be a crutch, rationalism can be a crutch, and atheism can be two canes and a pair of iron braces. We none of us have all the answers, nor are we likely to have. But in the country of the halt, the man who is surest he has no limp may be the worst-crippled.” 17 likes
“The only true non-conformists are in the asylums; the only radically free spirits are in the death house awaiting the chair. We live by patterns.” 7 likes
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