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Basic Judaism

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  183 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Rabbi Steinberg identifies seven strands that weave together to make up Judaism: God, morality, rite and custom, law, sacred literature, institutions, and the people. A classic work directed to both the Jewish and the non-Jewish reader.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 17th 1965 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1947)
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Rikka Filkins bos
Apr 07, 2013 Rikka Filkins bos rated it it was amazing
I am a Jew by choice. While I read (and continue to read) many books on both the Jewish tradition and on the faith itself, this is probably the "one" that made clear to me that Judaism was to be my life's journey. I've lent my copy out several times, mostly to non-Jewish friends, and they seem to find it helpful in grasping what Judaism is. Highly recommended.
A neighbor lent this to me after I mentioned my reading project on world religions, and I decided to take a look even though I'd originally intended to read mostly scriptures and foundational writings.

This book is interesting, but definitely wouldn't be considered "basic" by today's standards, as it's pretty heavy on philosophy; I appreciated this, but I'm sure not everybody would. Jewish theology and history are obviously not my forte, but based on my prior knowledge it seems to be a pretty tho
Daveed Waithaka
Nov 06, 2015 Daveed Waithaka rated it really liked it
As a fellow person of Judaism I found this book to be very informative and insightful. It covers basics of what Judaism stands for and the different aspects from different types of Judaism from Orthodox, to reform, conservative, and reconstructionist. From this book my mind as a reform jew has changed drastically and philosophically has made me more of a open minded person, not that I wasn’t before but in the way that as a jew it has been enlightened to study and find more about the people and c ...more
Craig Barner
May 21, 2016 Craig Barner rated it really liked it
I read "Basic Judaism" as I traveled through Israel, contributing to the enjoyment of my sojourn. As I walked the shores of the Dead Sea and the streets of Jerusalem's Old City, I found myself meditating on the generations of Jews who lived and propagated a faith and tradition steeped in ancient teachings and who had experiences that no other people has shared.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Basic Judaism." Rabbi Steinberg's presentation of Judaism is lucid and detailed, but never tedious. He crystalizes
Jun 15, 2015 Leanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, judaica

I'm torn about this book. On the one hand, it did its job excellently--it's the first book I've found that managed to comprehensively but briefly explain the many (often opposing) facets of Judaism. On the other hand, the author managed to turn a very interesting subject into a snooze fest. I'm normally not bothered by dry, more academic writing, but this seemed a bit too dry for an introductory book. I'd recommend it for the information, but there are probably more fun ways to get the info.

Jun 23, 2012 Eric rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I had to keep reminding myself when this book was published -- 1947. And that it was written by a rabbi. I wanted to read it to get some more perspectives on Judaism, as my wife is Jewish. Despite it being a short book, it was a slog. It's pretty academic, and very much from a believer's perspective, so there were times where I found it pretty arrogant. There were a few interesting tidbits that I came away with. Like that some locusts are kosher (and I really have to wonder now which ones). And ...more
Apr 19, 2016 Zack rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
Really a fantastic book though not what I expected. I don't know why but I expected something more technical but this was so spiritual and immersive. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting a good window into Jewish spirituality and practice.
Denise Junker
Jan 24, 2015 Denise Junker rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion-judaism
I really liked the summary points of specific beliefs and entities. The theological discussions could at times be tedious but that is what theological writing tends to do. The writing needs to explain something not all will understand. He does use a specific theological language so if a person does not have such a background it could be difficult to read. "Non-Jews" refers to others who at least believe in God or know theological language.

Even with this being an older book (1947), it still is co
James Estes
Jul 05, 2015 James Estes rated it it was amazing
Exquisitely written.
Kai Palchikoff
Nov 16, 2014 Kai Palchikoff rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Harcourt Brace
Aug 29, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing
Excellent, excellent introduction to Judaism. Explores and explains many aspects of Judaism from a variety of different perspectives. I especially like how the writing itself is so reflective of some of the ideologies of the religion; it's not always cut and dry, but neither are the principles being reflected. Some things are clearly written in proverbial stone, but everything else is left up to you to think about, decide, and experience for yourself. Timeless.
Jan 31, 2013 Stefano rated it it was amazing
Shelves: judaism
A great overview of Jewish thinking and tradition. This is not a "1001 questions and answers" type book, so don't expect a lot of specific information about practice, tradition, etc. This is really a big-picture book and does a great job of communicating the gist of Judaism, which like any faith, cannot be covered by just one volume.
Mar 26, 2012 Brock rated it really liked it
Excellent introduction to Jewish cultural and religious thought for non-Jews and even for secular Jews. Is often used as a textbook in a conversion to Judaism program but is an excellent book outside of that context.
Dec 22, 2012 Ayelet rated it it was ok
My mom got this from her synagogue back in 1967. I kept seeing it on the shelf so I finally read it. Too philosophical for me to comprehend most of it yet I kept reading until the end.
Angie slusser
May 14, 2011 Angie slusser rated it liked it
im not jewish and this book gives you a lot of information about judaism that you really cant find anywhere else. I was required for my class but it is really good and quit easy to read.
Matt West
Jun 24, 2009 Matt West rated it really liked it
Good intro to Judaism. Short and sometimes a little dated (it refers to Islam as Mohammadism), it gives a good overview of some of the basic tenets of Judaism.
Oct 03, 2007 Adam rated it really liked it
Good, clear introduction to Judaism. Covers aspects such as: Prayer, philosophy, afterlife, Jesus etc.
Jane De vries
First book on Judaism i ever read. a classic for a reason.
Nov 23, 2007 reed rated it it was amazing
the best book I've ever read on judaism (so far)
Olya Ianovskaia
Olya Ianovskaia rated it liked it
May 27, 2016
Andrea Karshan
Andrea Karshan marked it as to-read
May 25, 2016
Katherine marked it as to-read
May 22, 2016
Ross rated it liked it
May 19, 2016
Jessica Deschaines
Jessica Deschaines rated it it was amazing
May 17, 2016
Victoria Kohl
Victoria Kohl marked it as to-read
May 15, 2016
Taylor Brown
Taylor Brown rated it really liked it
May 14, 2016
Ryan Phillips
Ryan Phillips marked it as to-read
May 10, 2016
Mary Hofmann
Mary Hofmann rated it it was amazing
Apr 22, 2016
Avi rated it really liked it
May 23, 2016
Hannah Roberts
Hannah Roberts marked it as to-read
Apr 18, 2016
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American author, philosopher, rabbi, teacher, and theologian
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