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Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  125 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Acclaimed writer and thinker Douglas Rushkoff, author of Ecstasy Club and Coercion, has written perhaps the most important—and controversial—book on Judaism in a generation. As the religion stands on the brink of becoming irrelevant to the very people who look to it for answers, Nothing Sacred takes aim at its problems and offers startling and clearheaded solutions based o ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 23rd 2004 by Three Rivers Press (first published 2003)
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Matthew W
The absurd arrogance of the author (and thesis of the book) can be summed up here:

As anyone can see, Rushkoff has no problem actually being somewhat honest, but this book is also full of half-truths, narrow generalizations, conscious distortions, and journalistic "scholarship."

For example, Rushkoff tries to blame Carl Jung for helping promote Jewish racial theories that would inspire Hitler and thus result in the holocaust. Of course, I think this is just
Michael Benami Doyle
Jun 16, 2012 Michael Benami Doyle rated it did not like it
I am of two minds about this book. It's a very Jewish work--it questions and struggles with Judaism, God, and everything related in order to find meaning, which is at heart of Jewish scholarship. But it's also not about what it purports to be. Rushkoff calls the book "The Truth About Judaism." What it really amounts to is a thinly veiled call to turn Judaism into humanism.

Rushkoff's main idea is that the irreligious, largely humanist "lapsed" Jews of the 21st Century are really the most "Jewish"
May 20, 2007 Miryam-Chavah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Jewish people, students of ancient mid-east and Judaism
the book is most definitely "disturbing". but i love it.

the point of view of the author seems to be rather keeping with the Reconstructionist mindset, and he presents his information in a clear and conversational manner.. he is very easy to follow and his research is exhaustive...

he deconstructs many blindly-swallowed "facts" about rabbinical Judaism and it takes a strong gut to make your way through the book if you are of a more Orthodox/traditional persuasion, but i recommend sticking it out.

Dena S.
May 23, 2014 Dena S. rated it really liked it
Shelves: judaica
I disagree with the author when he seems to insinuate that all Zionists are bat shit crazy religious and the only scholars are aware of the fact that the Torah contains mythical narratives. However, I appreciate his emphasis on the evolution of Jewish understanding. He encourages Jewish communities to tackle difficult questions and to encourage congregations to address issues with the moral and ethical implications. One of his premises is that Jewish communities have dumbed down Judaism. I would ...more
Aug 10, 2015 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: judaism
It appears to me that the average reader is inclined to base his or her review of Nothing Sacred on whether or not he or she liked Rushkoff’s ideas, rather than on the coherence and presentation of his arguments. When one examines the book according to the latter, the entire assemblage, regardless of the author’s intentions, begins to fall apart.

Rushkoff’s thesis is simple: The Jewish people have lost “the narrative,” that is, those qualities that define Judaism. It’s hard to argue that point. T
Sep 10, 2012 Shoshana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, nonfiction

Douglas Rushkoff is thoughtful, irreverent, constructive, occasionally biting in his criticism, and absolutely passionate about Judaism and what it has the potential to be.

His vision is essentially secular, although he uses God-language, I would guess for one or both of two reasons - one, he feels connected to that language himself, and he finds feelings of spirituality enjoyable and constructive; two, it might connect him more successfully with Jews who come from religious backgrounds and
I've always felt that Judaism is inherently progressive and social justice-oriented, and this book affirms that. It explores the ways in which Jews who aren't traditionally observant may still be enacting the philosophy of Judaism in their daily lives. My biggest problem with the book was the fact that Rushkoff seems to think this opinion is groundbreaking, and it isn't. I was surprised that Rushkoff didn't spend any time talking about Reconstructionist Judaism, or even the Modern Orthodox movem ...more
Peter Dushenski
Sep 23, 2013 Peter Dushenski rated it it was amazing
Rushkoff makes a persuasive argument that those disenfranchised by the current Jewish institutions are more "Jewish" than they synagogue-attending counterparts. He argues that judaism is more about improving the world, iconoclasm, and conversations. To disagree is to disagree with history as well as a more engaged existence.
Jul 25, 2007 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
This book provides a scathing critique of the American Jewish Community and its organizations. The critique is brilliantly written, but his solution to the problems he cites is absurd. Nonetheless, read it, as he provides the most eloquent critique I've read yet.
Marianne Ogden
Feb 18, 2008 Marianne Ogden rated it it was ok
There is enough "truth" here, to make the lies sound believable. I did not agree with many of Rushkoff's assertions, but liked most of his suggestions at the end of the book. Also, he has a thourough list of references worth looking into.
Jun 14, 2009 Gabrielle rated it really liked it
While much of this book was repetitive, I found the "alternate" Jewish history outlined absolutely fascinating. A provocative look at the true meaning of Judaism, and perhaps of religion altogether.
Paul Hirsch
Aug 21, 2007 Paul Hirsch added it
Recommends it for: "lapsed" Jews
this book, while quite critical of the way Judaism is being expressed in many if not most corners of the world, has paradoxically inspired me about what Judaism really stands - or could stand - for.
Noah Murphy
Jul 04, 2011 Noah Murphy rated it it was amazing
This book pretty much summed up everything I found wrong with modern American Jewish culture in one nice package.
Nov 01, 2007 Leah rated it liked it
this is a good one to quote at parties.
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Douglas Rushkoff is a New York-based writer, columnist and lecturer on technology, media and popular culture.
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