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What is a Jew

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  219 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
With over 400,000 copies sold, What Is a Jew? is the classic guide that answers 100 of the most commonly asked questions about Jewish life and customs.

Completely revised and reorganized, this guide to the traditions, beliefs, and practices of Judaism; for both Jews and non-Jews. This book tackles a wide range of subjects in a question-and-answer format. Ideal for conversio
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Touchstone (first published 1973)
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Jul 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, non-fiction
This was assigned by my Rabbi to help me identify subjects that I want to study more in depth. Absolutely the best Jewish "primer" I've read as far as clarifying the differences between the four Jewish movements.

Out of all the Jewish overviews I've read, this one focuses the least on history, which was appreciated - after reading countless century-by-century accounts of the development of the religion and culture, I really felt like I was missing out on some of the fundamental spiritual aspects.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Part of my conversion process.
Veronica Olson
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Very interesting for learning about different aspects of the jewish religion and culture.
Feb 09, 2008 rated it liked it
I like the book and it certainly is informative. It preferences liberal jewry over orthodox though.
Feb 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: jewish
If you are thinking of converting to Judaism, this is one of the books to read.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't actually have that much to say about this book, mainly because it's an introductory text of the sort that used to exist before Wikipedia destroyed introductory texts for all time.

Okay, that's oversimplified, and What Is a Jew does have a lot of value that just going to the Judaism wiki article and reading and clicking through links until you feel you're done does not. For one thing, it's basically impossible to determine who the author of any given wiki article is, whereas this book is w
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very thorough introduction to Judaism, which answers a plethora of questions a Jew, a Christian or an atheist might have about the Jewish religion, identity and people. It's easy and fun to read, yet it offers in-depth answers to even the silliest questions. It's everything you've been afraid to ask and more.

But what's even more important, perhaps, is that the book appears to be non-denominational, in that it doesn't favour the Orthodox point-of-view over the more Liberal one, or vice-versa. T
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have questions about Judiasm
Shelves: nonfiction, found
Lobstergirl found this book for me, and she did it FAST! (I have no idea how she found the book so fast. She has some fantastic searching skills.) Here's the link to the thread that found this book

I read this book when I lived in Kansas. I think someone donated it to a book drive for the county jail, but maybe I dumpstered it. I don't think I paid for it.

In any case, I read it and felt like I learned quite a bit from it. The answers were factual and not pr
Jul 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone should read everything
Recommended to Amyelyse by: Gramma
This is the cornerstone of an odd library of books on judaica that were surreptiously slipped to me by my gramma. She was always sneaking me judaica to read, I have a nice collection of various torah stories in children's book form, as well as books on observances and such, and even a set of bookends of a boy reading torah that she said were uncle rick's to put them in. As far as I know I was the sole benificiary of this quirk of hers, and I kept her secret till now...though I must admit I never ...more
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just finished reading this for my philosophy class- and quite enjoyed it. If you know nothing about the Jewish faith, it is a good start to gain a basic understanding. The author has revised the book, from the original author's version (I believe his uncle), adapting it to modern times. It answers common religious as well as social questions about the faith, and would give you enough info to be able to intelligibly converse about Judaism, but nothing in depth. My only complaint is that the book' ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a new employee at a Jewish day school this book felt like required reading - it was extremely helpful in breaking down terms, beliefs, and cultural practices of those who follow the Jewish faith. Some sections are likely a little dated given the publication date, but I still highly recommend this book to those who are curious about yet unfamiliar with Judaism.
Nancy Monson
Jan 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone wanting a good, basic understanding of Jewish life and religion
Shelves: religion
Went through a phase quite a few years back where I was dating a lot of jewish men (not necessarily at the same time) who couldn't quite seem to define their religion for me so I bought the book to figure it out for myself. Very informative introduction to Jewish life and religion.
Craig Bolton
What is a Jew? by Morris N. Kertzer (1996)
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this for a course in university. I enjoyed it quite thoroughly.
Brad keil
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This will answer any question you might have about Jews.
Micah Smurthwaite
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: holocaust
A list of 100+ questions articulately answered by Rabbi Kertzer. "What is the Talmud? What is the Midrash?" Now he just needs to get on Quora.
Patricia Joynton
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book of questions and answers about Jews! Clear. Not too complicated for this complex subject. Also can be a pick up and read anywhere in the book type of read.
Carla Karp
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lent to me by my dear friend Eleanor :)

5 stars, not in an "I couldn't put it down" sort of way, but in a "very informative" sort of way.
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Mar 21, 2013
Jennifer D. Ihrig
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Apr 06, 2014
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Abelardo Mendoza
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Dec 14, 2013
Michael McConnell
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Dec 12, 2016
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Apr 02, 2009
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Apr 29, 2012
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