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Jewish Spirituality : A Brief Introduction for Christians [Paperback]

By Lawrence Kushner (Author)
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Item description for Jewish Spirituality : A Brief Introduction for Christians by Lawrence Kushner...

In a book targeted to Christians, Rabbi Kushner explores Jewish spirituality and mysticism and explains some of the essential differences between Judaism and Christianity.

Publishers Description

A window into the Jewish soul written especially for Christians.

I invite you to explore with me some of the rich and varied expressions of the Jewish spiritual imagination. It is a tradition that may at times, for Christians, feel strangely familiar and will, for Christians and Jews, always challenge you to see yourself and your world through a new lens. from the Introduction

Jewish spirituality is an approach to life that encourages us to become aware of God s presence and purpose, even in unlikely places. This world and everything in it is a manifestation of God s presence, says Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. Our challenge and goal is to find it and then act in such a way as to help others find it too.

In this special book, Kushner guides Christians through the rich wisdom of Jewish spirituality. He tailors his unique style to address Christians questions, and, in doing so, opens new windows on their own faith.

"Jewish Spirituality "is a window into the Jewish soul that people of all faiths can understand and enjoy. From the Talmud and Torah, to repentence ("teshuva") and repairing the world ("tikkun olam"), Kushner shows all of us how we can use the fundamentals of Jewish spirituality to enrich our own lives.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Jewish Spirituality : A Brief Introduction for Christians by Lawrence Kushner has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Publishers Weekly - 09/10/2001 page 88
  • Booklist - 10/01/2001 page 284
  • Library Journal - 11/15/2001 page 72
  • Commonweal - 03/22/2002 page 28

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Jewish Lights Publishing
Pages   103
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 5.53" Height: 0.37"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 12, 2001
Publisher   Jewish Lights Publishing
Series  Brief Introduction For Christians  
ISBN  1580231500  
ISBN13  9781580231503  

Availability  79 units.
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More About Lawrence Kushner

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Lawrence Kushner, author, lecturer and spiritual leader, is regarded as one of the most creative religious thinkers and writers in America. A commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, he has focused us on spiritual renewal with wisdom and humor. Through his books and lectures, people of every faith and background have found inspiration and new strength for spiritual search and growth. It has been said that some spiritual leaders blend religion and psychology to help us walk better on the ground, but Lawrence Kushner draws on the wisdom of the mystics to help us dance better on the ceiling.

Kushner's acclaimed books include I'm God; You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion & Other Disguises of the Ego; Honey from the Rock: An Easy Introduction to Jewish Mysticism; Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary; The Book of Letters: A Mystical Hebrew Alphabet; Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians; and In God's Hands, an inspiring fable for children, with Gary Schmidt (all Jewish Lights).

Kushner served as rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, Massachusetts, for almost thirty years; he is currently the Emanu-El scholar at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, and an adjunct faculty member at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is fascinated by graphic design and computers (designing most of his Jewish Lights books). He enjoys Mozart, hanging around sailboats, and making his granddaughters giggle.

Lawrence Kushner currently resides in Boston Sanfrancisco San Franci, in the state of Massachusetts. Lawrence Kushner was born in 1943.

Lawrence Kushner has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Brief Introduction for Christians
  2. Early Childhood Sprituality
  3. Kushner

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( K ) > Kushner, Lawrence
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > Jewish Life
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > General Interest > Other Religion > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Jewish Spirituality : A Brief Introduction for Christians?

Faith provoking  Mar 9, 2006
This is a book that every Christian should read. It will open the eyes of your heart and help you to see God in a brand new way!
In Good Company   Dec 16, 2005

Along comes an illustrious and highly respected rabbi, with a book to give us a look at Biblical roots of the spirituality of our Jewish sisters and brothers. The primary argument of the book is that Christians can appreciate and benefit from Jewish spirituality, so that the fresh insights found there might well inform our own spiritual lives. Timid and cautious, we may ask, "Dare we read it? Not to worry! We will feel right at home, if we have a high view of God whose Word speaks to us in Scripture, as well as a sense of playfulness about our own journey of faith. Why these? Because these are key elements in Jewish spirituality as introduced to Christians by Lawrence Kushner.

Lawrence Kushner was for about 30 years the rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Widely regarded as one of the most creative religious writers in America, he is the author of numerous articles and ten books about personal and institutional spiritual renewal within Judaism, including Eyes Remade for Wonder, God Was In This Place and I Did Not Know It and Honey in the Rock. Now rabbi in residence of Hebrew Union College in New York, he is a regular commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered."

The book is arranged in four sections dealing with the broad topics of Creation, Torah, Commandment, and The Holy One. In a series of brief and highly readable chapters within each section, Rabbi Kushner draws us in to the realm of stories-delightful, entertaining, evocative stories with a purpose. Parable might be the term we know best for these tales that deliver new ideas, insights and questions about the God we love and serve. As we engage our imagination with these stories, they allow God to guide our awareness of the " world that is simultaneously material and spiritual."

Particularly helpful is a section on Biblical interpretation, in which Kushner relates that there are four ways of meeting God's written Word. These he lists in a section entitled "Orchard of Words". The reader of Torah is encouraged to find four layers in every pericope, based on the four letters of the Hebrew word for orchard, (pardes). Layer One is the surface meaning-or simple story. Layer Two offers a hint of something in our own lives that intersect with the text. Layer Three is interpreting-finding lessons that can inform our lives. The Fourth Layer is the secret layer, according to Kushner, "even when seen, its meaning remains mysterious." Even though Kushner confines his description of these layers to Torah, these same layers of awareness could be applied by preachers, teachers and Bible students throughout the larger landscape of Biblical truth.

This book stems from a lifelong friendship and ongoing conversation between the author and an Episcopalian rector, who for many years served a congregation near Kushner's own. The touching story of their empathy and friendship is chronicled in the book's introduction, where Kushner responds to his friend's compassion in this way: "And then it dawned on me...that's what it means to say that God can take the form of a human being... Right here across the table from me was a truly holy man, one in whom the spirit had become flesh." (Page 16). On your own spiritual journey, you would be in good company with Lawrence Kushner as a fellow traveler.

Fun Theology  Dec 22, 2003
Rabbi Kushner's "Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians" is a light introduction to Jewish meditations, but I'm not so sure it's Jewish spirituality. At its most profound moments, it doesn't seem Jewish at all. It's more like Buddha with a yarmulka on.

Make no mistakes: it's a fun and easy read. In less than 100 pages Kushner introduces us to playful Jewish reflections on the Torah (like the story of the two men walking through the Red Sea without realizing where they are), thoughtful word plays (like the acronym on the Hebrew word for "garden"), and motivational meditations on our need to serve others and let God work through us (like the story of the rich man leaving bread at the synagogue. This is a cute collection of stories and illustrations, a few of which will give you pause for reflection.

However, at it's heart, I'm not sure that most orthodox Jews would embrace every word of this. While Kushner notes that it is difficult to define Judaism, he nonetheless includes sweeping sentences like "Jews think this" and "Jewish mysticism teaches that." And the things he credits to all Judaism include, in referece to creation, the belief that "It's all God." Or he will say, you must be fused into the divine until the "borders of your self are erased." While this is spirituality, I'm not so sure it's Jewish.

In the end, it's a quick, easy, fun read. But if this is your first exposure to Judaism, don't stop reading.

A complete accessible text  Jan 9, 2002
In Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction For Christians, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner assists members of the Christian community to better understand Judaism in general, and basic Jewish concepts of spirituality in particular. In a complete accessible text, Rabbi Kushner explores how we are all connected to each other and to God, how the Torah is a blueprint for all of creation, how "holy deeds" are required every day by each of us in order to successfully mend the world, the nature of God's "Oneness", how the Jewish experience of teshuva is similar to the Christian experience of Jesus, and a great deal more. Rabbi Kushner also dispels a number of misconceptions about Judaism common among Christians. Jewish Spirituality is an enthusiastically recommended introduction for those with Christian backgrounds who are seeking a better understanding of Judaism and its relation to their own Christian faith from a Jewish perspective.

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