Friday, April 21, 2006

book recommendation

If you are looking for a book that explains in a clear and intelligent way the values that are part of basic Jewish thought, I would recommend "A Letter in the Scroll" by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, which I just recently read. It is not a philosophical treatise, a historical study, or a halachic manual; it is simply a collection of personal reflections on what "Jewishness" means. It is extremely well written and well thought out, and without engaging in apologetics, conveys why being a committed Jew means being part of a rich and rewarding heritage. R' Sacks touches on a host of complex issues that include: "chosen people", the problem of evil and the Holocaust, Zionism, education and Torah study, Shabbos, "Revelation" etc. in an intelligent, erudite, and very engaging way. I can't think offhand of a better book that might explain to someone with no background what being Jewish is all about, and at the same time I gained much by reading it myself.