Judaism: Jewish Thought and Philosophy

Article excerpt

Judaism: Jewish Thought and Philosophy

Illness and Health in the Jewish Tradition: Writings from the Bible to Today, edited by David Freeman and Judith Z. Abrams. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1999. 288 pp. ISBN 0-8276-0673-7.

An anthology of traditional and modern Jewish writings -- poems, stories, essays, prayers, and inspirational passages -- on illness and healing from the Bible to modern day. Topics cover the role and duties of the physician, reflections on suffering, prayers for healing, the pastoral role of the rabbi, and the ethics of caregiving and health.

The Jewish Moral Virtues, by Eugene B. Borowitz and Frances Weinman Schwartz. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1999. 384 pp. ISBN 0-8276-0664-8.

This is a book of practical ethical wisdom applied to contemporary life. The authors synthesize traditional scholarship from a wide range of Jewish sources with personal insights into modern ethical dilemmas.

Kaddish, by Leon Wieseltier. New York: Knopf, 1998. 588 pp. ISBN 0-375-80389-2.

When Leon Wieseltier's father died in March 1996, he began to observe the rituals of the traditional year of mourning, going daily to the synagogue to recite the kaddish. Between his prayers and his everyday responsibilities, he sought out ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish texts in pursuit of the kaddish's history and meaning. And every day he studied, translated, and wrote his own reflections on the obscure texts that he found, punctuating his journal with stories about life in his synagogue and about his family's progress through grief. …