Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians

Article excerpt

Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians. By Lawrence Kushner: Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2001. 102 pp. $12.95 (paper).

Lawrence Kushner is a Reform rabbi who has written widely in the field of Jewish mysticism and spirituality. Of the three broad trends in modern Reform Judaism-the rediscovery of traditional Jewish ritual and halakhic practice, commitment to social justice and tikkun olam, and Jewish "spirituality"-it is the last that is probably the most vigorous. And Rabbi Kushner is the outstanding example of the genre.

His book is intended for Christians, as an attempt to present Judaism as a living religion of faith and prayer. Many Christians probably still see Judaism as a legalistic religion without real in-depth spirituality. And Kushner demonstrates that this is not so. He shows that Jewish tradition is a tradition of faith as well as practice, of the inner life of the spirit, as well as the outer life of community.

He takes the basic themes of Creation, Torah, Mitzvah (Commandment), and God, in order to give a historical survey of the spiritual heart of Jewish tradition. He illustrates the themes with a multitude of stories quoted from the Rabbinic literature. By so doing he opens up a picture of Judaism that is remote from the misunderstandings that still exist among Christians.

The hook is a fine introduction to the subject of Jewish spirituality; after all, Kushner is a remarkable teacher and this is his special field. …

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