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By Bernardo Sorj

Judaism for Everyone - Without Dogma

This book presents an exceptional and stimulating view of Judaism and what it means to be Jewish. Instead of basing his arguments on blind faith and quotations of sacred texts the author argues for a Judaism oriented by humanistic values and personal freedom. For almost two thousand years, historical circumstance has made being Jewish a matter of fate. Now it is becoming more and more a matter of individual choice. Judaism for Everyone ... without Dogma is an effort to contribute to the advancement of a Judaism that is based on freedom not on fear or blind acceptance of authority. Tradition and collective memory are raw materials that each generation must reinterpret and in which new meanings are found. Individuals that value their capacity to decide what is right and wrong cannot accept ready-made formulas. For them the question is not what Judaism is but rather how to find their own way to be a Jew. In a series of short chapters the reader will travel through Jewish history from biblical times to our days. He will find that the making of the Jewish people was always influenced by other cultures and through this long history different models of Judaism developed. The author shows how Judaism survived by reinventing itself by adapting to new circumstances and cultural change. The more open the local society was the more diverse and rich Judaism became. Diversity and pluralism do not endanger Judaism. On the contrary, it only threatens those that claim a monopoly on deciding what Judaism should be. The second part of the book presents a panorama of the different ways that in modern times the Jews absorbed the cultural and political values of the Enlightenment, producing a pluralistic culture. From Spinoza to Einstein, from Freud to Buber, from Kafka to Amos Oz a vibrant Jewish culture has developed which is based on reason and humanistic values, not on dogma. It is this culture which has become the common ground for most Jews today.

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