Clears up misconceptions about Judaism, explains its traditions, and describes the problems that face modern Judaism
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: What is Judaism? What is the Jewish creed? Most people--even those who call themselves Jews - would be hard-pressed to answer that question. The reason, according to Nicholas de Lange, is that the very idea of religion was artifically imposed on Judaism. "The term `religion' has been foreign to Judaism until relatively recently," he writes, "when the dialogue with Christianity has compelled Jews to recognize and use it. Indeed the Hebrew language does not really have a word for religion." This fascinating book attempts to present Judaism in its own terms, in a manner accessible to Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. De Lange does away with the artificial categories imposed by comparisons with Christianity and focuses instead on the unique features of Judaism: the extraordinary emphasis on tradition, the deep sense of community, even when there is a complete lack of religious commitment, and more. De Lange covers Judaism in all its forms, including Orthodoxy, ultra-Orthodoxy, Conservatism, Reform, secular Judaism, and Zionism, tying contemporary phenomena to the heritage of the past. Key terms are translated and explained and their implications explored, as de Lange familiarizes readers with the words and thoughts that are at the heart of everyday Jewish life.