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Change & Renewal

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Change & Renewal

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Change & Renewal
The Essence of the Jewish Holidays, Festivals & Days of Remembrance
By Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Translated by Daniel Haberman
Edited by Yehudit Shabta
Maggid Books, A Division of Koren Publishers Jerusalem, 2011
ISBN: 978-159-264-322-6

Reviewed by Herbert White - December 13, 2011

What is the meaning of the Jewish Holidays? What is the essence of the Jewish Calendar? How can we experience the holidays to the fullest - both physically and spiritually? How does celebrating the holidays change us? These and more questions are explored in Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's eye-opening book, Change & Renewal: The Essence of the Jewish Holidays, Festivals & Days of Remembrance.

The essays in this book have been compiled from Rabbi Steinsaltz's writings and discourses on the holidays and they cover not only the holidays themselves, but how we can and should prepare ourselves - mentally and spiritually - for the various holidays. The essays in this collection are organized thematically, with sections covering: Most of these sections include multiple essays, while some, such as the one on Chanukka, contain only one.

Because this book was not written as a book, but rather is a collection of essays and shiurim, the style and tempo of the various essays differ from one another, and the essays do not represent a continuous narrative. This variety of style and presentation makes this book ideal for skipping around - reading whatever section happens to strike your fancy at any given moment, or simply reading Rabbi Steinsaltz's thoughts on a given holiday in preparation for that holiday.

Rabbi Steinsaltz's has had a long and distinguished career as a Jewish scholar and educator. His translation of the Talmud into English, Russian, French, and modern Hebrew have opened the door to Talmud study for countless students who might otherwise have been unable to study Talmud. He has also written countless books that have changed, for the better, the way that people view and understand Jewish traditions, philosophy, and practices. As a result he has been responsible for bringing many disenfranchised Jews back 'into the fold'. Change & Renewal will be no exception.

Whether you are well acquainted with the Holidays and the cycle of the Jewish calendar, or are discovering its wonders for the first time, this book will help you see that there is more to the celebrations of the holidays than simply 'having fun' or following some set format because that is what your parents and grandparents did. This book will expose you to the spiritual dimension of the holidays, and in the process awaken you to a greater understanding and appreciation of the Holy days.

This book deserves space in every Jewish library, both public and private!

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