Why be Jewish?
Knowledge and Inspiration for Jews of Today
By Doron Kornbluth
Mosaica Press, 2011, 312 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - December 19, 2011
Doron Kornbluth offers his readers twenty easy to read, sometimes humorous short chapters, including fiction, which show some good aspects of Judaism. Jews of all denominations will appreciate the book, which can be read and enjoyed by teens as well as older folk. In his first tale, "Sundays with Joey," for example, he tells about a Church-going non-Jew who advises a young Jewish boy: "Religion is like a garden. It needs tending. If you tend your garden, put time and care into it, it will be there for you. It will give you beautiful plants and flowers. You’ll feel good about it and be proud of it, as you should be."
In "Chain of Tradition," he gives the traditional chain of tradition of the Torah from Moses to his father to him. In "The Dalai Lama," he tells the tale of an irreligious Jew who is searching for meaning, spends four years in India, including two in the camp of the Dalai Lama. He approaches the Dalai Lama only at the end of the four years with a question. The answer he receives makes him into a better Jew. "May God Bless You, Eric Jones," is a heart-warming story of a boy whose family treated his Christian friend properly and how his friend and his friend’s family treated him during a family Christmas meal. "Love, Jewish Style" is a tale of a religious male who marries a non-observant woman and the affect Judaism had on the wife. "Dear Dairy," to cite a final example, is about the difficulties that a non-observant mother had in explaining to her son why Jews do not observe Christian holidays and believe in the divinity of Jesus.
Kornbluth includes a chapter containing Jewish jokes. He concludes his book with three appendices. One points out that while Jews currently make up only 0.21 percent of the world’s population, their contribution to the world is "an incredible achievement and without any historic parallel." For example, there were 49 Jews out of 189 Nobel Prize Winners in medicine, 27 out of 150 in chemistry, 23 out of 61 in economics, 44 out of 176 in physics, 12 out of 104 in literature, and 9 out of 95 in world peace.