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The Choice to Be

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The Choice to Be

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The Choice to Be
A Jewish Path to Self and Spirituality
By Jeremy Kagan
Feldheim Publishers, 2012, 452 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59826-821-8

Reviewed by Israel Drazin - September 5, 2012

Rabbi Jeremy Kagan, Principal of Midreshet Tehillah in Jerusalem offers religious and non-religious readers an introduction to the solutions to many questions from "the Torah worldview," a literal reading of biblical texts. The book has twenty-one chapters and three appendices. Kagan discusses subjects such as developing oneself, faith, free will, sin, repentance, our perception of the Creator, Divine judgment, the roots of exile, and the conflict between Torah and science. One of his three appendices summarizes his understanding of these and the other subjects that he discusses. Another discusses the miscommunications of modern technology. The third focuses on maintaining a close relationship with God. The book has over a thousand footnotes, many referring to biblical passages.

Kagan stresses the importance of faith and connecting with God. Humans, he writes, feel inadequate and desire to cling to God. He sees the observance of the biblical commands as a way to bring Jews to faith. He is convinced that Jews were named after the biblical Judah who sinned, recognized his error, and repented, and Jews received this name to encourage them to do the same.

Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of eighteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, His latest book on the Aramaic translation is Understanding Onkelos, published in 2012 by Targum Press. His website is

The views expressed in this review/article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
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