Augsburg Fortress

The Jewish Experience: An Introduction to Jewish History and Jewish Life

The Jewish Experience: An Introduction to Jewish History and Jewish Life

Steven Leonard Jacobs discusses his introductory textbook The Jewish Experience:

This is a story of the Jewish experience through history, which introduces and explains the many dimensions of Jewish life as "cycles" through which Jewish history, thought, writing, and practices have evolved and continue to mature. Steven Jacobs writes a clear and straightforward introduction that explains the basics of Jewish history, the tradition of texts, key philosophical and theological issues and thinkers, the Judaic calendar, and contemporary global concerns and what the future may portend for Judaism. This book is appropriate for use in general and historical introductory courses on Judaism as well as by general readers who seek a better understanding of the richness and meaning of Jewish life through history.
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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800696634
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 7.5 x 9.25
  • Pages 240
  • Publication Date May 1, 2010


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"Writing in a clear and jargon–free idiom, Steven L. Jacobs addresses a synthesis of beliefs and concepts that describe the parameters of the Jewish value system: God, Torah (teaching and commandments), people (chosen, covenant, choosing), land (holy and home), doctrine (beliefs, practices, ethics, morality), holy space and time, and contemporary matters. This is not a comprehensive discussion of Jewish history, culture, and religion but a balanced and focused exploration of sacred and secular sources on what is meant by Jewishness, molded by a mosaic of Jewish ideas from Torah to today and beyond."
—Zev Garber
Professor Emeritus and Chair of Jewish Studies and Philosophy,
Los Angeles Valley College
Past President of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew

"Steve Jacobs has written a readable and thorough survey of Judaism with his usual touch of a passion to see religions, in this case Judaism, as living communities faced with the challenge to meet the contemporary, post–Shoah world. This makes this book a unique contribution to the materials on Judaism and a vital addition for any class or student to read."
—James F. Moore
Professor of Theology
Valparaiso University
Author of Toward a Dialogical Community: A Post-Shoah Christian Theology

"A careful reading of The Jewish Experience shows it to be a thorough and carefully crafted introduction to the essentials of Jewish history, belief, and observance. Liberally interspersed with quotations from scripture and examples of Jewish liturgy, the book is also a wonderful teaching text. For those beginning their Jewish journey as well as for those who have been observant all their lives, this book will prove to be the ideal reference tool on most of the key elements of 'how to do Jewish.' Thoroughly recommended on all levels, I would be surprised if this does not become the standard work in its field for many years to come."
—Paul R. Bartrop
Professor of History
Bialik College



Chapter 1


Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9