This spring, JPS welcomes four new titles to its library of books of enduring worth. These four take particular interest in Jewish Culture—both how it has been represented in history and its common traits today.
Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
Is laughter essential to Jewish identity? Do Jews possess special radar for recognizing members of the tribe? Since Jews live longer and make love more often, why don’t more people join the tribe? “More deli than deity” writer Nancy Kalikow Maxwell poses many such questions in eight chapters—“Worrying,” “Kvelling,” “Dying,” “Noshing,” “Laughing,” “Detecting,” “Dwelling,” and “Joining”—exploring what it means to be “typically Jewish.” Readers will enjoy learning about how Jews feel, think, act, love, and live—and can tell all their friends about it with the book’s “Typically Jewish, Atypically Fun” discussion guide.
Pre-Publication Praise for Typically Jewish:
“An entertaining overview likely to inspire debate.” —Kirkus
In This Hour: Heschel’s Writings in Nazi Germany and London Exile
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Foreword by Susannah Heschel, edited and annotated by Helen Plotkin, translations by Stephen Lehmann and Marion Faber
In This Hour offers the first English translations of selected German writings by Abraham Joshua Heschel from his tumultuous years in Nazi-ruled Germany and months in London exile, before he found refuge in the United States. Several of the works have, moreover, never been published in any language. Composed during a time of intense crisis for European Jewry, these writings both argue for and exemplify a powerful vision of spiritually rich Jewish learning and its redemptive role in the past and the future of the Jewish people. As Heschel teaches history, his voice is more than that of a historian: the old becomes new, and the struggles of one era shed light on another. Even as Heschel quotes ancient sources, his words address the issues of his own time and speak urgently to ours.
And introducing a new series…
Books in the JPS Daily Inspiration Series invite readers to spend a year with the inspirational words, ideas, and counsel of great Jewish writers.
A Year with Mordecai Kaplan: Wisdom on the Weekly Torah Portion
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben
Foreword by Rabbi David A. Teutsch
A pioneer of ideas and action—teaching that “Judaism is a civilization” encompassing Jewish culture, art, and peoplehood; demonstrating how synagogues can be full centers for Jewish living (building one of the first “shuls with a pool”); and creating the first-ever bat mitzvah ceremony (for his daughter Judith)—Kaplan transformed the landscape of American Jewry. Yet much of Kaplan’s rich treasury of ethical and spiritual thought is largely unknown.
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, who studied closely with Kaplan, offers unique insight into Kaplan’s teachings about ethical relationships and spiritual fulfillment, including how to embrace godliness in everyday experience, our mandate to become agents of justice in the world, and the human ability to evolve personally and collectively.
A Year with the Sages: Wisdom on the Weekly Torah Portion
Rabbi Reuven Hammer
A Year with the Sages uniquely relates the Sages’ understanding of each Torah portion to everyday life. The importance of these teachings cannot be overstated. The Sages, who lived during the period from the fifth century BCE to the fifth century CE, considered themselves to have inherited the oral teachings God transmitted to Moses, along with the mandate to interpret them to each subsequent generation. Just as the Torah and the entire Hebrew Bible are the foundations of Judaism, the Sages’ teachings form the structures of Jewish belief and practice built on that foundation. Many of these teachings revolve around core concepts such as God’s justice, God’s love, Torah, Israel, humility, honesty, loving-kindness, reverence, prayer, and repentance.