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How to Get More Out of Being Jewish Even If: A. You Are Not Sure You Believe in God, B. You Think Going to Synagogue Is a Waste of Time, C. You Think Keeping Kosher Is Stupid, D. You Hated Hebrew School, E. All of the Above

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Much has been written by rabbis and other Jewish professionals about American Jews, assimilation, intermarriage, and continuity. This unique book, based on focus groups and interviews with more than 150 Jews in the U.S., gives voice to the Jewish population. Filled with potent arguments, challenging questions, raw emotion, and insights into Judaism, this book helps answer Much has been written by rabbis and other Jewish professionals about American Jews, assimilation, intermarriage, and continuity. This unique book, based on focus groups and interviews with more than 150 Jews in the U.S., gives voice to the Jewish population. Filled with potent arguments, challenging questions, raw emotion, and insights into Judaism, this book helps answer the question: Why be Jewish?


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Much has been written by rabbis and other Jewish professionals about American Jews, assimilation, intermarriage, and continuity. This unique book, based on focus groups and interviews with more than 150 Jews in the U.S., gives voice to the Jewish population. Filled with potent arguments, challenging questions, raw emotion, and insights into Judaism, this book helps answer Much has been written by rabbis and other Jewish professionals about American Jews, assimilation, intermarriage, and continuity. This unique book, based on focus groups and interviews with more than 150 Jews in the U.S., gives voice to the Jewish population. Filled with potent arguments, challenging questions, raw emotion, and insights into Judaism, this book helps answer the question: Why be Jewish?

43 review for How to Get More Out of Being Jewish Even If: A. You Are Not Sure You Believe in God, B. You Think Going to Synagogue Is a Waste of Time, C. You Think Keeping Kosher Is Stupid, D. You Hated Hebrew School, E. All of the Above

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zane Carey

    Very relevant to my reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Apparently, I may already be Jewish. I kid a bit, but I think that quite a bit of what Mann has to say is very similar to my own philosophies. I'm not Jewish, but I have some good friends that are, and I've always found the religion very intriguing. This book reads almost like a handbook (a user's guide to Judaism, perhaps?) with its question and answer format, and end-of-chapter summaries, but this isn't a criticism. In fact, this format works very well for what Mann tries (and succeeds) to ach Apparently, I may already be Jewish. I kid a bit, but I think that quite a bit of what Mann has to say is very similar to my own philosophies. I'm not Jewish, but I have some good friends that are, and I've always found the religion very intriguing. This book reads almost like a handbook (a user's guide to Judaism, perhaps?) with its question and answer format, and end-of-chapter summaries, but this isn't a criticism. In fact, this format works very well for what Mann tries (and succeeds) to achieve. His style is informal, friendly, and conversational and he comes off as compassionate, understanding, realistic, and self-deprecating. In short, although he is not a Rabbi himself, he ends up resembling the sort of Rabbi that you suspect a lot of the people in his focus groups wish they had. The book is divided up into chapters that address a selection of contemporary Jews' major complaints about Judaism (and the practice of it), and whether or not you choose to buy into Mann's three-pronged approach to defining Judaism and Jewishness, he has quite a bit to say that is provocative (in a good way) and yet also reassuring. Since I'm not Jewish, I may be forced to pull a LeVar Burton here and say that readers don't have to take my word for it. Mann did manage to garner praise from rabbis representing conservative, reform, and orthodox Judaism, which says something. For those who are curious, it's a fast read and one of those books that's ideal for picking up here and there when you only have little pockets of free time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kez

    This book is the latest book the Rabbi at synagogue has given me to read. It feels like the latest in the long line of books, but it kept my interest. The dialogue style was definitely jarring for me. Since I'm a big reader I found it stylistically odd, but it did help convey the point, even if it pulled me out of the text now and then. I did very much enjoy his Venn diagram of Jewish-ness or Jewish personhood. It was an interesting way of putting an issue that I'm always getting information abo This book is the latest book the Rabbi at synagogue has given me to read. It feels like the latest in the long line of books, but it kept my interest. The dialogue style was definitely jarring for me. Since I'm a big reader I found it stylistically odd, but it did help convey the point, even if it pulled me out of the text now and then. I did very much enjoy his Venn diagram of Jewish-ness or Jewish personhood. It was an interesting way of putting an issue that I'm always getting information about, even in Jewish books. Still, for me, coming at the book from the view of someone looking to convert, I couldn't share in a lot of the feelings expressed in the book: the hating of Hebrew school, the experiences of one's bar/bat mitzvah, the feelings of being forced to shul, and not feeling anything from synagogue. As such I wasn't the target audience as it were, but I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to people who were the target demographic in a heartbeat.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    More of a humor book than an informative one this late in the 21st century. It reads like a televised PSA attempting to convince little Jimmy from the suburbs to not do PCP, except convincing disaffected but materially successful Jews from the suburbs to engage with Judaism. I didn't find Mann particularly compelling as a convert, since I don't need to be convinced that my terrible Hebrew school experience shouldn't define my adult relationship to Judaism, but he has some good points and I had a More of a humor book than an informative one this late in the 21st century. It reads like a televised PSA attempting to convince little Jimmy from the suburbs to not do PCP, except convincing disaffected but materially successful Jews from the suburbs to engage with Judaism. I didn't find Mann particularly compelling as a convert, since I don't need to be convinced that my terrible Hebrew school experience shouldn't define my adult relationship to Judaism, but he has some good points and I had a laugh.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This unique book is composed of a series of interviews with a number of disaffected Jews. Throughout, the author explains the meaning modern Jews can make of the traditions that some find alienating in order to stay connected to their religious community.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    2.5 stars, really. It wasn't awful, it just didn't have enough redeeming qualities to make it three stars. The style annoyed me, tbh. 2.5 stars, really. It wasn't awful, it just didn't have enough redeeming qualities to make it three stars. The style annoyed me, tbh.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

  8. 5 out of 5

    Seth

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  11. 5 out of 5

    Xenia

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joe Diamond

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate Farrell

  14. 4 out of 5

    Masha Vorochkova

  15. 4 out of 5

    Skylar

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lea

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Tucker

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dave Cohen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Berger

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ella

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ben Serviss

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Cairns

  25. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rae

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara Wolfie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becky Everhart

  29. 5 out of 5

    Becca

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hoan

  31. 4 out of 5

    Roy Rumaner

  32. 5 out of 5

    Nicki

  33. 5 out of 5

    allynt

  34. 5 out of 5

    Marcy

  35. 5 out of 5

    Shellye Farber

  36. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  37. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  38. 5 out of 5

    Gila Hadani

  39. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

  40. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  41. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie

  42. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  43. 5 out of 5

    Baskintm

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