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Tough Questions Jews Ask 2/E


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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition vii How to Read This Book ix Acknowledgments xi 1. Am I Allowed to Ask? 1 Does It Make God Mad If We Ask Questions? 1 2. Who Believes in God Anymore? 6 Why Should I Believe in God? Why Should Anyone? 6 3. Do I Have to Go to Services? What Good Is Praying? 12 Does God Listen? Does God Answer? 12 If I Pray for Something, Will I Get It? 16 Do I Have to Go to a Synagogue to Pray? 19 4. Talking Snakes and Splitting Seas ... Is Any of That Stuff in the Bible True? 22 If God Talked to Everyone in the Bible, Why Doesn't God Talk to Anyone Today? 26 5. Why Does God Let Terrible Things Happen? 30 How Can Anyone Believe in God after the Holocaust? 34 6. What Is God Anyway? 39 What's That about God Being a Shepherd ... Are We Supposed to Be Sheep? 44 7. What's the Meaning of Life? Is That a Dumb Question? 49 8. No Cheeseburgers? No Going to the Mall on Saturday? Why Does Religion Need So Many Rules? 55 9. 2 T*Xt Or Not 2 T*Xt? 64 What's Wrong with Texting? What Harm Can It Do? 64 10. What Do You See When You Look at Me? 71 Can I Get a Tattoo or a Piercing and Still Be Jewish? 75 11. Why Are There So Many Different Religions? Aren't They All the Same? 79 What Is Christian Religion About? Is It Really That Different from Our Religion? 82 Can a Person Be Half-Jewish, Half-Christian? 87 Why Won't Mom Let Us Have a Christmas Tree? 88 What about Islam? Can I Be Friends with Muslims? 90 12. Why Do People Hate Jews? 94 13. If We Live Here, Why Is Israel So Important? 99 14. Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform-Why Can't I Just Be Jewish? 104 15. What Happens to Us After We Die? 111 Do Jews Believe in Heaven and Hell? 111 16. What's the Messiah? 117 17. What's a Bar Mitzvah? What's a Bat Mitzvah? Can't I Just Have a Birthday Party? 121 Why Do We Have to Keep Going to Hebrew School Even After We're Bar Mitzvah? 124 18. Why Is It So Important to Marry Someone Jewish? 128 Why Can't I Just Marry Someone I Love? 128 What If I Fall in Love with a Person Who Isn't Jewish but Wants to Be? Can Someone Join Up? 132 19. Why Be Jewish? 134 One More Thing 137 Suggestions for Further Reading 138

About the Author

Rabbi Edward Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California. He is an instructor in the Ziegler Rabbinical School of American Jewish University and the Wexner Heritage Program. He is the author of Tough Questions Jews Ask: A Young Adult's Guide to Building a Jewish Life (Jewish Lights) and Capturing the Moon; and the editor of Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century: Human Responsibilities, the Presence of God, and the Future of the Covenant (Jewish Lights). He contributed to May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism-Yizkor; Who by Fire, Who by Water-Un'taneh Tokef and We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism-Ashamnu and Al Chet (all Jewish Lights).


"I wish I had this book when I was young. I'm grateful that the b'nei mitzvah and their parents in my congregation have it now. Rabbi Feinstein responds to the tough questions thoughtful Jewish teenagers ask with wisdom, humor, gentleness and insight. " -Rabbi Laura Geller, senior rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, California "In this remarkable book Rabbi Feinstein asks all the tough questions, and gives them thoughtful, important and often surprising answers. I will keep it by my desk; every Jewish parent seeking answers should do the same." -Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, California; author, Teaching Your Children About God "A masterpiece in Jewish education by a master educator. A gift for teenagers and adults alike. " -Rabbi Donniel Hartman, co-director, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem "Takes us through those 'keep-you-up-at-night' questions-and does so with wit and depth. This is the best theology book for young people that I have read in a long time. It will be must-reading for confirmation classes and Hebrew high school. What a treasure! " -Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, author, Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah and For Kids-Putting God on Your Guest List: How to Claim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah

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