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February 07, 1992 - Image 69

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Pho to By Craig Te r

In The Spirit
Of Things

As the Jewish book world looks toward '92,
spirituality will no doubt continue to sell big.

DANIEL SCHIFRIN

Special to The Jewish News

t would have been hard
to imagine Random
House publishing a book
like On The Mystical Shape
Of The Godhead, Gershom
Scholem's complex medita-
tion on Jewish mysticism, a
few years ago. But Schocken
books, Random House's
Jewish-oriented arm, bank-
ed that if Steinsaltz's Tal-
mud could sell big in Amer-
ica two years ago, then so
could other works exploring
the spiritual or arcane side
of Judaism.
During 1991 many other
publishing houses appeared
to agree with them, result-
ing in a greatly expanded se-
lection of spiritual and reli-
gious texts. And it looks like
that trend will continue into
'92.
A quick glance at
Schocken's 1991 Jewish of-
ferings points to the grow-

ing importance of this sub-
genre of books. Besides
Scholem's work, there is The
Jewish Sabbath, Pinchas
Peli's spiritual journey
through the Sabbath, Barry
Holtz's Finding Our Way,
about the use of ancient
texts in everyday life, and a
paperback compilation of
Martin Buber's two volumes
of Tales of the Hasidim. One
of Schocken's earliest books
for next year is Defenders of
the Faith: Inside Ultra-
Orthodox Judaism, and oth-
er works, like a paperback
edition of David Ariel's The
Mystic Quest, will be avail-
able later in the year.
"Spiritual texts are defi-
nitely becoming more popu-
lar," said Bonny Fetterman,
senior editor at Schocken.
"Books that allow access to
a spiritual Judaism are the
most sought after in the
Jewish marketplace." Nan-
cy Scholem, national sales
manager for Jason Aronson,
which publishes Judaica and

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

61

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