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Ay ear after publication, Rabbi Yedwab's
"Sex in the Texts" book maintains brisk sales.
SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
and I am proud to be involved in it."
But, on the other hand, Rabbi
Yedwab says, "It is not fair or accurate to
say that the study of Jewish texts is new
to Reform Judaism. Reform Judaism has
always believed that one must first study
the tradition and then make informed
religious choices. We are just discovering
better ways to make that happen."
s Rabbi Paul Yedwab's newest
publication, The God Book,
hits bookstores, his last work,
published in August 2001, is
reaching new sales heights.
Perhaps it is the title, Sex in the Texts,
that is attracting readers, but once pur-
chased, the book has proven to be much
more than just a catchy tide.
"The book is doing very well," says
"Sex sells," the Temple Israel rabbi
Rabbi Hara Person, editorial director of
says of the UAHC Press-published book.
the UAHC Press in New York.
"This is true in the secular world; it is
Attending the annual
also true in the Jewish world."
But Rabbi Yedwab has discovered
that, just as his
classes and pro-
material taught is
was witness to
high sales of the
book at the event.
"The response has
on the texts
been very positive,"
have found that I
she says. "It's really a
am able to open
pleasure seeing people
Rabbi Paul Yedwab
discover the book for the first time. It is
such a perfect book for working with
my students on the sometimes difficult
teenagers, and there's nothing else like it
issues of sexuality," he says of the premise out there."
that is followed also by the words in his
Although Rabbi Yedwab is rabbi of a
Reform congregation, the book has been
The rabbi sees media interest in Sex in read and used by those of various Jewish
the Texts exciting on the basis of accept-
movements, including at least one
ance of the book as a product of a
Orthodox day school, where Rabbi
Reform rabbi. Widely read newspapers
Person met an Orthodox teacher using it
such as the Jerusalem Post and the New
with her teenage students.
York-based Forward have reviewed the
"She finds that the book is a great
resource and that 95 percent of the book
"Some of the reviews, like the one in
is absolutely appropriate in that commu-
the Jerusalem Post, have focused on the
nity as well," Rabbi Person says. "She was
Reform movement's embracing of Jewish
pleasantly surprised to find such a book,
textual study," Rabbi Yedwab says. "In
based solidly on Jewish texts, to be pub-
the past, many. of our textbooks consist-
lished by the Reform movement."
ed of a scholar, having himself or herself
Rabbi Person also says the book has
digested the traditional material, distill-
sold within the Reform, Conservative
ing that material down for the readers.
and Reconstructionist movements.
Recently, however, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the
While Rabbi Yedwab says his recently
president of our movement [Union of
published book, The God Book, covers a
American Hebrew Congregations in
very different subject matter than Sex in
New York], has called for a marked
the Texts, he says its general purpose is the
increase in primary text study in all of
same. "It seeks to introduce students to
our educational institutions.
more sophisticated theological concepts
"In many ways, Sex in the Texts is part
than those generally taught in religious
of that movement within our movement, schools." Cl
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