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November 01, 2002 - Image 68

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-01

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

Spirituality

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Death" and "How Can I Access God?"
"The passages I chose are traditional
Jewish texts, which offer more complex
— and I would argue more sophisticat-
ed — theological images than those
found in the texts our students study
most often," he says.
Although Rabbi Yedwab is from the
Reform Jewish tradition, his hope is
that the book is presented in such a
way as to open dialogue and stimulate
thought among readers of all streams.
"One of the good things about the
book is that it is based on traditional
texts," he says. "A more traditional
teacher-rabbi-educator may disagree
with my conclusions here or there, but
could very well still utilize the book as a
theological source book, focusing more
on the texts themselves, and less on the
commentary."
Personally, he says, "This is the way
I myself use the book. I jump from text
to text with my students, letting them
provide the commentary as we go
along.
"One of the strengths of this book is
Rabbi Yedwab's honesty," says Rabbi
Hara Person, editorial director at the
UAHC Press in New York.
"He acknowledges that everyone
struggles with the idea of God and how
to understand the concept of God," she
says. "There is no right answer in this
book, and I think that's a very powerful
and important statement for young
people. So often kids are told what
they're supposed to believe, and if they
don't agree, they're left feeling like
there's no room for them."
Rabbi Person sees Rabbi Yedwab's
approach as offering room "for a large
spectrum of beliefs and, more impor-
tantly, for exploring different beliefs."
By providing the texts, she says the
rabbi, "doesn't tell his readers what
Judaism says, he actually lets them dis-
cover it on their own. This is theology
without filters, an approach which
respects the intelligence of his readers."
" The God Book is not a systematic
portrayal of the field of Jewish theolo-
gy," Rabbi Yedwab says, calling it a
"thinking and believing book."
"In general, the writings-biogra-
phies-histories of the theologians them-
selves are ignored in favor of the ideas
that motivated them. We are trying to
get to the essence of God." ❑

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2002

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Knowing what's
going on....

PRICELESS

Rabbi Paul Yedwab speaks 2 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Jewish
Community Center in West
Bloomfield.

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