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Introduction 

 

So, you know nothing about Judaism.

 

If you know nothing or very little about Judaism, and want to know what it is you've been missing, then this book is for you.

          Amazingly, there is nothing like this book available, even though the Jewish book enterprise, once a cottage industry, has become palatial. Our book is unique. Instead of arguing theology and enumerating the commandments of the bible, both worthy assignments which we will leave to others - we want to provide the searching Jew with a how-to manual, a guide for someone who is contemplating what a lifestyle of observance is all about, and needs to know what to do next, or what to do first. It will allow you to gain a first hand look at authentic Judaism.

          This book is divided into four stages, reflecting the four stages in any beginner’s exploration and discovery of Judaism. We first start with the “Just Thinking About It” stage which addresses popular notions and conceptions of Judaism.  “Preliminaries in Your Exploration of Judaism” are examined next. The third section “Getting Serious – Experiencing Judaism for Yourself” offers you an inside glimpse of authentic Jewish life. If at this stage you’re still interested, we will describe the “Practical Implications” of adopting this lifestyle for yourself and will follow with “Some Words of Encouragement” richly deserved by someone so courageous as yourself.

          What exactly does the newcomer to Judaism do?  Whom should you contact to find out more?  And, given the cascade of titles dousing the Jewish market, what should you read?  We want to advance some answers, and assure you that your journey, while momentous and a little bit uncertain, has been tread by thousands of others, and charted by some expert mapmakers.  You are not treading a solitary road; you will find many fellow travelers, and many others who have already reached their destination, know the way and are ready to help you.

Are you nervous about pursuing religion?  That would be quite natural; you might be making a big change in your life.  Are there obstacles?  The answer is yes; you are certainly going to meet obstacles along the way.  What this book is designed to do is break down your anxieties, hold your hand, and walk with you through what may seem, from a distance, to be rough terrain.  We offer a pragmatic approach to overcoming anxieties and obstacles, so that your exploration of Judaism will be meaningful and enjoyable.  We're not going to tell you, for example, why to keep Shabbos (the Sabbath) but we are going to give you advice on how to experience an authentic Shabbos so you can have a basis upon which to make a decision.

An important point to remember is not to make excuses to avoid exploring your beautiful heritage.

The collective authorship of your guide is a group of people who have banked countless hours working with, and encouraging, people like you.  They have likely seen it all, and want you to know that there is nothing in your biography, no wound of personal history that could disqualify you from living an authentically Jewish life.

          Through your exploration you may find an imperative for change in your life - the choice will be yours.  No one is going to force you into anything - promise.  Another point to remember, is even if you change - the extent of any change is again your choice.

 

          So let's begin!

 

 

Last updated on: 12/14/2017
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