Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History

by Joseph Telushkin

Hardcover, 1991



Call number




William Morrow (1991), Edition: 1, 784 pages


From the Publisher: What does it mean to be a Jew? How does one begin to answer so extensive a question? In this insightful and completely updated tome, esteemed rabbi and bestselling author Joseph Telushkin helps answer the question of what it means to be a Jew, in the largest sense. Widely recognized as one of the most respected and indispensable reference books on Jewish life, culture, tradition, and religion, Jewish Literacy covers every essential aspect of the Jewish people and Judaism. In 352 short and engaging chapters, Rabbi Telushkin discusses everything from the Jewish Bible and Talmud to Jewish notions of ethics to antisemitism and the Holocaust; from the history of Jews around the world to Zionism and the politics of a Jewish state; from the significance of religious traditions and holidays to how they are practiced in daily life. Whether you want to know more about Judaism in general or have specific questions you'd like answered, Jewish Literacy is sure to contain the information you need.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member pre20cenbooks
Obtained this book for my library as a basic introduction to Jewish religions and the differences in the Jewish groups. There is a basic thread that runs throughout the different Jewish sects. I look forward to obtaining an updated editiion for my library. The writer composes his information so
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that you realy get understanding of basic ideas behind the traditions and celebrations. Well done.
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LibraryThing member billlund
As a gentile, this book is most interesting to give insight into Jewish culture.
LibraryThing member melsmarsh
A very good one volume reference encyclopedia.
LibraryThing member hvg
All the questions you had about Judaism, but were afraid to ask...
You can look it all up in this book. Excellent source.
LibraryThing member SGTCat
Pretty good overview. It touches on almost anything one could think to ask about.
LibraryThing member JBGUSA
I just finished reading Jewish Literacy by Joseph Telushkin; all 750 pages. The book has been laying on my shelf, literally, since my son was confirmed at Temple, May 2012. It was given as a reward for the few kids that underwent confirmation after the Bar Mitzvah. I mentioned I was reading it
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tonight to one of my rabbis and suggested it as good literature to give people in the process of converting to Judaism. He said he looks for less intimidating-looking literature first, and he had a point. I will admit that I did intersperse reading it with other reading. The book looks scarily big but it is surprisingly readable and accessible for what amounts to an encyclopedia covering Jewish history, literature, practice, holidays and life-cycle.

Jewish Literacy contained a lot of material I didn't know, even though I am more involved than a typical Reform Jew. Bias alert; one of my tennis partners attended day school with him.
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Physical description

784 p.; 9.75 inches


0688085067 / 9780688085063

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