Gates of Mitzvah: A Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle

by Simeon J. Maslin

Book, 1979



Call number

650 MAS


New York : Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1998, c1979., 166 pages


This comprehensive guide to Jewish observance throughout the life cycle is the best introduction to Reform Jewish practice available.

User reviews

LibraryThing member medievalmama
This is a companion book to The Rhythm of Jewish Time, which I reviewed earlier. I thought I had picked up the revised 1986 revision, but I got the 1979 original, so I will have to go back and see what has been revised. With that said .. .
I'm glad I read the other book first. This covers the same
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material plus some additional information as the first third of Rhythm but in a very legalistic manner. It is divided again into three sections -- Birth, Childhood, and Education; Marriage and the Jewish Home; Death and Mourning, each of which is then subdivided into specific mitzvah (commandments) as in:
A1 - be fruitful and multiply, A2 - Birth control, A3 - Abortion, A4 - Adoption, A5 - prayer after childbirth, A6 - gift in honor of new child. Section I covers A (birth) through F, with B = entering the covenant, C = naming rituals and customs, D = adopted children, especially those too old to go through the B and C sections, E = educating from home to Bar/Bat Mitzvah to confirmation, and F = adult education and conversion. The other sections are equally subdivided and arranged in order by the commandments they fulfill.
These 64 pages are followed by 34 pages of notes which cover the sources of the commandments, attached customs, and different ways different branches of Judaism actually practice them. This is followed by 47 pages of essays by a variety of rabbis (unfortunately, since this is a reform document) all male -- I would hope that in the revised version that some female voices are heard as well. The last 15 pages are a glossary, a classic text list, and an index.
While this was written in a very readable style, it fulfills a different purpose than Rhythm. The separation between laws, notes, commentaries, and glossary makes it a more technical read so that one can use it as a reference easily to look up point A6 or E11, rather than the more smoothly flowing narrative style of the other.
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0916694534 / 9780916694531

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