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What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism

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What is the significance of bar and bat mitzvahs? Is Hanukkah really the "Jewish Christmas"? What can you expect if you are invited to a Passover seder? Is a rabbi simply a Jewish priest? Author Robert Schoen addresses these questions and many more in this inviting introduction to Judaism and Jewish life. This concise and entertaining overview explains the differences and What is the significance of bar and bat mitzvahs? Is Hanukkah really the "Jewish Christmas"? What can you expect if you are invited to a Passover seder? Is a rabbi simply a Jewish priest? Author Robert Schoen addresses these questions and many more in this inviting introduction to Judaism and Jewish life. This concise and entertaining overview explains the differences and highlights the similarities between Judaism and Christianity. What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism covers everything from Jewish ceremonies, holidays, and festivals to religious texts, symbols, and kosher food. It is perfect for the millions of Christians who are curious about the faith of their friends, coworkers, and family members, or for those Jews who want a better understanding of their heritage.


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What is the significance of bar and bat mitzvahs? Is Hanukkah really the "Jewish Christmas"? What can you expect if you are invited to a Passover seder? Is a rabbi simply a Jewish priest? Author Robert Schoen addresses these questions and many more in this inviting introduction to Judaism and Jewish life. This concise and entertaining overview explains the differences and What is the significance of bar and bat mitzvahs? Is Hanukkah really the "Jewish Christmas"? What can you expect if you are invited to a Passover seder? Is a rabbi simply a Jewish priest? Author Robert Schoen addresses these questions and many more in this inviting introduction to Judaism and Jewish life. This concise and entertaining overview explains the differences and highlights the similarities between Judaism and Christianity. What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism covers everything from Jewish ceremonies, holidays, and festivals to religious texts, symbols, and kosher food. It is perfect for the millions of Christians who are curious about the faith of their friends, coworkers, and family members, or for those Jews who want a better understanding of their heritage.

30 review for What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    This is definitely a beginner level book. I wanted to say (a) I am not an idiot, and (b) Did the author mainly research Catholicism for the book throughout? There are Christian religions that are completely different, you know, Mr. Schoen.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sheridan

    A basic overview and easy read that covered many topics. However, it left me asking more questions than it actually answered. The author is more concerned with building bridges than educating. That's not a bad thing, I just wanted the info.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Read this for my Comparative World Religions class and actually enjoyed it. Yep, you read that right. A school book was good. It was a really helpful but not too in-depth overview of Judaism. I liked the "just the basics" approach the author used because I didn't feel overwhelmed with information. The author also had a really relaxed conversational tone that I liked. I did notice that a lot of the Christian/Judaism comparisons were actually geared towards Catholics instead of all denominations. Read this for my Comparative World Religions class and actually enjoyed it. Yep, you read that right. A school book was good. It was a really helpful but not too in-depth overview of Judaism. I liked the "just the basics" approach the author used because I didn't feel overwhelmed with information. The author also had a really relaxed conversational tone that I liked. I did notice that a lot of the Christian/Judaism comparisons were actually geared towards Catholics instead of all denominations. The inclusion of more denominations would've been helpful in gaining a better understanding, but I was okay with the Catholic-centric-ness because it was about what the author knew from his own experiences in Christianity. Verdict: 3 stars. Informative book that is interesting enough to keep you awake while reading.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joey Reed

    Judaism is not the enemy. In fact, they are co-journers with us in the pursuit of God. All Christians should be more familiar with the culture and practices of our Jewish brothers and sisters. What is the significance of bar and bat mitzvahs? Is Hanukkah really the "Jewish Christmas"? What can you expect if you are invited to a Passover seder? Is a rabbi simply a Jewish priest? Author Robert Schoen addresses these questions and many more in this inviting introduction to Judaism and Jewish life. T Judaism is not the enemy. In fact, they are co-journers with us in the pursuit of God. All Christians should be more familiar with the culture and practices of our Jewish brothers and sisters. What is the significance of bar and bat mitzvahs? Is Hanukkah really the "Jewish Christmas"? What can you expect if you are invited to a Passover seder? Is a rabbi simply a Jewish priest? Author Robert Schoen addresses these questions and many more in this inviting introduction to Judaism and Jewish life. This concise and entertaining overview explains the differences and highlights the similarities between Judaism and Christianity. This book covers everything from Jewish ceremonies, holidays, and festivals to religious texts, symbols, and kosher food.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jesy

    This was required reading for a class I took on Judaism. For someone with no background in Christianity or Judaism, some of the comparisons to Christianity and references to (what I'm guessing were) well-known Biblical stories were a little over my head. Overall, this book provided a great introduction to Judaism. It was written in a very conversational style, with many anecdotes and personal insights thrown in, which made it easy and enjoyable to read. I also liked the way it was organized-- sho This was required reading for a class I took on Judaism. For someone with no background in Christianity or Judaism, some of the comparisons to Christianity and references to (what I'm guessing were) well-known Biblical stories were a little over my head. Overall, this book provided a great introduction to Judaism. It was written in a very conversational style, with many anecdotes and personal insights thrown in, which made it easy and enjoyable to read. I also liked the way it was organized-- short chapters, each dedicated to a specific concept, idea, practice or ritual. From Moses to the Holocaust, Gefilte Fish to circumcision, this book provides a very broad-level overview of what it means to be Jewish.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Robert Schoen brings his witty insight to the public in demystifying American Judaism to the average man in the street. Mr. Schoen's insights into the human condition, American culture, and American Christianity's lack of understanding of Judaism is refreshing. He tackles topics in a refreshingly upbeat manner and, no surprise isn't as familiar with Christianity as Christians think they are with Judaism! One's understanding of others is often tempered by who and how many of the "others" we perso Robert Schoen brings his witty insight to the public in demystifying American Judaism to the average man in the street. Mr. Schoen's insights into the human condition, American culture, and American Christianity's lack of understanding of Judaism is refreshing. He tackles topics in a refreshingly upbeat manner and, no surprise isn't as familiar with Christianity as Christians think they are with Judaism! One's understanding of others is often tempered by who and how many of the "others" we personally know. I highly recommend this book for its personal style and insight into a much maligned segment of American society.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    My non-Jewish mother-in-law asked me for a good book on Judaism (since I'm Jewish), so after some recommendations from friends, I checked this one out to see if it was the right one to give her to start. I highly recommend it. It is straightforward, and easy to read, and also quite comprehensive. It really would be a great book for folks who want to learn more about Judaism. It is specifically focused towards Christians, with explanations of the similarities and differences of Jewish and Christi My non-Jewish mother-in-law asked me for a good book on Judaism (since I'm Jewish), so after some recommendations from friends, I checked this one out to see if it was the right one to give her to start. I highly recommend it. It is straightforward, and easy to read, and also quite comprehensive. It really would be a great book for folks who want to learn more about Judaism. It is specifically focused towards Christians, with explanations of the similarities and differences of Jewish and Christian religious services, and more. I think it will be the perfect book to give my Catholic mother-in-law for her to learn more about my Judaism.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Incredibly shallow, and for intro books of its type, there are a lot of better ones out there. Poor portrayal of every single stream of Judaism. The author himself doesn't seem to know much. This is the most superficial book on the topic I think I've seen - just a list of holidays and so on, minimal explanation of meaning, no explanation of culture. Boring writing. Better options include "To Life" by Harold Kushner, any of Anita Diamant's books, or even Telushkin or Doyin. I'd expect even someth Incredibly shallow, and for intro books of its type, there are a lot of better ones out there. Poor portrayal of every single stream of Judaism. The author himself doesn't seem to know much. This is the most superficial book on the topic I think I've seen - just a list of holidays and so on, minimal explanation of meaning, no explanation of culture. Boring writing. Better options include "To Life" by Harold Kushner, any of Anita Diamant's books, or even Telushkin or Doyin. I'd expect even something like the For Dummies series would be better.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Candace Lazzaro

    This was a very eye-opening book for me. While I feel I know a lot about Jewish culture because of being a student and follower of the Bible, it answered some questions I had in a simple, non-condescending way. Mr. Schoen knows his subject well and he obviously loves his non-Jewish / Christian friends as well. He's written a straight-forward but enjoyable book. I will be putting this in the Village Library for any Village people who are interested or I'm sure, you can get this at Amazon or other This was a very eye-opening book for me. While I feel I know a lot about Jewish culture because of being a student and follower of the Bible, it answered some questions I had in a simple, non-condescending way. Mr. Schoen knows his subject well and he obviously loves his non-Jewish / Christian friends as well. He's written a straight-forward but enjoyable book. I will be putting this in the Village Library for any Village people who are interested or I'm sure, you can get this at Amazon or other book selling places. I got it at the Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Sebesta

    If you knew nothing about Judaism this would be the introduction for you. In simple terms it explains why one thing is part of Judaism and another is not; why Jews behave in one way and eschew another. If you've been invited to a Bar Mitzvah or a Jewish wedding, you will have enough information to understand the ritual and ceremony. Yet that very simplicity is its drawback, too. It fails (being beyond the scope of the book) to involve the reader in the beauty and grandeur and history that is the If you knew nothing about Judaism this would be the introduction for you. In simple terms it explains why one thing is part of Judaism and another is not; why Jews behave in one way and eschew another. If you've been invited to a Bar Mitzvah or a Jewish wedding, you will have enough information to understand the ritual and ceremony. Yet that very simplicity is its drawback, too. It fails (being beyond the scope of the book) to involve the reader in the beauty and grandeur and history that is the Jewish heritage.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Starting off pretty good...very informative. The only thing I would note is that when he mentions "Christians" he seems to be speaking mainly of very traditional denominations. He talks about different forms of Judaism, from Orthodox to Reformists. It would have been interesting (when he compared/contrasted the different worship styles) had he mentioned different Christian denominations as he did with Judaism to see how they compared.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diane Danielson

    I read this book because my daughter recommended it to me and lent me a copy. Thank you Leah! I knew a little about Judaism from friends and reading the Bible but I learned so much more. The author has a sense of humor and keeps things down to earth and easy to understand. I highly recommend this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amicizia

    A clear, popular-style introduction to the teachings, customs, and culture of the Jewish people and their faith. One cannot fully understand Jesus Christ and Christianity without understanding the Jewish roots of our faith, and I recommend this to anyone who would like to begin learning more about our Jewish brothers and sisters.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Great reference book for beginners in Judaism both Jews and non-Jews alike. Schoen gave a very fair understanding of the basics of Judaism. Obviously, a book like this can't go into much depth as there is a lot of ground to cover. Also, I know you aren't supposed to judge a book this way, but I love the cover art.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Héctor Contreras

    Libro interesante para conocer sobre la religión judía y como se lleva en la actualidad, sólo una observación, al hablar sobre la religión cristiana se enfoca sólo en una de ella, lo cual puede ser un poco tedioso si no se está familiarizado con dicha religión, fuera de ahí es muy interesante en cuanto a la religión judía y su forma y tradiciones de adoración

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara ♥

    I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about the Judaism. It's so interesting to see how their beliefs compare with mine, especially since Christianity stems from Judaism. I'm actually going to read a section of the book for my seminary lesson tomorrow! :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    A good primer - though often not very detailed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    I'd describe it as "Judaism for Dummies" - this is a light read; can be finished in one sitting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Read: Sept. 2014. Very beginner. I didn't really like the way the author wrote.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Interesting book to help me to better understand many of the customs of my friends. Easy to read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephenie

    Great book to loan to friends/family who don't know much about Judaism. It helped calm many fears in my family.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elphaba

    Didn't finish. A bit too lightweight for my taste.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    A quick and easy read. This book gave some basic information about Judaism, and even contained a few little tidbits that were new to my Jewish boyfriend...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather Hale

    Fascinating read for those who, like me, know nothing about Judaism. Excellent primer and an easy read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    J

    Very good for people with absolutely no prior exposure to Judaism but I was hoping for something more in-depth and theological in nature.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Very informative text, this is better than the Idiot's Guide and Judaism for Dummies book!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I went to college in a relatively small city in the Midwest - so not many Jews. I often found this helpful when answering my friends' and roommates' questions when I didn't even know where to start!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    This is an excellent starting point for both people interested in converting to Judaism and for the non-Jewish spouses and family members. America is a Christian country and therefore our culture is Christian. This book does a good job of assuming that the reader has a Christian cultural knowledge and helps to bridge that to a Jewish mindset.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shari Scott

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caryn

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