The Introduction to Judaism Program

by Rabbi Stephen C. Lerner

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On the pages that follow, you will find the syllabus for the Introduction to Judaism program of The Center for Conversion to Judaism. The order of sessions will vary to accommodate the Jewish calendar.

In 36 sessions over 12 months, we cover the material described and more. We ask that you purchase the Conservative prayer book, Siddur Sim Shalom and the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, published by the Jewish Publication Society. These are the basic books which every Jewish home should possess. You will be asked to read at least one book in each of the following areas: Jewish thought, Jewish history and Jewish practice. We do hope that you will read the starred volumes or suggested alternatives to them. Since Judaism is a religion which greatly respects learning, the sky's the limit in what you choose to read. We have listed certain important books to supplement your basic reading. Center teachers are always delighted to suggest books on matters of special interest to you.

BOOKS TO READ

I. JEWISH THOUGHT

* The Book of Jewish Belief – Louis Jacobs

* Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism

Alternatives:
Basic Judaism
- Milton Steinberg

Embracing Judaism - Simcha Kling

This is My God - Herman Wouk

For Enrichment:
A Jewish Theology - Louis Jacobs

Between God and Man - Abraham J. Heschel

Judaism as a Civilization - Mordecai M. Kaplan

II. JEWISH HISTORY

* Wanderings - Chaim Potok

Alternatives:
A History of the Jewish Experience - Leo Trepp

For Enrichment:
The Course of Modern Jewish History - Howard Sachar

Conservative Judaism: A Contemporary History - Herbert Rosenblum

III. JEWISH PRACTICE

*The Complete Book of Jewish Observance - Leo Trepp

Alternatives:
A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice - Isaac Klein

The Book of Jewish Practice - Louis Jacobs

Special Areas of Practice:
* The Jewish Dietary Laws - S. Dresner, S. Siegel and D. Pollack

*Service of the Heart - Evelyn Garfiel

*Passover Haggadah: The Feast of Freedom - Rabbinical Assembly

For Enrichment:
The Three Jewish Catalogues - edited by M & S Strassfeld

The Sabbath - Abraham J. Heschel

Days of Awe - S. Y. Agnon

The Jewish Holidays - Michael Strassfeld

IV. HEBREW

* Rosh: A Hebrew Primer - J. Levbarg & B. Grayzel

V. REFERENCE

Encyclopedia Judaica and its Yearbooks - This is when you win the lottery or want to buy a very special gift for yourself.

The Jewish Books of Why - A. Kolatch

Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts -P. Birnbaum

Jewish Literacy - J. Telushkin

Back To the Sources - B. Holtz

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