About the Book

While admitting that “describing what it’s like to be Jewish is like describing snow,” author Robert Schoen provides a smart and practical understanding of Judaism for a Christian audience. In What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism, he presents readers with thoughtful insight into Judaism. Writing from the perspective of an “average Jewish American,” Schoen points out the differences and highlights the similarities between Judaism and Christianity.

Loyola Press, May 2004
ISBN 0-8294-1777-X

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface

Introduction

  • The Purpose of This Book
  • A Range of Jewish Lifestyles, Beliefs and Behavior

Christians and Jews

  • Going to Church: The Jewish Roots of Christian Worship
  • Jews, Jesus and Christianity

The Jewish Religion

  • From Orthodox…
  • To Reform…
  • To Conservative…
  • To Reconstructionist
  • Contemporary Synagogues and Congregations
  • A Personal Observation

Inside the Synagogue

  • The Torah and the Law
  • Prayers and Blessings
  • Symbols: The Mezuzah and the Star of David
  • The Role of the Rabbi
  • The Role of the Cantor
  • Jewish Education
  • Confirmation
  • Congregation Membership and Paying the Bills
  • The Temple
  • Jewish Priests
  • Time for Confession
  • Who’s in Charge?

Holidays and Festivals

  • Holidays and The Jewish Calendar
  • Shabbat—The Sabbath
  • The High Holidays—Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
  • Sukkot
  • Simchat Torah
  • Hanukkah (Is It Really the “Jewish Christmas?”)
  • Purim
  • Passover
  • Shavuot (The Harvest Festival)
  • Other Religious Events

Jewish Life Cycle Events

  • A Jewish Wedding
  • Let’s Go to a Circumcision!
  • Baby Namings and Rituals for Daughters
  • Adoption
  • An Invitation to a Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
  • A Jewish Funeral: Saying Good-bye to Uncle Harry
  • You Can Only Get a Divorce if You’re Married

Jewish Beliefs, Home Life, and Many Differences

  • Is a Kosher Hot Dog Really Kosher?
  • Jewish Food
  • Degrees of Orthodoxy
  • Conversion to Judaism
  • Intermarriage
  • Religious Apparel and Dress
  • Hasidim and Hasidism
  • Creation, Heaven, Hell and Life After Death
  • Where, When, and How Many
  • Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews
  • Women and Judaism

Judaism in the World

  • Israel
  • Jewish Art and Music
  • Mysticism and the Repair of the World
  • Money —Stereotypes, Charity and the Scriptures
  • Perform a Mitzvah
  • Controversial Social Issues
  • Old Wars and New Wars
  • The Chosen People
  • Anti-Semitism
  • The Holocaust
  • A Call for Understanding and Community
  • Glossary and Pronunciation Guide
  • Recommended Reading
  • Index
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