For Times Such as These: A Radical’s Guide to the Jewish Year

Wayne State Univ. Mar. 2024. 392p. ISBN 9780814350515. $29.99. SOC SCI
Rabbis Katz (founding rabbi, Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebl) and activist/organizer Rosenberg, both graduates of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, partnered to explore Judaism from a leftist, feminist perspective. They advocate for a religious practice rooted not only in Jewish traditions but also in movements that support social justice, feminism, and queer liberation. The book includes a section called “Frameworks,” which makes a case for reconstructionism without Zionism, which the authors believe is a colonial project and an apartheid state that displaces and oppresses Palestinians. They assert that it contributes to militarism and anti-Arab racism. The book explains Jewish holidays and observances, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover, but it also covers the practices and purposes around rituals such as Cheshvan, which the authors describe as the monthlong equivalent of Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest and celebration. The final part of the book is dedicated to a discussion of Torah and how its readings both relate to and enrich the Jewish calendar.
VERDICT A highly recommended, educational, and welcome contribution to the literature about Jewish traditions. The authors’ extraordinary guide to combining those rituals with everyday activism practices is what sets this resource far apart from others.
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