If both Ike Turner and Isaac Bashevis Singer are Jewish, what does “being Jewish” even mean? The assimilated Jews of today are lost, and they need to relearn the old ways so their identity comes to mean something other than laughing knowingly at Curb Your Enthusiasm and being ambivalent about AIPAC. What they need is The Big Jewish Book for Jews, a hilarious compendium of instruction, handicrafts, and lore that will help them rediscover the traditional wisdom, skills, and recipes, going all the way back to Moses and the original Exodus from Egypt, when God was the only GPS you needed.
The Big Jewish Book for Jews brings together Jewish wit, inspiring tales, classic skills, and even pickle recipes, for the instruction and edification of the modern Jew. Listeners will learn how to sacrifice a lamb unto the Lord, the rules of Canasta, how to build a pyramid (both the Bernie Madoff and the Egyptian kind), and how not to accept the first table you are shown to in a restaurant. Through this funny and informative reference, listeners will build a connection to their ancestors and finally understand what it takes to be the Jew-est Jew of all.
This books reads as if it had been written by 3 people who do a poor job at blending the 3 texts. It reads as if one of them was funnyt, one liked making fun of Jews and the other really, really, really like typing.
The book has many funny moments, but many others are not. Someone once told me a great joke: "A Jew goes to an Orthodox Rabi and asks he put a Mezuzah in his Ferrari, the Rabi asks 'what's a Ferrari?' and when he finds out it is a car he refuses, so the guy goes to a reform Rabi and ask him to put the Mezuzah in the Ferrari and the Rabi says: 'what's a Mezuzah?'. In this book the joke includes 3 Rabi, very slow speech from the narrator, very, very long pauses, and they repeat many, many times the whoe thing. They kill the punch line. They really kill the joke. I only use this as an example, of course.
Even though the book is not meant as a Hebrew Language Course, they pronounce many of the Hebrew words wrong, which makes no sense if they are trying to suggest ways to "be more Jewish". They say MezUzah instead of MezuzAh, iOmkeeper istead of iom kippUr, and so forth. That, to me, made the whole book "funny".
At the beginning of the book the volume goes up and down. Then they play music between chapters at what sounds like twice the volume of the one used for speech, so make sure you are ready to turn the volume down on your MP3 or car stereo.
They book could be good, but they need a second edition, a new editor to leave out the stuff that adds nothing to the book and a new director for the audiobook, someone who will take into account the proper pronunciation of foreign words, speech tempo, pausation, and, of course, an engineer who'd monitor the volume lever properly.
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Had me laughing and entertained throughout. A bit of history thrown in to round it out. A great read. Recommended.
Funny and informative. I took a Bible, a Hebrew phrase book and this book to Israel. This book got listened to the most, but it's so un-PC in places that we had to listen to it quietly just in case we gave offence to other residents in the hotel. As a non-Jew I got an interesting insight into American-Jewish culture, rather than Jewish culture in general, however there were also some themes that transcended cultures. For example the chapter on 'too much food' will ring bells with anyone whose social upbringing has conditioned them to over-cater for their guests. Think 'instructions on how to throw a Big Fat Greek Wedding' - or in my case Portuguese family gathering. Nicely narrated by the authors too.
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