American Rabbis, Second Edition

Facts and Fiction

By David J. Zucker

Foreword by Dana Evan Kaplan, Stanley F. Chyet

American Rabbis, Second Edition

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  • ISBN: 9781532653247
  • Pages: 314
  • Publication Date: 6/21/2019
  • Retail Price: $37.00
Web Price: $29.60
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM
Web Price: $29.60

American Rabbis, Second Edition

Facts and Fiction

By David J. Zucker

Foreword by Dana Evan Kaplan, Stanley F. Chyet

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781532653247
  • Pages: 314
  • Publication Date: 6/21/2019
  • Retail Price: $37.00
Web Price: $29.60
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

About-

This book is a broad-brush approach describing the realities of life in the American rabbinate. Factual portrayals are supplemented by examples drawn from fiction—primarily novels and short stories. Chapters include:

♣Rabbinic Training

♣Congregational Rabbis and Their Communities

♣Congregants’ Views of Their Rabbis

♣Women Rabbis [also including examples from TV and Cinema]

♣Assimilation, Intermarriage, Patrilineality, and Human Sexuality

♣God, Israel, and Tradition

This book draws upon sociological data, including the recent Pew Research Center survey on Jewish life in America, and presents a contemporary view of rabbis and their communities. The realities of the American rabbinate are then compared/contrasted with the ways fiction writers present their understanding of rabbinic life. The book explores illustrations from two hundred novels, short stories, and TV/cinema; representing well over 135 authors. From the first real-life women rabbis in the early 1970s to today’s statistics of close to 1,600 women rabbis worldwide, major changes have taken place. Women rabbis are transforming the face of Judaism. For example, this newly revised second edition of American Rabbis: Facts and Fiction reflects a fivefold increase in terms of examples of fictional women rabbis, from when the book was first published in 1998. There is new and expanded material on some of the challenges in the twenty-first century, women rabbis, human sexuality/LGBTQ matters, trans/post/non-denominational seminaries, and community-based rabbis.

Endorsements & Reviews-

“Few professions are as demanding as the rabbinate, and David Zucker presents a wonderful overview of our expectations and our fantasies of the clergy who serve the Jewish community in America. His study is fascinating and tremendously insightful, outlining the joys of the profession as well as the challenges and difficulties, especially facing women rabbis. This is an impressive study and a gripping read!”

—Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College



“Weaving together extensive research on the facts of the contemporary rabbi with deep dives into how those rabbis are imagined in works of fiction, screenplays, novels, and films, David Zucker presents us a fascinating insight into the people who are inspiring their communities, offering vision and direction, sometimes frustrating and infuriating their flocks, but always remaining at the very heart of the culture, faith, and people who constitute Judaism today. This book is great, as are the rabbis it portrays and explains!”

—Bradley Shavit Artson, Roslyn and Abner Goldstine Dean’s Chair, Professor of Philosophy, American Jewish University



“The revised edition of American Rabbis: Facts and Fiction is welcome news indeed to all who are interested in the American rabbinate! In its pages, David Zucker has provided a multilayered historical, sociological, and theological approach to the topic. The many fictional examples that he provides offers a unique perspective to this work. I know of no other book that takes this kind of an approach to the subject. Particularly noteworthy is the attention he pays to contemporary developments on the American scene that have had a decisive impact on the nature of American rabbis. This is a comprehensive portrait that commands the attention of both academic and lay readers. I recommend it highly!”

—David Ellenson, Chancellor Emeritus, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion



“If fiction serves as a mirror to how society sees itself, then this collection is a fabulous looking glass of rabbis in this day and age. Though few of us flesh and blood rabbis model ourselves off of the characters David Zucker catalogues in this comprehensive and delightful book, I, as a person who cares about and works with rabbis, love knowing what the world at large thinks of us.” 

—Elyse Wechterman, Executive Director, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association



“David Zucker's felicitous pen and penetrating perceptiveness gift the reader with a deeper understanding of the nature of the American rabbinate and the individuals who fill its ranks. In successfully weaving fact and fiction he unveils a deeper truth.”

—Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President, Rabbinical Council of America



“David J. Zucker's second edition of American Rabbis: Facts and Fiction offers brilliant and illuminating updates to his groundbreaking 1998 first edition. His work demonstrates remarkable sensitivity and awareness about the issues of our time and the ways in which women rabbis in particular are serving and strengthening the Jewish community. He explores the joys of the rabbinate without shying away from the trials of it. Zucker's work presents a courageous inquiry and comprehensive examination of history, fictional literature, and real-life experiences. American Rabbis: Facts and Fiction, Second Edition is a wide-ranging exploration of where reality and fantasy meet in the contemporary rabbinic figure.”

—Rochelle Robins, Vice President and Dean of the Chaplaincy School, Academy of Jewish Religion, California

Contributors-

David J. Zucker
Dana Evan Kaplan
Stanley F. Chyet

Bio(s)-

David J. Zucker writes from an insider’s viewpoint. Now retired, his rabbinic career included leading congregations in Great Britain and America, university teaching, and many years as a chaplain in long-term care. The author of several books, he is widely published on many topics, including rabbis in fiction. See www.davidjzucker.org.

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