The Truth About Judaism
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Acclaimed writer and thinker Douglas Rushkoff, author of Ecstasy Club and Coercion, has written perhaps the most important — and bound to be controversial — book on Judaism in a generation. As the religion stands on the brink of becoming irrelevant to the very people who look to it for answers, NOTHING SACRED takes aim at its problems and offers startling and clearheaded solutions based on Judaism’s core-source-values and teachings.
Disaffected with their synagogues’ emphasis on self-preservation and obsession with inter-marriage, most Jews looking for an intelligent inquiry into the nature of spirituality have turned elsewhere, or nowhere. Meanwhile, faced with the chaos of modern life, “returnees” run back to Judaism with a blind and desperate faith, and are quickly absorbed by “outreach” organizations, who — in return for money — offer compelling evidence that God exists, that the Jews are, indeed, the Lord’s “chosen people,” and that those who adhere to this righteous path will never have to ask themselves another difficult question again.
The texts and practices making up Judaism were designed to avert just such a scenario. The tradition stresses transparency, open-ended inquiry, assimilation of the foreign, and a commitment to conscious living. Judaism invites inquiry and change. It is an “open source” tradition — one born out of revolution, committed to evolution, and willing to undergo renaissance at a moment’s notice. But, ironically, some the very institutions created to protect a religion and its people are now suffocating them.
If the Jewish tradition is one of participation in the greater culture, a willingness to wrestle with sacred beliefs, and a refusal to submit blindly to icons that just don’t make sense to us, then the Jews labeled as “lapsed” might truly be our most promising members. Why won’t they engage with the synagogue, and how could they be made to feel more welcome?
Nothing Sacred is a bold and brilliant book, attempting to do nothing less than tear down our often false preconceptions about Judaism, and build in its place a religion made relevant for the future.
“I read Nothing Sacred reluctantly, from a stance of deep skepticism, and learned to my delight and enlightenment, that this is truly a Jewish approach. Rushkoff uses millennia of Jewish teachings to reveal that God is indeed to be questioned not obeyed, created not worshipped, continually revised, reconsidered, and debated – not graven in stone. I truly believe this book might end up as one of the most important works of Jewish literature, worthy of comparison with Maimonides and Buber. Many will be outraged and even furious at Rushkoff for daring to revise the Jewish tradition of self-questioning. I thank him for helping me feel like a Jew again.”
“This is one of the most important books I have read about contemporary faith, and particularly about Judaism. It is uncompromising and honest and brilliant and true. It will be a painful revelation to many, but also, for all of us, a burst of badly needed intellectual and spiritual oxygen and light.”
US: Three Rivers Press