Cel­e­brat­ing the Jew­ish Year: The Spring and Sum­mer Holidays

Paul Stein­berg; Janet Green­stein Pot­ter, ed.
  • Review
By – November 10, 2011
How much is there to say about the Jew­ish hol­i­days? So much that it’s impos­si­ble to get it all into one vol­ume, or even two. So Paul Stein­berg and his edi­tor, Janet Green­stein Pot­ter, chose to put just four hol­i­days — Passover, The Omer, Shavuot, and Tisha b’Av — into this large, inclu­sive, lov­ing­ly writ­ten book, the last of a three-vol­ume series. Each hol­i­day is treat­ed as both a sin­gu­lar event and part of a chain that links the days and months of the Jew­ish year to each and every Jew who rec­og­nizes the beau­ty and trans­for­ma­tive ener­gy in it. A host of con­tribut­ing writ­ers, all well-cre­den­tialed but with dif­fer­ent styles, val­ues, and view­points, bring a rich­ness of opin­ion and depth of thought to the total pre­sen­ta­tion of each hol­i­day.

The orga­ni­za­tion of the book is sim­ple and ele­gant. Each hol­i­day is explained ful­ly; descrip­tions of tra­di­tion­al cus­toms and obser­vances are offered, along with dif­fer­ing per­spec­tives on the sig­nif­i­cance of the hol­i­day, ways to inter­pret the appro­pri­ate texts, and alter­na­tive med­i­ta­tions. The book is also rich­ly designed, with attrac­tive side­bars and var­ied type, reflect­ing the con­tents’ bal­ance of warmth, cre­ativ­i­ty, and schol­ar­ly infor­ma­tion. End­notes, glos­sary, index.

Lin­da F. Burghardt is a New York-based jour­nal­ist and author who has con­tributed com­men­tary, break­ing news, and fea­tures to major news­pa­pers across the U.S., in addi­tion to hav­ing three non-fic­tion books pub­lished. She writes fre­quent­ly on Jew­ish top­ics and is now serv­ing as Schol­ar-in-Res­i­dence at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al & Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau County.

Discussion Questions