Sex, Drugs, and Vio­lence in the Jew­ish Tra­di­tion: Moral Perspectives

Daniel B. Kohn
  • Review
By – August 13, 2012
Con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can soci­ety must deal with the issues of vio­lence, drug abuse, and sex­u­al behav­ior. One only has to pick up a news­pa­per or turn on the tele­vi­sion to con­front them. Approach­ing these issues can be prob­lem­at­ic, and become even more so if reli­gion enters the pic­ture. Daniel Kohn, a Con­ser­v­a­tive rab­bi and Jew­ish edu­ca­tor, has com­piled rel­e­vant Jew­ish texts from the Bible, the Tal­mud, and the rab­binic com­men­taries that address them. He begins with gos­sip and pro­ceeds to anger, self­de­fense, war and peace. He also exam­ines sub­stance abuse and sex­u­al­i­ty. In all cas­es, he notes that Jew­ish tra­di­tion is not mono­lith­ic and that the texts are always open to inter­pre­ta­tion. His dis­cus­sions of drugs and sex­u­al­i­ty are lim­it­ed to wine and het­ero­sex­u­al rela­tion­ships respec­tive­ly. This is an excel­lent resource for begin­ning dis­cus­sions on these impor­tant top­ics for both teens and adults. The book will be use­ful for par­ents, teach­ers, and young adults, and belongs in school and syn­a­gogue libraries. Gloss. 
Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

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