Thanks largely to celebrities like Madonna and Demi Moore, interest in Kabbalah— the ancient Jewish mystical tradition — has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Some might even call it a fad. The current trendiness of Kabbalah belies its profoundly serious, ethereal and complex nature, however. That’s why books like this one are so useful to those who are exploring Kabbalah for the first time. The Beliefnet Guide to Kabbalah provides an objective overview of Kabbalah’s roots, history, major players, key ideas, meditative and magical practices, and symbolism. It discusses Kabbalists’ beliefs in such things as the nature of God and the soul, angels and demons, the afterlife, and the role of human beings in the world. Questions and answers in shaded boxes keep the volume user-friendly, as do sidebars featuring key facts and anecdotes. There is also a mini anthology of mystical texts, including the Zohar. Biblio., gloss.
Robin K. Levinson is an award-winning journalist and author of a dozen books, including the Gali Girls series of Jewish historical fiction for children. She currently works as an assessment specialist for a global educational testing organization. She lives in Hamilton, NJ.