The JGuy’s Guide: The GPS for Jew­ish Teen Guys

Joseph B. Mes­zler, Shu­lamit Rein­harz, Liz Sune­by & Diane Heiman
  • Review
By – May 28, 2014

This coun­ter­part to Dr. Reinharz’s The JGirl’s Guide is a thought-pro­vok­ing, inter­ac­tive and infor­ma­tive guide to the the­o­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal ques­tions fac­ing Jew­ish youth today. Rab­bi Mes­zler et al. have cre­at­ed a venue in which Torah study is incor­po­rat­ed into the search for per­son­al iden­ti­ty and a rela­tion­ship with G‑d and the Jew­ish peo­ple. No top­ic is off-lim­its or too com­plex — from inter­per­son­al rela­tion­ships with friends to per­son­al stress and prin­ci­ples to sex. Each top­ic is broached with an intro­duc­to­ry Bib­li­cal quote, a per­son­al nar­ra­tive by Rab­bi Mes­zler, and quotes from cur­rent teens reflect­ing their views of the top­ic. Fol­low­ing the nar­ra­tives, the authors pro­vide Bib­li­cal, Rab­binic and his­tor­i­cal sources. Each thought-pro­vok­ing short text encour­ages fur­ther explo­ration on the part of the read­er. At the end of each chap­ter there is room for self-reflec­tion through thought ques­tions with place to write one’s thoughts and answers.

This book is an excel­lent addi­tion to a Hebrew school, day school or study group. The authors have cre­at­ed as close to an objec­tive analy­sis of the top­ics as pos­si­ble, yet leave open the pos­si­bil­i­ty that there is no G‑d say­ing, that some peo­ple believe you can be an athe­ist and still be Jew­ish. The author­ship of the Torah also comes into ques­tion when Shab­bat is men­tioned as hav­ing been devel­oped 2,000 years ago by a group of Jews. The def­i­n­i­tion of who is a Jew is left open as well. Each top­ic is pre­sent­ed from var­i­ous Jew­ish tra­di­tion­al and mod­ern views, and is meant to cause youth to pon­der prac­ti­cal and exis­ten­tial questions.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 13 – 21.

Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

Discussion Questions