The Sh’ma, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One,” is the sunlight that sparkles on the rippling waters that flow through Jewish time. It means different things in different eras, different things to different people, and takes on different meanings within a single lifetime. In his book, Rabbi Meszler shows us how the Sh’ma was experienced and expressed by a handful of extraordinary Jewish thinkers, philosophers and rabbis from biblical to modern times. Some, like Moses Maimonides and Akiba ben Joseph, are widely familiar. Others, like Saadia Gaon, a Jewish scholar of Babylonia of the 9th and 10th centuries, and Rabbi Leo Baeck, a leader of German Jewry during the 20th century, less so. The discussions, which occasionally lean toward the academic, contain wonderful insights on the “oneness” of both God and the Jewish people. By providing just the right sprinkling of historical context and a discussion guide, Meszler makes this slim volume an ideal Jewish book club choice. The author is an educator and a rabbi at Temple Sinai in Sharon, Massachusetts. Footnotes, bibliography.
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.