by Aaron J Hahn Tapper
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 14th,2016
by University of California Press
Engrossing! Enlightening! Enriching! This book delivers thorough research on what it means to be Jewish. This book delivers highlighted interpersonal experiences of the Jewish author. This book delivers by addressing tough topics within Jewish communities. Judaisms: A Twenty-First- Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities by Aaron J. Hahn Tapper does not sway toward a single Jewish identity, but rather highlights the whole universal collective. I felt as high as a kite reading this one. Right at a point of my life when I was hyper-curious about the Jewish identity, this book quenched the thirst of my intellect. Being entrusted with a copy of this book for an honest review was so unreal. I could reread this a million times and still not be filled.
This jewel could easily be included among the texts given to students in Jewish 101, encompassing twelve chapters exploring topics fully capable of being stand-alone texts. The topics are diverse ranging from anti-semitism propaganda to cultural genocide, Jewish religious movements, zions and includes, but is not limited to postbiblical Messiahs.
Each chapter begins with a narrative leading into the topic, which gives a unique glimpse of Jewish living abroad and stateside. In that sense it makes this non-fiction feel more entertaining allowing you to self-reflect as well. It fully validates the excerpt, “Although this book focuses on Jewish identities, its ultimate aim is to give readers a deeper understanding of identity formation at large, regardless of whether or not one identifies as Jewish.”
My favorite topic was the feature on Ashkenazi-ness and being white in the United States. Reading about Persian Jews, Jews among Muslims, Jews among Christians, and Jews in Asia all makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin. I have an Argentinean Jewish friend and for years we felt like unicorns. But skin color and ethnicity were never the only variations of our identity. There’s also culture, religion, and language. And yet there is no single understanding. This book explores the various variations from dominant to exotic closing loose ends of diversity to one merging of acceptance.