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JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions


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The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions provides thousands of insights into the origins, history, and current interpretations of a wealth of Jewish traditions and customs. Ronald Eisenberg has distilled an immense amount of material from classic and contemporary sources into a single volume. Chock full of interesting, invaluable and illuminating entries on everything from Hanukkah to Rabbinic Literature to the Tree of Life, the JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions will be a much-referenced resource for all those interested in all things Jewish.

The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions uncovers a treasure-trove of information on Judaism and related areas of interest, including:

  • The dividing of the Bible into chapters and verses was a Christian innovation
  • Although a recital of the Ten Commandments was once part of the daily service at the Temple in Jerusalem, Jews elsewhere were forbidden to recite them
  • The Kaddish, which now closes every Jewish service, as well as sections within the service, was originally not even part of the synagogue ritual

… and much more!

Separated into four sections – Synagogue and Prayers, Sabbaths and Festivals, Life-Cycle Events, and Miscellaneous (a large section that includes such diverse topics as Jewish literature, food, and plants and animals) – this volume is an encyclopedic reference for anyone who wants easily accessible, accurate information about all things Jewish.

Eisenberg writes for a wide, diversified audience, and is respectful of the range of practices and beliefs within today's American Jewish community—from Orthodox to liberal. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions is certain to be a meaningful addition to institutional and personal libraries.

Resource Experts

Praise for the Print Edition

… a superb, easy-to-follow reference for personal and professional use.

Wisconsin Bookwatch

The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions is the jewel in the crown, to date, in the esteemed publishing company's desk reference series. It's the perfect gift for the curious Jew, scholar or layperson.

Jewish Exponent

An accessible, essential reference work … The author has done a masterful job in distilling the major beliefs and practices of a 3,000-year-old religion into lively and informative prose.

ALA Booklist

… enjoyable to browse as well as to consult on specific topics and can sit usefully on the shelves of both home and institutional libraries.

Jewish Book World

I dare consumers of Jewish books to find a more complete and encyclopedic one volume work on Jewish tradition. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions offers a startling range of wisdom, history, and nuance behind every Jewish custom. It is a comprehensive roadmap through the Jewish life and soul. It will be as useful to the knowledgeable Jew as to those who are just beginning their Jewish journeys.

—Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, author of Putting God on the Guest List

… a handy and readable reference.

Publishers Weekly

There is much to enjoy in Jewish Traditions and readers engaged in serious study, or a game of Jewish trivia, will want to keep the book close by … [a] very impressive piece of work.

The Reporter

Product Details

  • Title: The JPS Guide to Jewish Tradition
  • Author: Ronald L. Eisenberg
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 752

Ronald Eisenberg, a radiologist and non-practicing lawyer living in the San Francisco Bay area, is the author of 20 books in the medical and legal fields as well as The Jewish World in Stamps.

The Jewish Publication Society of America was founded in Philadelphia in 1888 to provide the children of Jewish immigrants to America with books about their heritage in the language of the New World. As the oldest publisher of Jewish titles in the English language, the mission of JPS is to enhance Jewish culture by promoting the dissemination of religious and secular works of exceptional quality, in the United States and abroad, to all individuals and institutions interested in past and contemporary Jewish life.

Over the years JPS has issued a body of works for all tastes and needs. Its many titles include biographies, histories, art books, holiday anthologies, books for young readers, religious and philosophical studies, and translations of scholarly and popular classics. It is perhaps known best for its famous JPS Tanakh, the translation of the Hebrew Bible in English from the original Hebrew. You can find more information about JPS by visiting their website.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


12 ratings

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  1. Bill & Gail OBrallahan
  2. Maryellen J Lewis
  3. Victor Robidas
  4. Pedro Navarro Betancourt
  5. Mark A. Daniel
  6. Dave Crosby

    Dave Crosby


    Very informative!

  7. Ronald Rusk

    Ronald Rusk


    fine with me

  8. Seong Jin Kim

    Seong Jin Kim


  9. Peter



  10. Casey Walker

    Casey Walker


    just what I was looking for


Digital list price: $32.99
Save $6.00 (18%)