Typically Jewish

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
  • Chapel Hill, NC: 
    University of Nebraska Press
    , March
     2019.
     352 pages.
     $22.95.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9780827613027.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

Is laughter essential to Jewish identity? Do Jews possess special radar for recognizing members of the tribe? Since Jews live longer and make love more often, why don’t more people join the tribe? “More deli than deity” writer Nancy Kalikow Maxwell poses many such questions in eight chapters—“Worrying,” “Kvelling,” “Dying,” “Noshing,” “Laughing,” “Detecting,” “Dwelling,” and “Joining”—exploring what it means to be “typically Jewish.” While unearthing answers from rabbis, researchers, and her assembled Jury on Jewishness (Jewish friends she roped into conversation), she—and we—make a variety of discoveries. For example:

  • Jews worry about continuity, even though Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz prohibited even that: “All worrying is forbidden, except to worry that one is worried.”
  • Kvell-worthy fact: About 75 percent of American Jews give to charity versus 63 percent of Americans as a whole.
  • Since reciting Kaddish brought secular Jews to synagogue, the rabbis, aware of their captive audience, moved the prayer to the end of the service.
  • Who’s Jewish? About a quarter of Nobel Prize winners, an estimated 80 percent of comedians at one point, and the winner of Nazi Germany’s Most Perfect Aryan Child Contest.

Readers will enjoy learning about how Jews feel, think, act, love, and live. They’ll also schmooze as they use the book’s “Typically Jewish, Atypically Fun” discussion guide.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Nancy Kalikow Maxwell is a librarian, an award-winning writer, and a frequent contributor to Jewish media. She is the author of six books and the creator of funny cards for Hallmark’s Tree of Life Jewish card line. 

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments