A compendium of book reviews on common texts in Judaism.
By Mark D. Harris
A group of Orthodox Jews walked by while I was waiting for my children to get off a roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm in 2013. The men wore beards and yarmulkes, and the women wore modest skirts and head coverings. Dozens of children flitted around, excited and energetic despite the heat of the day. One man sat wearily down just a few feet away on the short rock wall where I was perched. After waiting several minutes, we began talking. A few minutes later we were discussing the Old Testament (Tanakh). It was a good opportunity to learn about him, and to put in a good word for Yeshua.
A friend from work was a psychologist raised Jewish but no longer observant. His wife, both daughters, and his son were Catholic Christians. We spoke dozens of times for many hours, and I told him honestly that I prayed for his salvation. He had not yet followed Christ when I last saw him, but he remains in my prayers, and in the prayers of his family.
The Jewish people have always been small in number relative to the overall population of the world, but they have had an outsized impact. Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, and Lenin are three famous Jews in the past 200 years, but there have been many more. There are an estimated 14 million Jews in the world today, the vast majority in Israel and in the United States.
Christians and Jews have had a checkered history. They have lived together in harmony, have lived with acrimony, and have butchered each other. Since Constantine, Followers of Christ have generally been more numerous and had more power, and have oppressed and murdered multitudes of children of Abraham. Muslims and Jews today fight and die over Palestine, and secularists from Josef Stalin to Adolf Hitler have massacred untold numbers.
By helping readers of the MD Harris Institute to learn more about Judaism, I hope to improve relations and collaboration between Christians and Jews. The articles below are informal reviews on some well-known works on Judaism.