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At a time when Americans are turning to alternative forms of spiritual fulfillment, Rabbi Daniel Gordis finds what many are looking for in the context of a several-thousand-year-old religion. God Was Not in the Fire argues that Jewish life does merit serious attention. It is Judaism's insistence on asking life's most important questions (which helps us define precisely who and what we are) that enables it to play an enriching role in our lives. Because Judaism maintains that we feel God's presence through the experiences of daily life, the author takes us through the traditions of ritual, prayer, study, mitzvah, and ethics. Gordis illustrates that by developing a relationship with God through Judaism, one can achieve the heightened sense of self essential for finding connectedness, continuity, and, ultimately, transcendence and spirituality. It is not, Gordis argues, through blind faith that Jews come to understand the world and their place in it, but through "spiritual discipline" and a ceaseless round of investigations that a sense of belonging is attained. A why-to rather than a how-to, God Was Not in the Fire suggests that the religion of one's youth can deepen in adult life. It can give us, if we search to understand it, the most powerful way we know of expressing our humanity.

God was Not in the Fire

  • Daniel Gordis
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