Harold Kushner has been a congregational rabbi for more than 30 years. In this fine volume, he zeroes in on the traditions and practices of Judaism. Kushner offers thoughtful reflections on "a 4000 year old tradition with ideas on what it means to be human and how to make the world a holy place." He writes cogently about the Bible as "a family album"; belief in God; prayer; why we love Israel; what we believe about people; Jews and Christians in today's world, and much more.

One of the best chapters is the sacred deed — making the ordinary extraordinary. Here he observes: "One of the fundamental teachings of Judaism is that the search for holiness, for the encounter with God, is not confined to the synagogue. Everything we do can be transformed into a Sinai experience, an encounter with the sacred. The goal of Judaism is not to teach us how to escape from the profane world to the cleansing presence of God, but to teach us how to bring God into the world, to take the ordinary and make it holy."

This paperback is a salutary primer on Judaism.