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August 31, 2015 | 16th Elul 5775

August 1998/5758

Dear Friends:

I am writing to you with considerable pleasure and excitement about the next stage of our "significant Jewish books" initiative which we began last winter. Many congregational boards, study groups, and individuals from all over North America have expanded their Jewish knowledge by reading one or more of the four previously recommended books (The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man by Abraham Joshua Heschel, Finding God: Ten Jewish Responses by Rifat Sonsino and Daniel B. Syme, As a Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg, and Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment by J. J. Goldberg). I am gratified by the initial response and, thereby, delighted to announce that we will be expanding this initiative on a regular basis to introduce additional books and study guides to the entire Movement through Reform Judaism magazine and the UAHC website.

Beginning with the Winter 1998 issue of Reform Judaism magazine (received in homes in mid-November) each edition will feature two books. To generate as much interest as possible, the "Significant Jewish Books" will include an excerpt from the work, a short summary of its essential messages, and, when possible, an interview with the author. Discussion questions and ideas on forming book groups will also be presented on the UAHC website, and will be made available in print for congregations upon request. In addition, we will post special discussion materials for synagogue boards on the Internet.

In order to insure that this project generates maximum impact, we plan to provide you and all Reform Jewish professionals with advance notice regarding the forthcoming four book choices. Thus I am pleased to announce that the next two books will be Back to the Sources by Barry Holtz (Simon & Schuster, 1986) and A Book That Was Lost and Other Stories by S. Y. Agnon (Schocken Books, 1995). The Spring 1999 issue will feature Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997) and The Periodic Table by Primo Levi (Schocken Books, 1984).

We hope you will begin to acquire and review these books now, in preparation for use in your adult education programming. I welcome your ideas about how we can enhance this initiative to encourage adult literacy through the reading and discussion of significant Jewish books.

With warm regards and best wishes for a sweet and fulfilling New Year, I am Sincerely,

Eric H. Yoffie


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