This is a book which understands and faces the impact of modernity on the Jewish community today.
Being Jewish Today gives an account of both the journey of a particular British Jew and the journey of millions of women and men through today's perplexing and difficult world. With honesty and integrity Rabbi Tony Bayfield breaks new ground in exploring the meaning of Jewish identity and its relationship to Jewish tradition and belief. He does so from the perspective of a person fully integrated into the modern Western world. The rigorous questions he asks of his Jewishness, Judaism and the Jewish God are therefore substantially the same as those asked by individuals of all faiths and none.
Beginning with an account of the journey of Jewish people and thought from ancient times to the present day, Bayfield goes on to consider Jewish identity, Israel as land and the scourge of anti-Semitism. He then turns to the twin concerns of Torah: Halakhah – practice, and Aggadah – ethics, along with the matter of belief in a world faced with global extinction. Finally, in addressing the manifest injustice of life, Rabbi Bayfield confronts the widely evaded questions of universal suffering and divine inaction.
Drawing on key religious and secular thinkers who contribute to the force of his argument, Bayfield's masterful, challenging and urgent book will appeal to all Jews, whether religious or cultural, and to anyone curious about the nature of Judaism and religion today.
“A wonderful new book … The theme of Rabbi Bayfield's book is how to understand Judaism now that science and modern sensibility has changed the way we look at the world. And this addresses problems I struggle with all the time … Rabbi Bayfield deals with all this with great sensitivity.” —Daniel Finkelstein, Jewish Chronicle
“Tony Bayfield, a theologian and former head of the Movement for Reform Judaism, reflects on the universal dimensions of Judaism and those parts concerned with Jewish identity” —Financial Times
“British Jews rarely produce theology that demands to be read. Tony Bayfield has … In attempting to answer the perplexities and uncertainties of contemporary life, Being Jewish Today is part of the Jewish quest for meaning, for Torah. Rabbi Bayfield has done a great service by bringing it to light.” —Harry Freedman, Jewish Chronicle