Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Burnt Books

My review of Burnt Books, a dual biography of Kafka and the Breslover rebbe by the Jubu hipster Rodger Kamenetz, is out in the February Commentary. While the book is “practically worthless,” as I conclude, it is an interesting example of what passes for religiously engaged writing by someone who is satisfied neither with the Jewish tradition nor with Jewish scholarship.

To be a fully committed Jew, a person might devote himself to the Jewish religion or he might devote himself to Jewish learning; he might even do both. A great many Americans with one or two Jewish parents dabble in this or that fraction of the whole and call it Judaism. Kamenetz is their master.


David Gruber said...

What is a "Jubu"?

D. G. Myers said...

Jewish-born Buddhist.

David Gruber said...

Ah! Lots of those on the coasts (where I live)... Thanks.

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

I've also heard "Juddhist."

ravst456 said...

DG, how about an elaboration on your comment that to be a committed Jews, a person can either go the route of traditional observance or the route of Jewish learning. More particularly, I'd be interested in what Jewish learning constitutes- that is, Jewish learning as distinguished from the Jewish learning that is part and parcel of being religiously Jewish.
I'm not, by the way, suggesting there is no difference. Indeed, as someone who finds himself unable to be religiously observant and yet who craves a Jewish identity of substance, I'm eager to discover another path.
By the way, any blog that honors Dawn Powell and Rabbi Nachman is a treasure. You're truly catholic.