Jewish culture does not easily fit into common Western categories, such as nationality, religion, race, ethnicity, or language. Professor Daniel Boyarin says, "Jewishness disrupts the very categories of identity, because it is not national, not genealogical, not religious, but all of these, in dialectical tension." Jewishness is all of these and then some: an entire civilization, with everything that word implies.
Cultural Detective Jewish Culture aims to increase understanding and awareness of Jewish culture among Jews and non-Jews alike. It will help build cultural bridges in any organization where Jews and non-Jews come together, or any group that wishes to become more aware of Jewish cultural issues, including businesses, schools, universities, religious groups, non-profits, and community organizations.
Cultural Detective Jewish Culture contains the following stories and critical incidents:
- Class Schedule:
A university schedules a required class on Saturdays.
- Condo Bans Mezuzahs:
A tenant receives a letter from the condo board telling her to remove a religious symbol.
- Graduation Day:
An adult student's graduation celebration is scheduled for Rosh Hashana.
- Protesting a Protest:
Activists disagree about symbolism at an anti-war protest.
- Security System:
Religious Jews, non-religious Jews, and non-Jews disagree about an apartment-house security system.
- When in Rome...:
Two tourists take different routes at a Roman landmark.
- Professional Dilemma, A:
A professional organization excludes certain prospective members.
School administrators downplay a high school vandalism incident.
Extra! Cultural Detective Jewish Culture includes an explanation of the Jewish calendar and holidays, a listing of major groups within Judaism, and an extensive bibliography of Jewish music.