If you ever wanted a handy-dandy guide to the Jewish Year, this is it! By this, of course, I mean "The Jewish Holiday Handbook" By Doron Kornluth. Its straightforward and accurate. Best of all, it fits in your hand!
Judging the Book by its Cover - a first glance review:
The cover, as you see, is quite pleasant to the eye. It has snapshots of the four seasons which occur throughout the year. Simple, but elegant. Truth be told, the Jewish Holidays have enough going for them, especially in this book, that they don't need an elaborate cover presentation.
Some Details I Liked:
I very much liked the layout of the chapters. Each chapter discusses a holiday over a maximum of 20 pages. At the end of the chapter, is a section with "Fast Facts", followed by another section with "Questions for Discussion". There are also a few "I Didn't Know That" blurbs thrown in throughout the book.
Overall, the layout of each topic and sub-topic is done in an easy to read manner.
Who This Book is For:
This book was clearly written with a lot of thought and wisdom. I say that because it translates the Hebrew terms, allowing a beginner to Judaism to grasp the basics, but at the same time, it has many deep insights, which allow even a seasoned Jew (no pun intended) to appreciate the times of the year.
Who This Book Isn’t For:
I guess really anyone that doesn't care about holidays, prefers to think that Chanukah is just about latkes or that Passover is just about Matzah, should not pick up this book. :)
What I Didn’t Like/Would Have Made it Better:
I was disappointed by the Table of Contents. You see, the book completely skips over the following three minor Jewish Holidays - Tu b'Shvat, Tu b'Av and Lag b'Omer. While I understand that prayers are not different on those days, but they are marked days on the Jewish calendar. Perhaps there can be an expanded edition...
Whether you want to brush up just before a holiday or you are going to experience it for the first time, this is one book you'll want to have within an arm's reach.