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Robinson, George 1953-

Robinson, George 1953-

PERSONAL:

Born 1953.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY.

CAREER:

Writer and film critic. New York Jewish Week, film critic.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Simon Rockower Award for excellence in Jewish journalism, American Jewish Press Association.

WRITINGS:

Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Essential Torah: A Complete Guide to the Five Books of Moses, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to the revised edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica; contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Newsday.

SIDELIGHTS:

A film critic and freelance writer, George Robinson is also the author of two books on Judaism: Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals, and Essential Torah: A Complete Guide to the Five Books of Moses. "Essential Judaism is written for a community that is seeking its way back home, ensconced in modernity and reaching for tradition, accepting of differences, integrating head, hand, and heart in renewed Jewish affirmation," wrote Shofar contributor Leonard Levin, who also called the book "a remarkably comprehensive and accessible layman's guide." In his book, Robinson, who recommitted himself to Judaism, provides a guide to the this religious faith for those, who, like the author, wish to renew their Jewish identity. The book provides practical information on almost all aspects of Judaism, from the synagogue and rituals to customs and philosophy. He also includes biographies of noted Jewish philosophers and summaries of books in the Hebrew Bible. In addition, he includes an historical look at the development of Hasidism and Zionism. "Almost 3,000 years of Jewish history, thought, and culture are brought to life," wrote George Cohen in Booklist. Referring to the book as "extremely readable," Paul M. Kaplan also wrote in the Library Journal that Essential Judaism "is a welcome addition to the subject."

Essential Torah also examines the Jewish faith, but this time solely through the tale of Moses. Explaining how the five books of Moses are not only the basis for Juda- ism but also Christianity and Islam, the author goes on to summarize the fifty-four Torah sections in the Old Testament. The author also provides a guide on how to study the Torah and a list of important reference books. In addition, Essential Torah includes a timeline, glossaries, and a bibliography. Once again the author received favorable reviews from critics, who noted that as a layperson he provides lay readers with an easily understandable text. "This book is a stellar achievement … [by] a gifted and diligent author," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Diane Cole, writing in the New York Times, noted the author's "thorough analysis of the different viewpoints (as well as the unifying concepts) presented by every branch of Judaism." Some reviewers noted the book's value for those who no longer practice or minimally practice Judaism. For example, writing in the Jewish News Weekly, Howard Selznick commented that the book "is useful as a Torah textbook, especially for clueless three-day-a-year Jews who want to get on the path to greater spirituality."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2000, George Cohen, review of Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals, p. 837.

Jewish News Weekly, February 2, 2007, Howard Selznik, "For Torah Beginners, This Book Is Essential."

Library Journal, January, 2000, Paul M. Kaplan, review of Essential Judaism, p. 122; November 15, 2006, David B. Levy, review of Essential Torah: A Complete Guide to the Five Books of Moses, p. 76.

New York Times, March 5, 2000, Diane Cole, review of Essential Judaism.

Publishers Weekly, March 27, 2000, review of Essential Judaism, p. 78; August 28, 2006, review of Essential Torah, p. 48.

Shofar, winter, 2003, Leonard Levin, review of Essential Judaism, p. 140.

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