New Review – Six Days of Cosmology

Daniel Langer

The intent of this well-written, original, and important book is to show that there need not be any real conflict between Torah and science. While acknowledging that the Torah does not come to teach us science, it assumes that science can help us understand the Torah long before the Big Bang theory.

The book seeks to reconcile and harmonize science and Torah in order to reveal in part the secrets of creation (ma’aseh bereshit). Langer considers questions of dating the universe alongside fossil evidence and Einsteinian theories of time together with the literal reading of the six days of Creation.

The author also draws on the mystical traditions of Ramban, Midrash Rabbah, Rabbi Yisrael Lifshitz; he includes Umberto Cassuto’s encryptions of numerical coding and patterns, and he makes reference to the Zohar to show how the universe inflated from an initial nekudah ketanah (tiny point); how it became tohu(energy) and bohu (elemental particles of matter) with each transforming back and forth into the other. The fluids that would become the Earth (waters below) separated from the rest of the solar nebula (waters above).

In the process, Langer reveals the sublime, unimaginable, beautiful diversity that arose out of unity thanks to genetic mutation and natural selection. Recommended highly for academic, synagogue, and all libraries.

New Review – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

Midwest Book Review ● Judaic Studies Shelf

Was Yosef on the Spectrum? Understanding Joseph examines the Book of Genesis story of Yosef (also known as Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, and who rose to become the vizier and second most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh). Author Samuel J. Levine (Professor of Law and Director of the Jewish Law Institute at Touro Law Center) clarifies that he is not a psychologist and cannot formally diagnose Yosef, so the idea that Yosef could have been on the autism spectrum is evaluated as a possibility with some supporting evidence, but not as a known quantity.

Was Yosef on the Spectrum? is seminal, expertly researched, thoughtfully presented, and highly recommended especially for public and college library Judaic Studies and Biblical Studies Shelves.

New Review – Jews in Medicine

Ben Rothke Jewish Link of New Jersey

The Contributions of Jews in Medicine

There’s an old joke where a Jewish grandmother is watching her two grandchildren. Someone asks her how old the children are. She replies with nachas that the doctor is 4 and the lawyer is 2. The joke underscores how important and pervasive the medical profession is within modern Jewish culture.

In “Jews in Medicine: Contributions to Health and Healing Through the Ages,” Ronald Eisenberg, MD, a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and radiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has written a fascinating work that details the substantial contributions of Jews in the medical field from Talmudic times to the current era.

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