I write this as a Christian. I am normally skeptical about platitudes. "It’s always better to talk." No, sometimes it isn’t. "He is a criminal because nobody hugged him when he was little." Well, some people are just bad. So when I say that a little knowledge about Jews – who they are, what they really believe (that’s a hard one!) and what most of them want (a quiet, productive life, just like you and me) – can defeat some all too prevalent prejudices, I really believe what I am saying. While people normally talk a lot of nonsense, especially on the Internet, the baloney factor seems to triple every time anything Jewish comes up. Ok, I’m willing to concede that most of that is because of ignorance of a complex subject. Having been interested in things Biblical (including Old Testamentic) for most of my life, I found that I knew more about ancient Israelites than about Jewish folks living in my city. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s comprehensive book Jewish Literacy – The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, its People and Its History (Hardcover) took care of that. It sells for around $23.00 new. The long subtitle tells you everything you need to know about the scope of the book. But the nice thing about this book is that it’s a really easy read. In fact, I read it from cover to cover, even though its layout suggests more of a reference work. There is no subject from which Telushkin shrinks away. From sexual purity laws to the Holocaust – it’s all there. My copy is on my bookshelf, it’s heavily annotated by moi, and it’s heartily recommended for anyone with a brain. And that means you, my dear blogstomer.