This lovely, perceptive book should be required reading for anyone who is rediscovering Judaism in adulthood. Cardin first explores all of the Jewish holidays, profiling the celebrations of major ones like Passover and Yom Kippur alongside lesser-known days such as Tu B'Shvat (the new year of the trees) and Shavuot (which commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai). She begins this section with Shabbat, which is "a magical, holy place that opens its doors to us once a week, inviting us to enter." Shabbat, she notes, interrupts profane, workday time with sacred time, and she provides careful explanations of the many traditions that have arisen to mark that separation.
The second half of the book examines life-cycle rituals such as bar mitzvah, marriage and mourning traditions, and concludes with a section on prayers and rituals for the home. Prayers for after meals, rising from bed, lighting Shabbat candles, and affixing a mezuzah all underscore Cardin's basic point: Jewish rituals permeate both everyday life and holy events, sacralizing each hour of the day.