I love blogging. You have no idea how much it means to me to have readers to keep me busy and thus to have a reason to write about a thousand different topics (all related to Messianic Jewish theology and practice).

I have no plans to stop blogging.

On the contrary, I am sort of rededicating myself to blogging.

I’ve been through some ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (David Bowie tune in background). Being a rabbi isn’t enough any more to keep food on the Leman table. I’ve taken on two other part-time writing jobs within the Messianic movement to thrive and stay alive. I will announce the projects I am working on at some point, when the time is right.

Finding new work has been a drain on my time for a while now and something of a preoccupation. I have been spinning so many plates to fight for the ability to keep spinning plates (as opposed to washing them at the local Chili’s or Houston’s restaurants).

My blogging has suffered a little from my preoccupation. I admit it.

But I am rededicating myself. I am going to be even busier than before with these new jobs (which I think you will find interesting when I share them with you). Yet, I know more than ever that Messianic Jewish blogging serves a valuable purpose for Christians, Jews, and all those willing to ponder themes touching on God and religion.

One change I am planning to implement post-haste is to start reviewing books regularly on this site. I have reviewed or at least summarized parts of many great books over the two years of this blog’s existence. But I am talking about giving you book reviews that are more an overview and evaluation of the entire book (not 10-part series getting into every detail).

There are so many worthy books out there and I read as many as I can. I want to read even more, a steady stream of books.

I’d like to start by giving you a list of books I’m planning to review in the weeks/months ahead. In an upcoming post I will include a wish list of books I’d like to review and don’t own yet. I also would love some comments with suggestions of books you’d like to see reviewed.

The books I would like to review include Jewish and Christian titles, some heavy reading and some lighter.

As for the wish list, I think I may set up a donation button or ask if anyone would like to buy books off the list for me and ask me to review them. Crazy? I’m not so sure. I think one or two of you just might find that small investment something you’d be willing to undertake. It’s a mitzvah to support scholarship, right?

1. Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight, a Christian book designed to help us think differently about the Bible and escape some less-than-helpful patterns. Pretty light reading, but stimulating.

2. Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice by Mark Washofsky. I’m interested in understanding more how the more liberal side of Judaism handles issues of Torah. I’ve read some good stuff in the past, especially Niles Goldstein and Peter Knobel’s Duties of the Soul.

3. My People’s Passover Haggadah edited by Lawrence Hoffman and David Arnow. This is more than an order of service for Passover. It is a well-researched commentary on the Haggadah with history, significance, and insight. This qualifies as heavier reading, but useful for Passover lovers.


. . . coming soon . . . my wish list (I’m closing my eyes and making a wish and even hoping some of you will spring for a book on your amazon account).


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Messianic Jewish, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. judahgabriel says:

    Hey Derek.

    I know how it is. I’ve been very busy as well, trying to find time to blog even. That’s why I haven’t commented on this blog in some time. (Do know that I read most every post from you, whether or not I comment on them.)

    Here’s a book suggestion that’s bound to stir up some comments and interest. John Hagee’s In Defense of Israel. As you might know, there’s quite a bit of controversy surrounding that book. I read it and blogged about it some time ago, but I would like to hear your views on it.

    Hope you and your [massive] family have a great thanksgiving. All those kids…you must have to buy a really big turkey! :-)


  2. Two Books for your list:

    1. Lilith’s Cave : Jewish Tales of the Supernatural

    Retold by Howard Schwartz

    Some great spooky tales!

    2. The Rabbi of 84th Street-The Extraordinary Life of Haskel Besser by Warren Kozak.

    Inspiring story of the Rabbi, who escaped Poland, watched the birth of Israel, then moved to the US, and continues to affirm faith, kindness, and spirit.

  3. Connie says:

    I just realized how much I’ve taken your blog and books for granted. I read the blog almost every day, I’m reading “The World To Come” now, and I don’t think I’ve ever thanked you or told you how much you mean to me and my family. I truly believe that you are blessed with a gift for exposing the heart of scripture in clear, insightful. You are a light in this world. May God continue to bless you, your family and your work.

  4. Connie says:

    P.S. The shoemaker’s family has no shoes and the editor (that’s me) always submits work unedited. Make that clear, insightful ways.

  5. Judah:

    Hope being busy means you have lots of employment and you are doing well.

    Hagee’s In Defense of Israel is an interesting choice. Here we have a mega-mega-pastor speaking about Israel and Christendom and boundaries and continuity. It may be a popular level work, but the issues addressed are exactly the ones we care about.

    Anybody want to send me a copy? :-)


  6. Toma4Moshiach:

    As always, you have some off-the-beaten-path, intriguing book choices. It makes me wonder how you find these books. I enjoyed UP, UP, AND OY VEY, which Messianic Jewish Musings readers might want to know is a book about the connection between comic books and the Jewish community. In case you didn’t know, Stan Lee as well as the inventors of Superman, Batman, and many more, are Jewish and their experience as Jews is reflected in the comic books.

    The one about the Polish rabbi would be wonderful. The Lilith one might be too arcane for this blog.


  7. Connie:

    Thanks for the kind words.


  8. robyndevorah says:

    I was hoping that someone would buy me all the books on *my* wish list (and also the time to read them)! :)

  9. robyndevorah says:

    P.S. I’m very glad you are going to continue blogging! I read your blog all the time.

  10. mchuey says:

    I am in the process of reading through your book The World to Come, as I will be writing two articles next Spring, one on the afterlife and resurrection for Believers, and another on eternal punishment. I have also been reading N.T. Wright’s new book Surprised by Hope, and Death and the Afterlife by Robert Morey (in addition to searching through various Bible dictionaries and technical commentaries for perspectives).

    In your book The World to Come you suggest that the belief known as annihilationism has some good points. I am not saying I agree, but I would recommend that you consider reading Four Views on Hell by Zondervan, which presents the traditional, metaphorical, annihilationist, and purgatorial views of eternal punishment.


  11. Derek:

    My tastes are just eclectic.

    I found the Lilith book when I began researching The Golem. I knew about the silent Golem movie as it had influenced the original Frankenstein movie. I read about it in a book called “Fantastic Movies” when I was about 9 or 10 years old.

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