The Gods Are Broken! The Hidden Legacy of Abraham

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  • Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin (author)
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About the Book

The story of Abraham smashing his father’s idols might be the most important Jewish story ever told and the key to how Jews define themselves. In a work at once deeply erudite and wonderfully accessible, Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin conducts readers through the life and legacy of this powerful story and explains how it has shaped Jewish consciousness.

Offering a radical view of Jewish existence, The Gods Are Broken! views the story of the young Abraham as the “primal trauma” of Jewish history, one critical to the development of a certain Jewish comfort with rebelliousness and one that, happening in every generation, has helped Jews develop a unique identity. Salkin shows how the story continues to reverberate through the ages, even in its connection to the phenomenon of anti-Semitism.

Salkin’s work—combining biblical texts, archaeology, rabbinic insights, Hasidic texts (some never before translated), philosophy, history, poetry, contemporary Jewish thought, sociology, and popular culture—is nothing less than a journey through two thousand years of Jewish life and intellectual endeavor.

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin serves as the senior rabbi of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Florida. He is the author of Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah, winner of the 1993 Benjamin Franklin Award for the best religion book published in the United States, and The Gods Are Broken: The Hidden Legacy of Abraham (JPS, 2013) and The JPS B’nai Mitzvah Commentary (JPS, 2017)

Author photo by Steve Remich, Religion News Service

Book Reviews


  • View video of author Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin at the JPS/Skirball Author Series at the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu El in New York City.

Study Guides


Read an Excerpt.

Download Digital Media Kit.

Read this opinion article for a taste Salkin’s controversial thoughts on idolatry, When Judaism Becomes Kmart.

Read JPS interview with the author about his book

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