I received my review copy of Our Jewish Roots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment Today by Connecting with Her Past, by Cheryl Dickow some time back. It was a book that intrigued me with its premise: “Understand how the teachings, truths and traditions of the Catholic faith rest so fully in the rich heritage of our Jewish roots.”

The thought of Jesus as a Jew had never occurred to me until I became Catholic. In fact, consideration of the Jews as anything more than bit players in the Bible was just never part of my introduction to Christianity. I don’t know how much of that had to do with my own ignoring things and how much had to do with them just never being examined for my age group.

Our Jewish Roots, while written with a specifically feminine audience in mind, is also an examination of Jewishness that I appreciated. It’s down-to-earth and I found that it added to my meditation and appreciation for how Jesus was raised, what our salvation background truly is, and most of all, some glimpses into the richness of the Old Testament.

My favorite part of the book is how Dickow examines 13 different Old Testament women, plus Mary the Mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, in light of what they can teach us today. Many of these women — Rebekah, Rachel, Miriam, Ruth — are old friends of mine. I remember being read their stories as a child during our evening Bible story readings and in Sunday school. I’m very familiar with them, and yet I found myself being reintroduced to them on new terms, meeting them as women instead of as characters.

Consider picking this book up, perhaps for a small group study or a special study for Lent. Its small sections lend themselves well to short devotional time. You’ll find yourself diving into Scripture through the women who are part of our shared heritage.