Author discusses origins of Judaism
By Frank Vaisvilas Correspondent November 7, 2013 7:46PM
The cover of the book, "The Legacy of Moses and Akhenaten," by Sheldon Lebold | Supplied photo
Updated: December 9, 2013 10:24AM
JOLIET — While conducting a simple Internet search, Sheldon Lebold found that entries about the interpretation of Jewish subjects were mostly from Christian, Muslim or even neo-Nazi sources.
“I was appalled because the Jewish (sourced) entries were mere recitations of what the books (Torah and Talmud) said but no analysis,” said Lebold, 75, who is Jewish.
The Frankfort resident, who owns a business and real estate law firm in Orland Hills, got the idea to put together a book that tells Jewish history from a Jewish perspective.
He will give a presentation about his book, “The Legacy of Moses and Akhenaten,” and sign copies from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at the Joliet Jewish Congregation, 250 N. Midland Ave. The 164-page book was published in March by Northfield-based Berwick Court.
Lebold said the book explains the origins of Judaism from an academic point of view and firmly identifies figures, such as Moses and his grandfather Joseph, as real people. He said Joseph was second-in-command in Egypt as a kind of prime minister and was the grandfather of Pharoah Akhenaten, who may have also been Moses.
Lebold contends that the ancient mummy of Yuya actually is that of Joseph, partly because of the corpse’s Semitic features. Lebold also cites the Torah as referencing a piece of jewelry connected with Joseph that was found in Yuya’s tomb.
He writes that Akhenaten, or Moses, was deposed as pharoah for trying to institute monotheism, or the belief in one God, in Egypt. Lebold indicates that Moses was actually a title that ancient Jews used to ID the exiled royal.
Lebold also provides non-miraculous explanations for the parting of the sea during the Exodus. He said he based his book on Hebrew texts, as well as archaeological evidence and scientific research.
Lebold is interested in the origin of Judaism because he is one called by both sides of his family to perform the Seder at Passover, which is a retelling of Jewish origins.
“I would study, research and try to add something new every year,” he said.
He originally wrote the book for his grandchildren, one of whom recently celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, so they could have a deeper understanding of their history and who they are.
But as a mostly academic work, Lebold said non-Jews will find interest in the book.
“I’ve had a fantastic response from Catholics and (members of the) Greek Orthodox (faith),” Lebold said. “... I’ve been astounded by the interest in the book by the non-Jewish population.”