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What? Rabbis can write? Check it out.



[book] Traces Of God
Connecting the Dots in Torah
Seeing God in Torah, History and Everyday Life
by Rabbi Neil Gillman, PhD (JTS)
February 28, 2006, Jewish Lights.
A probing and powerful look at the dynamics of the religious experience and the role we play in shaping our relationship with God. The Torah is replete with references to hearing God but very few references to seeing God. What we look for and see are traces of God's presence in the world and in history, but not God. Seeing is complicated. For those traces to become identified as reflections of God's presence requires a good deal of interpretation. It's a matter of connecting the dots. In this special book, Rabbi Neil Gillman guides us into a new way of seeing the complex patterns in Bible, history and our everyday experiences and helps us to interpret what those patterns mean to us. A theologian who writes as a great teacher, Gillman probes for clues that will help answer the deepest questions of our spiritual search: How can I know if God really exists? How do I know when God is present? How much control do I have over my own destiny? Why do I suffer and what part do I play in redemption-both human and divine? By encouraging us to address these questions, Gillman helps us develop and refine our own spiritual vision and our ability to discern the presence of God in unanticipated ways. Click to read more.









[book cover click here] Be Still and Get Going
A Jewish Meditation Practice for Real Life
by Rabbi Alan Lew
Little Brown - Summer 2005
From Publishers Weekly: Once again Rabbi Lew (One God Clapping; This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared) beautifully marries the ancient traditions, history and lore of the Torah and Talmud with the serene meditative practices of Zen Buddhism. His singular distinction of founding and leading a meditation center, Makor Or (in San Francisco), the first of its kind connected to a Conservative synagogue, gives him a unique perspective. He says that Jews have had the written treasures, rich discussions and the sacred Sabbath right in front of them for 3,000 years, but have often overlooked them. Using selected Torah passages, Talmudic musings and contemporary stories of friends and congregants, Lew illustrates the intrinsic spiritual path within Judaism and suggests ways to incorporate that path into an everyday spiritual practice. Like any good teacher unafraid to address big, broad issues-suffering, fear, conflict-and agile enough to make sense of the more elusive ones-listening for and finding God, connecting to and appreciating sacred emptiness-Lew follows each lesson with a summation of "practice points." Seekers need not be Jewish to engage the ancient wisdom of these meditations that offer a rich, multileveled path to everyday spirituality. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] [book cover click here]











NEW IN PAPERBACK
[book] A Book of Life
Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice
By Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
February 10, 2006, Jewish Lights.
A book that charts a clear path to a more spiritually rich practice of Judaism-from the coauthor of the best-selling Jewish Catalogs. For all the cycles of life, best-selling author Rabbi Michael Strassfeld presents traditional Jewish teachings as a guide to behavior and values. Where the tradition is replete with rituals (for example, the Sabbath), he describes them and shows how they can enrich spiritual living. Where rituals are sparse or nonexistent (for example, returning home at the end of the workday), he suggests new ones gleaned from his own study and experience. Strassfeld also brings the principles of "insight meditation" to Jewish life, using this practice to recover and reconstruct Judaism's spiritual dimension. He describes a Judaism that encourages within us a spiritual awareness as we participate in both traditional Jewish practices and the mundane activities of daily life. By engaging with Jewish tradition in ways that recapture its original kavanah, or intention, we will, Strassfeld maintains, achieve the two fundamental goals of Judaism-to become better human beings and to be in God's presence. (Hardcover published in 2002 by Schocken Books). Click to read more.









[book] Enneagram and Kabbalah, 2nd Edition
Reading Your Soul
By Rabbi Howard A. Addison
February 2006, Jewish Lights.
Patterns in our lives may escape us; reasons for our behavior often confuse us. To help us better understand the interplay of these dynamics, Rabbi Howard A. Addison combines two of the most powerful maps of consciousness known to humanity: the Tree of Life (the sefirot) from the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah, and the nine-pointed Enneagram that was developed over several generations by mystics of several spiritual traditions. Individually, each offers guidance and wisdom; together, they show the forces that propel us and shape our personalities and behavior. Most important, the two suggest how we can live more harmoniously with ourselves and with others, minimize friction and tension and discover our own spiritual gateway to God. In this updated and expanded edition of his pioneering book, Rabbi Addison explores new understandings of the stages and pitfalls we experience along life's journey and the ways we can transcend the limits of our personalities in search of greater wholeness. He shows that, when brought together, the Enneagram and Kabbalah may enhance understanding of humanity's deepest motivations-both individually and collectively-thus opening wider the gate to personal growth. Click to read more.









[book] The Flame of the Heart
Prayers of a Chasidic Mystic
By Reb Noson of Breslov (1780-1844)
Translated and adapted by David Sears, with the Breslov Research Institute
February 2006, Jewish Lights.
Let the compelling words of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) guide and inspire you to pray. This deeply personal book of prayers opens the profound teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov to all who seek enrichment in their own prayer practice. Captured in words by Reb Noson, Rebbe Nachman's closest disciple, this unique collection of Chasidic wisdom offers inspiring examples of how you can use spontaneous prayer as a powerful tool in your own spiritual life. Topics include: Finding God in Everything • Awakening the Soul • Living with Mindfulness • Midnight Meditation • Simplicity • Grasping the Infinite • Beginning Anew • Love of Humanity • Praying for the World • Hospitality • Spiritual Ups and Downs • Turning Darkness to Light • Unity in Diversity. Click to read more.









[book] Rethinking Synagogues
A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life
By Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD
Spring 2006, Jewish Lights.
A critical and challenging look at reinventing the synagogue and what that means for the survival of religious Judaism. Synagogues are under attack, and for good reasons. But they remain the religious backbone of Jewish continuity, especially in America, the sole western industrial or post-industrial nation where religion and spirituality are rapidly growing in importance. To fulfill their mandate for the American future, synagogues need to replace old and tired conversation with a new way of talking about themselves. Based on ten years of research with Synagogue 2000 (now Synagogue 3000), a pioneering experiment in synagogue transformation that dealt with some one hundred synagogues across all denominations, Rabbi Hoffman provides a fresh way for synagogues to think as they undertake the exciting task of transformation for success in the twenty-first century. Central to the challenge is his theological (not ethnic) rationale for the synagogue; his call for transformative, not just additive, change; and his exploration of what it would take for the synagogue to become a k'hilah k'doshah, a "sacred community," the moral and spiritual center that is needed for the twenty-first century. Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, is cofounder of Synagogue 2000 and professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College. He has written or edited over twenty-four books, including The Way Into Jewish Prayer, the multi-volume My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries series, and The Art of Public Prayer: Not for Clergy Only . Click to read more.







[book] The Genesis of Leadership
What the Bible Teaches Us about Vision, Values and Leading Change
By Rabbi Nathan Laufer (Yeshiva University, Fordham Law)
May 2006, Jewish Lights.
A revealing look at the first five books of the Bible as the origin of leadership and how their ancient examples can help define leadership today. Most people do not think of the first five books of the Bible as books about leadership. After all, they mostly contain stories about individuals and their families. There are few political stories and even fewer chapters involving large masses of people-the kind of circumstances that we usually associate with leadership. Yet personal relationships parallel the relationships that leaders face in the larger world. The relationship dynamics in the first five books of the Bible point to the core issues of initiative, responsibility and fairness that are the foundations of successful or failed group leadership. In this inspiring guidebook, Rabbi Nathan Laufer exposes the first books of the Bible as the genesis of leadership, containing and confronting the issues of trust, relationship, vision and persuasiveness with which modern-day leaders must contend. Along with instances of exemplary leadership, Laufer also points out examples of failure to lead, leading with no direction, and leading in the wrong direction that pervade the first five books of the Bible and how these ancient examples can shape our lives as leaders today and in the future . Click to read more.









[book] Off the Derech
How to Respond to the Challenge
by Faranak Margolese
Fall 2005, DevorahPublishing.com
"Off the Derech," translated as "Off the Path," is the term used within the Orthodox Jewish community to describe those who have left Jewish observance. This groundbreaking new book by Faranak Margolese examines why Orthodox Jews stop practicing Judaism, confronting one of the most pressing issues in the religious Jewish world today. Based on a study which involved over 500 Jews who left Orthodox Judaism, Off the Derech presents the first comprehensive examination of the causes of defection from Orthodox Judaism. It clearly and thoroughly explains those causes, and provides solutions to this increasingly common phenomenon. In doing so, Off the Derech enlightens not only the Orthodox but Jewish parents and leaders from all streams of Judaism as the research provides valuable insights into assimilation and Jewish continuity at large. This highly anticipated work, over five years in the making, is certain to become the definitive handbook on what is emerging as one of the most difficult issues in the Orthodox and Jewish world today. It is a must-have, invaluable handbook for parents, teachers and Rabbis alike. Click to read more.









[book cover click here] Listening for the Oboe
The Drashot of Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
(Paperback)
by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Dr. Constance H. Buchanan (Introduction), Rabbi Margaret Wenig (Editor)
November 2005, CBST Books
Two of the best classes we ever took were at CBST (Jewish Law and Tattoos was one of them, hehe). And while some people go to shuls to pray or for the honey cake, we at MyJewishBooks.com have been attracted by the inspiring and humor filled sermons and drashot by Rabbi Kleinbaum (who can forget the poingnat Kol Nidre one, in which she also added that congregants were welcome to fall to sleep since Manhattanites are so sleep deprived it would be a miotzvah if she could grant them some needed rest, or that the Loew's Cinema 8:30 films were about to start across from the shul). And now, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in Manhattan has published Listening for the Oboe, a collection of drashot by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum from her first ten years as spiritual leader of CBST. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book cover click here] The Unfolding Tradition
Jewish Law After Sinai
by Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff
November 2005, AVIV
This volume analyzes the biblical and rabbinic roots of Jewish law, as interpreted by leading rabbis of the Conservative movement and beyond. This long-awaited work is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the roots, development and interpretation of Jewish law in general, and for those who wish to know how Conservative Judaism evolved and what it represents. The book includes texts by rabbis on the left and right of the Conservative movement, including Rabbis Jacob Agus, Ray Scheindlin, Gordon Tucker, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, David Hartman, Euguene Borowitz, Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Z. Frankel, Solomon Schechter, Louis Jacobs, David Gordis, Joel Roth, Neil Gillman, and Alana Suskind. Includes samples of Conservative legal theories, such as the ordination of women, a response to miscarriaged pregnancies, intimate relations, poverty, and the end of life. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] DEAR RABBI, DEAR DOCTOR
By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
Fall 2005. Artscroll
Denial is more than a river in Egypt. It can be a root to many problems and issues. Rabbi Twerski is an esteemed rabbi and Pittsburgh-based psychiatrist who is called upon the world over for his opinions. I was so addicted (a good addiction) to this book, I had to buy two more copies, because I kept loaning out my other copies to friends. There are over 200 questions and answers in this book covering issues including marriage, medicine, anxiety, 9/11 trauma, child rearing, chronic discontent, causeless hatred (sinas chinam), jealousy, pettiness, shalom bayit, retirement woes, depression, bi-polarity, addiction, an immature spouse, a paranoid shulmate, emotional dependecies, issues with parents and in-laws (who goes for help, the person with the headache or the person who causes the headache?), issues of self esteem, issues of hashkafah (perspective/ideology), dyselxia, and shidduchim. You learn a lot; it is a tiny bit voyeuristic; and if you are like me, you will find yourself disagreeing with him in some cases, and finding him Solomonic in other cases.
Some of my favorite questions were: One "BT" asks why he is being discriminated against for a shidduch even though he is a great student (is it his perception, or something different?) An educated questioner is frustrated that no one listens to him/her (is it the ideas, or the way they are presented). May a shul move from a deteriorated neighborhood to a new suburb if it will leave older congregants without a house of worship? Can a rabbi recuse himself of giving advice to a nudnick if he has a vested emotional interest in the outcome? What if a teen crosses the street rather than walk quickly past an older slower walker so as not to embarrass them, but actually cuase them to feel ostracized? Why would Rabbi Twerski discourage the use of tranquilizers by a widow or widower to overcome shiva grief? What should one do if their husband is beloved in the community, but a tyrant at home? What if one's father abandoned the family and now wants to come to the daughter's wedding since she is marrying into a prestigious family? How can one overcome exam anxiety? Is marriage a hospital (will a shidduch solve emotional issues)? Must you honor a parent who calls you derogatory names? If a wife likes nail polish and her husband does not (due to religious reasons) , but the wife feels pretty with it on, but her husband doesn't, what should they do? If you act like a doormat, will people (or your daughter in law) wipe their feet on you all the time? It is a treasure trove of tsurris and intelligent answers
From the cover: If you could spend a day with Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski M.D., and ask about every problem that plagues you, your friends, or your family - wouldn't you take that opportunity? It wouldn't matter if your questions were about "small" things that fray your nerves daily or about larger, life-changing struggles. He would listen patiently, carefully consider your situation, and help you build a bridge over your predicament. Even better ¿ how to make your predicament disappear! That day has come! Flip through the table of contents of this amazingly insightful book and find that your question has already been asked - and answered! Ever since Rabbi Twerski began writing his weekly question-and-answer column "Seeking Solutions," he has been flooded with thousands of letters. This book contains new letters and answers that have not been printed before, as well as some of the classic questions and solutions from his column. This book contains nearly 200 letters, reflecting real problems faced by real people. You deserve the peace of mind Dear Rabbi, Dear Doctor can bring. Rabbi Twerski's advice is always down-to-earth, rooted in Torah and drawn from his long experience as a nationally known mental health professional. He believes that every individual and every family is entitled to a happy, healthy outlook. As he says in his introduction, "A Jewish home should be an oasis of stability, decency, and righteousness in a toxic world." This book is an important step in that direction. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] TORAH TODAY
A RENEWED ENCOUNTER WITH SCRIPTURE>BR> By P{inchas H. Peli (Jerusalem Post and Ben Gurion University of the Negev) with a foreward by Rabbi Harold M. Shulweis (Encino)
2004. University of Texas Press
The central element of Jewish worship is the yearly cycle of reading the first five books of the Bible, the Five Books of Moses, called the Torah in Hebrew. Torah Today, a compilation of fifty-four essays that grew out of Pinchas Peli's Torah column in the Jerusalem Post, comments upon the weekly readings from the Torah. Written in a wonderfully clear style, each essay brings the reader closer to the rich spiritual world of Torah as it confronts the challenges of modern society. This reissue of Torah Today, with a new preface by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, makes this classic work available to a new generation of Bible students. The central element of Jewish worship is the yearly cycle of reading the first five books of the Bible, the Five Books of Moses, called the Torah in Hebrew. Torah Today, a compilation of fifty-four essays that grew out of Pinchas Peli's Torah column in the Jerusalem Post, comments upon the weekly readings from the Torah. Written in a wonderfully clear style, each essay brings the reader closer to the rich spiritual world of Torah as it confronts the challenges of modern society. This reissue of Torah Today, with a new preface by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, makes this classic work available to a new generation of Bible students. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book cover click here] Torah And Company
by Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams
Ben Yehuda Press (September 30, 2005)
Enlighten your Sabbath table "Torah and Company," a new Torah portion discussion guide by Rabbi Judith Abrams. In "Torah & Company", Rabbi Abrams, who teaches Talmud online at Maqom.com, supplements a key passage on the weekly Torah portion with related passages of Mishnah and Gemara -- and then provides background information and discussion questions for each text. Taken together, "Torah and Company" provides the ingredients for thoughtful, open-ended, illuminating discussion of Jewish themes and beliefs, as reflected in the Torah, the Talmud, and our own lives today. With clear, accessible translations and explanations and introspective questions, "Torah and Company" is perfect for anyone who wants to bring Torah study and religious discussion to their dinner table, class room or synagogue. The breadth of Rabbi Abrams' selections ensure that everyone -- including those who have studied extensively in seminaries and yeshivas -- will find new, enlightening texts and interpretations. Serve up a rich feast of spiritual discussion from an age-old recipe:One part Torah. Two parts classic Jewish texts. Add conversation. Stir... and enjoy! "Offers readers easy access and guided questions which lead to thought-provoking discussion. A valuable guide for the Shabbat table of every Jew."- Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book cover click here] To Heal a Fractured World
The Ethics of Responsibility
by Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain
October 2005. Schocken
Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of GB for nearly the past 15 years, is one of the most respected religious thinkers and makes an impassioned plea for the return of religion to its true purpose-as a partnership with God in the work of ethical and moral living. (I have forgiven him for not attending the funeral of GB's top Reform Rabbi and leader.) What are our duties to others, to society, and to humanity? How do we live a meaningful life in an age of global uncertainty and instability? In To Heal a Fractured World, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers answers to these questions by looking at the ethics of responsibility. In his signature plainspoken, accessible style, Rabbi Sacks shares with us traditional interpretations of the Bible, Jewish law, and theology, as well as the works of philosophers and ethicists from other cultures, to examine what constitutes morality and moral behavior. "We are here to make a difference," he writes, "a day at a time, an act at a time, for as long as it takes to make the world a place of justice and compassion." He argues that in today's religious and political climate, it is more important than ever to return to the essential understanding that "it is by our deeds that we express our faith and make it real in the lives of others and the world."
Sacks's wide-ranging scholarship is evident in the authorities he cites, including Plato, Karl Marx, Victor Frankl, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, William Wordsworth, Rashi, Maimonides, Jean-Paul Sartre, John Donne, Erich Fromm, Sigmund Freud and many others including Talmudic and rabbinical sources. Sacks claims that he "tried to make the book as simple and readable" as possible, but it is at times somewhat heavy-footed. Patient readers will be rewarded by exposure to a great intellect who demonstrates how his knowledge and experiences have led him to the conclusion that each individual has responsibility "to heal where others harm, mend where others destroy, [and] to redeem evil by turning its negative energies to good." Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] A VISION OF HOLINESS
THE FUTURE OF REFORM JUDAISM
By Rabbi Richard N. Levy
August 2005, URJ Press
Where is Reform Judaism heading in the twenty-first century? This was the question before the Central Conference of American Rabbis as it undertook to write a Statement of Principles, the fourth in a series of comprehensive statements that the Reform rabbinate has adopted throughout its history to help inspire the thought and practice of Reform Judaism. A Vision of Holiness is an explication of the Pittsburgh Principles' vision, as seen through the lens of the rabbi who guided the process and shaped the document. It is a personal reflection of a communal vision, an attempt to explore the implications of the 1999 document. A Vision of Holiness will change all of its readers, Reform or not, to reflect on the nature of their religious lives and deepen their relationships with God, their absorption in Torah, and their critical commitment to the destiny of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. A Vision of Holiness illumines the manner in which this vibrant group of Jews envisions its purpose in the world and sets forth challenges for Reform Judaism's ongoing engagement with mitzvot. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] Second Chances
Transforming Bitterness to Hope and the Story of Ruth
by Rabbi Levi Meier,
Rabbi at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles
URIM. June 2005
Deep feelings of depression and giving up hope are often part of the human experience. Second Chances explores strategies that serve as models for a more positive and optimistic life, transforming tragic cir­cum­stances into a force for healing. Drawing upon years as a clinical therapist and spiri­tual chaplain, Rabbi Levi Meier (author of the best-selling book, Ancient Secrets) paints a fresh approach to the Bible and draws relevancy and sage advice from an ancient text.
[click book cover click here] [book cover click here] Rabbi Levi Meier, Ph.D., is Jewish Chaplain of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and a marriage, family and child therapist. He has authored numerous books on psychology and spirituality. His award-winning book, Ancient Secrets, was nominated as a finalist in the National Books for a Better Life Awards in the Spiritual category. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] Performing Israel's Faith
Narrative and Law in Rabbinic Theology
by Jacob Neusner
June 2005, Baylor University Press
Rabbi Neusner introduces the complexities of rabbinic thought. If law alone yields legalism, then religious belief, by itself, fails to create justice. In Performing Israel's Faith, Jacob Neusner shows how Jewish Halakhah (law) and Aggadah (narrative) fit together to form a robust and coherent covenant theology one directly concerned about this world. Neusner's careful and thorough examination of several key issues within Rabbinic Judaism the nations, idolatry, sin, repentance, and atonement demonstrates that neither Halakhah nor Aggadah can be fully and rightly understood in isolation from each other. Performing Israel's Faith thus effectively reveals that Rabbinic Judaism's true pattern of religion was constituted by a covenant theology comprised by both law and story a covenant theology whose aim was to restore the sanctification of God's original creation. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Art of Amazement
by Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld
Tarcher Daas, May 2005
The Art of Amazement is a curriculum for anyone to begin transforming our lives individually and collectively. Have you ever stopped to look at a breathtaking sunset and felt tremendous joy, calmness, or even timelessness? Has your entire body ever responded to something with awe? The Art of Amazement helps us to identify the source of that wonder, and to cultivate it and experience it daily-even hourly and minute by minute. Rabbi Seinfeld's powerful book outlines the ancient Jewish spiritual arts in clear terms for any spiritual seeker. The art of amazement is practical and accessible to anyone, and does not demand a radical lifestyle change. Each chapter in the book offers a lesson paired with exercises to help make small changes in routine to ultimately achieve a larger shift in perspective. Seinfeld's Jewish journey began after completing degrees in Classics and Anthropology at Stanford University. He slowly turned toward the Jewish path after living for two years in rural Mississippi, "surrounded by folks who knew my people's book better than I did." He journeyed around the world, and along the way, observant Jews he met in Paris inspired him to study in Israel. Seven years of study in Jerusalem culminated in rabbinical ordination and the seeds of the Art of Amazement book and seminar. Seinfeld is irritated that Michelangelo painted God as a bearded man in the sky in the Sistine Chapel. That did God and humanity a disservice. Seinfeld views the God of the patriarchs and matriarchs as more in line with what he believes the sages of Judaism always understood: a great, good and infinite spirit, one that should arouse in us a perpetual sense of amazement. Seinfeld hopes his book will help Jews (and even non-Jews) better savor the miracles of life, great and small. In one exercise, the rabbi asks readers to take their sweet time in eating an orange. That means fully contemplating the flavor, the texture, and even the fact that fruit was placed here on earth for our pleasure and nourishment. The resulting feeling should be one of amazement, something Seinfeld believes lies at the heart of Judaism and which may be mastered over time. Seinfeld adds that the brachot of daily life open a portal to the Infinite even in the midst of everyday life. "We're busy," says the rabbi. "Who has time to be amazed all the time? That's the genius of brachot. If you're going to eat the food anyway, how about appreciating the intense pleasure and wonderment of that first bite." "We have to recognize that one of the keys to loving your neighbor is to recognize the divine spark in every human being," he says. "Judaism gives us tools to do that." Click on the cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Around the Family Table
A Comprehensive Bencher and Companion for Shabbat and Festival Meals and other Family Occasions
With insights and commentary
by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat
URIM; Ohr Torah Stone, (May 2005)
Around the Family Table is a practical and inspiring book of devotion and prayer for the Jewish home. Many uplifting and ancient Jewish traditions are rooted in the home and celebrated with the family. This book of prayer and celebration is intended to serve as a guide for meaningful expressions of the Jewish experience at home. Inspiring stories and personal commentary by the author supplement the text throughout. Blessings and songs celebrating the entire year of Jewish festivals and Sabbaths, in Hebrew, with English instructions and translations, make this work of fundamental value for the Jewish home. From the blessings said on festivals and for Hannukah candle lighting to birth celebrations for boys as well as for girls, the marriage ceremony and blessings, prayers for inaugurating a new house, and other momentous life cycle occasions, all are marked with traditional praise and holy words. Rabbi Riskin's sensitivity and unique imprint is present throughout this comprehensive and handy companion. Some of the special additions include the following: Blessings for the children on Yom Kippur eve; Symbolic foods and ceremony for Rosh Hashana; Ushpizin for sukkot meals (welcoming patriarchs and matriarchs); Songs for all festivals Hannukah candle blessings; Eve of Israel Independence Day meal celebration; Tu b'shevat seder; Shalom Zakhar, Shalom Bat; Circumcision ceremony; Redemption of the firstborn; Simhat bat ceremony for baby girls; Dedication of a new home. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] THE SEVENTY FACES OF TORAH
The Jewish Way of Reading the Sacred Scriptures
by Rabbi Stephen M. Wylen, Temple Beth Tikvah in Wayne, NJ
Paulist Press, May 2005
Judaism, Christianity and Islam all acknowledge the Hebrew Bible to be sacred Scripture. And yet these different, and often contradictory, religions each has its own way of reading the Bible, interpreting it according to its own later sacred literature. In The Seventy Faces of Torah, Rabbi Stephen Wylen has written an important book that explains in clear and simple language the Jewish art of reading and interpreting the Bible. He introduces the reader to the major texts and genres of rabbinic literature in which the Jews discover 70 profound insights in every single verse of the Bible. Many Christians mistakenly think of Judaism as the "religion of the Old Testament," and wonder why Jews persist in their ancient faith and, unlike Christians, do not find Christ in every verse of the Bible. And how can such different religions be based on the same holy book? As Rabbi Wylen explains, Jews interpret the Bible in accordance with their own sacred literature, much as Christians do with the New Testament. These written scriptures of Judaism (such as The Talmud and Mishnah) are distinct from "Torah," the divine voice which speaks anew every day whenever Jews gather to learn the sacred texts of Jewish tradition. This book will be of interest to a wide audience, from Christian clergy and seminarians, and avid lay students of the Bible, to beginning rabbinical students, Jews who want to know more about their own tradition, and to all people who wonder what the Bible has to say to contemporary humanity. Rabbi Wylen also sheds new light on the conflict between religious modernism and Fundamentalism, which will make The Seventy Faces of Torah a valuable book for Bible study groups in churches and synagogues. Click the book cover above to read more.










[book cover click here] LOSING THE RAT RACE, WINNING AT LIFE
by Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD
Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue (Shearith Israel) of New York City
URIM; Spring 2005
Our favorite Seattle-born Sephardic rabbi and religious leader has written this prescription for life. In the rush to meet the challenges and pressures of life, we don't always allow ourselves the time to contemplate the meaning of our realities. Why are we here? What do we hope to accomplish with our lives? Where are we headed, and what is genuinely important? We live in an exciting, fast-paced world that can provide us with many good things. On some level, however, we find ourselves feeling stuck in a rat race that lacks ultimate meaning. This book sheds light on the obstacles of the rat race, stimulates thought about the direction of our lives, and helps us draw on our strengths to get beyond the mundane. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] DIGNITY BEYOND DEATH
THE JEWISH PREPARATION FOR BURIAL
by Rochel U. Berman, MSW (Hunter)
URIM; Spring 2005
Foreword by Rabbi Irving Greenberg
A basic tenet of Judaism is the obligation to value and serve the deceased, to extend dignity beyond death. In Judaism, a death is the affair of the entire community. Preparation of the dead for burial is undertaken by a community organization called the Chevra Kadisha, the Sacred Society. The volunteers of the Sacred Society quietly and privately wash, purify and dress the deceased. They simultaneously recite lyrical prayers from Psalms, thereby bearing witness to death as the last of life's important passages. Dignity Beyond Death examines the rituals of preparing the dead for burial from the point of view of those volunteers who undertake it, including chapters on the Holocaust and terrorism. For the first time, through personal interviews, the author shares a wealth of fascinating anecdotal material that will engage the reader in the humanity and ultimate dignity of this time-honored deed. Rochel Udovitch Berman was a member of the Congregation Rosh Pinah Chevra Kadisha in Westchester, N.Y. for seventeen years. She is currently a member of the Boca Raton Synagogue Chevra Kadisha and serves as a consultant to the Congregation B'nai Torah Chevra Kadisha in Boca Raton, Florida. In 2004, she narrated a Public Broadcasting System segment on Chevra Kadisha that aired on Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] TORAH LIGHTS
Genesis Confronts Life, Love and Family
by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat
URIM; Ohr Torah Stone, (May 30, 2005)
Rabbi Riskin writes, "The world of biblical commentary reveals many secrets. First and foremost, the Bible... may be likened to a magnificent diamond, glistening with many brilliant colors all at the same time. And although the different hues often appear to be contradictory, when you view the totality of the light emanating from the diamond, you begin to appreciate how complementary they really are. Thus the sages of the Talmud understood that there are many possible truths contained in each biblical statement, each adding its unique melody to the magnificent symphony of the whole, synthesizing not in conflicting dissonance but in holy dialectic...." Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Translating God
My Journey To Godliness
by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, vbs.org (Valley Beth Shalom in Encino CA)
Jewish Lights Publishing , May 1, 2005
The esteemed and eminent rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino CA leads the readers on his journey to the rabbinate and the call of god and service.. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] A VISION OF HOLINESS
THE FUTURE OF REFORM JUDAISM
By Rabbi Richard N. Levy
August 2005, URJ Press
Where is Reform Judaism heading in the twenty-first century? This was the question before the Central Conference of American Rabbis as it undertook to write a Statement of Principles, the fourth in a series of comprehensive statements that the Reform rabbinate has adopted throughout its history to help inspire the thought and practice of Reform Judaism. A Vision of Holiness is an explication of the Pittsburgh Principles' vision, as seen through the lens of the rabbi who guided the process and shaped the document. It is a personal reflection of a communal vision, an attempt to explore the implications of the 1999 document. A Vision of Holiness will change all of its readers, Reform or not, to reflect on the nature of their religious lives and deepen their relationships with God, their absorption in Torah, and their critical commitment to the destiny of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. A Vision of Holiness illumines the manner in which this vibrant group of Jews envisions its purpose in the world and sets forth challenges for Reform Judaism's ongoing engagement with mitzvot. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] THE SIDDUR COMPANION
BY PAUL H. VISHNY, Rabbi, J.D.
Devorah Publishing, April 2005
There is an architecture to the Siddur which is truly a work of splendor. It was not created by one hand, nor at one time or in one place. The Siddur records the Jewish People's joyous searching for God, but it also records their longing for redemption, even as the text frequently marks suffering and hostile surroundings. This work is intended to form the background for a meaningful devotion to prayer, during the week and on the major festivals. It will help guide the novice through the different prayers and make these prayers more understandable and fulfilling. It will also give the daily davener a sense of where these prayers came from, how the rabbis developed them, and even their deeper purpose and meaning. Rabbi Vishny explores the origin of the siddur, the morning blessings, the p'sukei d'zimra, the amida prayers, the k'dusha, kaddish, havdalah, musaf, and so much more. Click on the cover above to read more.






[book cover click here][book cover click here] KOSHER LIVING
IT'S MORE THAN JUST FOOD
By RABBI RON ISAACS
Jossey Bass, April 2005
Kosher Living is an essential guide to Jewish ethics and morality for your everyday life. Rabbi Ron Isaacs offers a warm, humorous, and eminently useful book that shows what is really kosher, proper, and appropriate in all aspects of our lives. Kosher Living includes comprehensive entries organized into practical categories of daily life practices3/4business, hospitality, relationships, care of the body, and more3/4it gives advice from all aspects of Jewish religion, custom, ritual, and tradition. This book is an invaluable source of inspiration; and a definitive reference work for every Jewish family. Written in an easy-to-use format, Kosher Living is a perfect tool for teaching Jewish values and tradition. Click on the cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Judaism, Physics And God
Searching For Sacred Metaphors In A Post-Einstein World
by Rabbi David W. Nelson
March 2005, Jewish LIGHTS
Explores the interconnection of science and faith. In clear, non-technical terms, Judaism, Physics and God explores the basic ideas of five broad areas of modern physics and how they connect to our understanding of Judaism and God. Relating the scientific studies of cosmology, creation, chaos theory, relativity, and string theories to the human search for meaning through faith and religion, Nelson explores the fundamental question: How would our Jewish thought, belief, and language be affected if we were to internalize the lessons of physics as part of our intuitive sense of how the world works? How would it change our understanding of and relationship with God? In playfully informal prose that will captivate the most reluctant and unscientific reader, Rabbi Nelson draws upon a heritage rich with faith and science as he examines the ways these two seemingly incompatible fields share intriguing and enlightening connections.
Rabbi Nelson (HUC 1980, Wesleyan) is the Director of The Jewish Life Connection in Washington Township, NJ. In addition to teaching for CLAL and HUC, He has spoken on and authored topics including "Way Beyond Chicken Soup: The Meaning of Jewish Law for the (Liberal) Jewish Soul"; "The Book is Better than the Movie: New Understandings of Pesach, the Haggadah, and Freedom"; "Close Encounters of the Jewish Kind: The Search for Intimacy with God"; "Re-Discovering Jewish Prayer: A Spiritual Safari for Jewish Explorers"; and "New Jewish Metaphors for Einstein's Descendents: Physics and the Language of Jewish Life for Non-Scientists" Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here][book cover click here] Kosher Living
It's More Than Just the Food
by Rabbi Ron Isaacs
Jossey-Bass (March 11, 2005)
Kosher Living is an essential guide to Jewish ethics and morality for your everyday life. Rabbi Ron Isaacs offers a warm, humorous, and eminently useful book that shows what is really kosher, proper, and appropriate in all aspects of our lives. Kosher Living includes comprehensive entries organized into practical categories of daily life practices, business, hospitality, relationships, care of the body, and more3/4it gives advice from all aspects of Jewish religion, custom, ritual, and tradition. This book is an invaluable source of inspiration; and a definitive reference work for every Jewish family. Written in an easy-to-use format, Kosher Living is a perfect tool for teaching Jewish values and tradition. Rabbi Ron Isaacs has been the spiritual leader of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater, New Jersey since 1975. He received his doctorate in instructional technology from Columbia University's Teacher's College. He is the author of more than 80 books. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] We Jews
Who Are We and What Should We Do
by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Jossey-Bass (March 11, 2005)
In We Jews, Rabbi Steinsaltz explores the most important issues that concern Jews today as Jews. He provides wise and uplifting answers to Jews everywhere, whether they are secular and assimilated or orthodox-Are we a nation or a religion? Are the stereotypes of Jews really true? Why are Jews so controversial? How can we navigate the opposing forces of diversity, culture, and politics? Can we survive intermarriage and the loss of tradition? Do we still worship the Golden Calf? In this book, Rabbi Steinsaltz sees causes and consequences, achievements and failures, looks at the contemporary world, and observes the dreams and longings of modern Jewish people. Written as an intimate and inspiring internal memo to the whole Jewish family, We Jews answers these questions and many more in a way that is at once insightful and inspiring Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] HELLO GOD, IT'S ME (original working title)
JEWISH WITH FEELING
A GUIdE TO MEANINGFUL JEWISH PRACTICE
By Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi with Joel Segel
March 3, 2005, Riverhead Books
One of the great innovators in Jewish history and a father of the Jewish Renewal movement writes a practical guide to Jewish living in a modern world. Scholar, mystic, teacher, friend to spiritual teachers from Thomas Merton to Arthur green to David Cooper to Rodger Kamanetz to Shlomo Carlebach to the Dalai Lama, from Ram Dass to the revered Native American elders, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi is himself one of the great spiritual leaders of our time. In JEWISH WITH FEELING, Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi brings the core tenets and practices of Judaism into the twenty-first century. Drawing on a wide range of philosophies and religious traditions, Schachter-Shalomi illuminates the universal aspects of Judaism and shows readers how to apply them to daily life. Emphasizing personal experience over doctrine, he offers sage insight into how Judaism-both old and new-can help us lead satisfying spiritual lives. Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi acknowledges the complexities of our lives today, which leave many of us with little room for spiritual pursuits, and he gives readers the tools to understand God in a contemporary context. The message is simple: Meaningful practice is the springboard to fulfillment in modern times.
Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi shows hot to: Connect with a personal god; create our own Sabbath practice; share our innermost experience with the divine; understand the deepest levels of our rituals; restore global responsibility to thje top of the Jewish agenda; enrich and learn from other faiths; and look to our future with hope. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Jewish Ritual
A Brief Introduction For Christians
by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, Daniel Judson
Jewish Lights Publishing, February 2005
A window into the meaning of Jewish rituals throughout history and today-written especially for Christians. Ritual moments and opportunities guide the daily life of practicing Jews. These spiritual practices give expression to Jewish identity and reflect Judaism's core beliefs and values. But what can they mean to Christians seeking to understand their own faith? In this special book, Rabbis Olitzky and Judson guide you through the whys and hows of nine specific areas of Jewish ritual.
* Observing the Sabbath * Keeping Kosher * Putting on Tefillin (Prayer Boxes) * Wrapping the Tallit (Prayer Shawl) * Covering the Head * Studying Torah * Praying Daily * Saying Blessings throughout the Day * Going to the Ritual Bath
Providing you with the biblical and historical background of each practice, insight into its contemporary use and significance-including the often divergent approaches of different Jewish movements-and personal stories from rabbis and lay people, this easy-to-understand guide illustrates the deep meaning these rituals have in the Jewish relationship with God. Linking these practices to familiar rituals in the Christian tradition, Olitzky and Judson help you better understand the roots of Christianity and how the fundamentals of Judaism relate to and reflect your own spiritual foundation







[book cover click here] Wrestling With God And Men
Homosexuality In The Jewish Tradition
by Rabbi Steven Greenberg
PAPERBACK EDITION
March 2005, University of Wisconsin Press
Rabbi Greenberg's Wrestling with God and Men has received a great deal of media attention. According to Publisher's Weekly, "While Greenberg's controversial biblical claims on this long-taboo topic may infuriate some and gratify others, his book arouses deep empathy for Orthodox homosexuals." Publisher's Weekly also named Greenberg one of the top ten authors at Jewish book festivals in 2004. His book was chosen by Amazon.com as one of the top ten 2004 gay and lesbian books. Greenberg recently won the Koret Jewish Book Award in philosophy and thought for his groundbreaking integration of faith and homosexuality; the award will be presented April 11, 2005 in San Francisco. He is also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, which recognizes gay literature, in religion and spirituality, winners will be announced in New York City on June 2, 2005. Greenberg has toured in the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa. While two verses in the Bible have long been understood to prohibit homosexuality as abominable, Rabbi Steven Greenberg sought to reconcile traditional Judaism and homosexuality in Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition. In the newly updated, paperback edition of his book, Greenberg includes a discussion of the compelling force that may influence sexuality. Rabbi Steven Greenberg became the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi in 1999. Currently, he is a senior teaching fellow at CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. For more information about Greenberg and Wrestling with God and Men, please visit www.wrestlingwithgodandmen.com Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] JUDAISM FOR TWO
Partnering As A Spiritual Journey
by Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, and Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer
Jewish Lights, March 2005
Rabbi Wiener (HUC-JIR) and Rabbi Fuchs-Kreimer (RRC) are respected teachers, leaders, and authors. Rabbi Wiener is one of America's top teachers of pastoral counseling. Rabbi Fuchs-Kreimer is a leader at RRC and also a Director for the Jewish Family Service in Philly. In this book, the collaboratively assert that Jewish teachings can strengthen relationships, both gay and straight. This innovative guidebook focuses on Jewish teachings and how the wisdom of the Jewish tradition can strengthen your committed relationship and make your life together richly rewarding. Offering a new perspective on Jewish life for couples at any stage in their lives together, Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer and Rabbi Nancy Wiener draw from the metaphors, concepts and values inherent in the Jewish holiday cycle to address topics important to your life together: communication, forgiveness, anger, play, sex, loss and change. They identify those aspects of Judaism that speak to the complexities of living life as a couple. At the end of each chapter you'll find exercises and suggestions for incorporating ritual, learning and loving-kindness into your time together, helping you reach out beyond yourselves and enrich your shared life as a couple. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] THE EMERGENCE OF ETHICAL MAN
ANSWERS BY RABBI JOSEPH B. SOLOVEITCHIK
Edited by Michael Berger
Ktav, March 2005
Discloses what it means to be human. For thousands of years, philosophers have pondered the question what it means to be human. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, known universally as "the Rav" --the rabbi par excellence-- answers the question in The Emergence of Ethical Man, edited by Michael Berger. Relying on both scientific research and classical Jewish sources, Soloveitchik explains how a thoroughly naturalistic setting could give birth to human personality -- and to Judaism's expectation of moral character and self-transcendence. The resulting religious anthropology is a startlingly fresh reading of the early chapters of Genesis, and highlights Judaism's distinctive view among those of other religious traditions. Click the book cover above to read more.










[book cover click here] Filling Words with Light
Hasidic and Mystical Reflections on Jewish Prayer
by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Rabbi Nehemia Polen
Jewish Lights, January 2005
Engage Body and Soul with the Holy Words of Jewish Prayer . From personal gratitude as we greet the day, to affirming in community Judaism's steadfast devotion to God, prayer encompasses the expanse of our daily lives. In Filling Words with Light, Lawrence Kushner and Nehemia Polen offer new interpretations, flashes of insight, stories, and reflections on the words that compose the Jewish liturgy and enrich our understanding of how and why we pray. Following the order of the traditional prayer book, Kushner and Polen examine the concepts, phrases, and words of prayer, including: * Acts of love * Serving in joy * Blessing * Commandments * Repentance * Healing * Torah study * Reverence * Sabbath lights * Yearning ...and much more. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Lost Princess & Other Kabbalistic Tales Of Rebbe Nachman Of Breslov
Edited by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and Rabbi Chaim Kramer
Jewish Lights, 2005
Discover the hidden secrets of Torah and Kabbalah through the captivating stories of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. "Rabbi Nachman's stories are among the great classics of Jewish literature. They have been recognized by Jews and non-Jews alike for their depth and insight into both the human condition and the realm of the mysterious." -from Aryeh Kaplan's Translator's Introduction. For centuries, spiritual teachers have told stories to convey lessons about God and perceptions of the world around us. Hasidic master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) perfected this teaching method through his engrossing and entertaining stories that are fast-moving, brilliantly structured, and filled with penetrating insights. This collection presents the wisdom of Rebbe Nachman, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and accompanied by illuminating commentary drawn from the works of Rebbe Nachman's pupils. This important work brings you authentic interpretations of Rebbe Nachman's stories, allowing you to experience the rich heritage of Torah and Kabbalah that underlies each word of his inspirational teachings. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Rebbe's Army
Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch
by SUE FISHKOFF
January 2005, NOW IN PAPERBACK
From Publishers Weekly: This remarkable ethnographic profile goes behind the scenes of Lubavitcher Judaism to explore how the movement's enthusiastic young emissaries, or schlihim, carry the Rebbe's message throughout the world. Armed with pamphlets, Shabbos candles and the dream of making all Jews more observant, these idealistic young married couples set up shop in unlikely locales like Peoria, Ill.; Anchorage, Ala.; or Salt Lake City, Utah. There they will tirelessly teach and fundraise-not just for a year or two, but for the rest of their lives. Fishkoff, a regular contributor to Moment and The Jerusalem Post, draws upon dozens of interviews with these schlihim, their supporters and their detractors. Traversing the country to do her research, she attended Shabbos dinners, mikvah demonstrations, Friday afternoon street proselytizing sessions and even a star-studded Chabad telethon in Los Angeles. (The telethon, Fishkoff rightly points out, is the perfect symbol for the way these Hasids have simultaneously eschewed and engaged with American culture, using technology to further their outreach.) Most interestingly, she includes interviews with Reform and Conservative Jews who, surprisingly enough, are often the chief financial backers of local Chabad initiatives. Though Fishkoff makes an effort to include some individuals' critiques of the movement, this is by no means an expos‚; one leaves the book sharing her own tender admiration for the energetic dedication of the Rebbe's followers. Fishkoff writes robustly and engagingly, and her portrait of Chabad is not only profoundly respectful, but also poignant and full of joy." Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] Israel A Spiritual Travel Guide
A Companion For The Modern Jewish Pilgrim
by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
Jewish Lights Publishing; SECOND EDITION (January 29, 2005)
It is the must companion for any traveler to Israel. The blurb says it best, "the other travel books tell you how to get there, Hoffman tells you why to go and what to do when you're there." Hoffman, a Professor of Liturgy at HUC-JIR, is best known for his book, "What Is A Jew?" His travel guide is in four sections. The first contains eighteen (chai) meditations to be read before embarking on one's trip to Israel. The second section is on preparations for "the eve before the trip." Section three focuses on "How to prepare while on the way." And Section four is filled with 25 specific pilgrimage destinations for the traveler. For each site, such as The Kotel or a Kibbutz, Professor Hoffman provides THE FOUR A's -- four sections on "Anticipation," "Approach," "Acknowledgment," and "Afterthought." In Anticipation, one reads an overview of the sight; Approach contains biblical, rabbinic and other writings about the site; Acknowledgment is filled with prayers or readings for you to recite at your destination; and Afterthought provides a blank space in which you may record your feelings, emotions, or just plain journal entries that you can keep forever. This is an excellent companion for a trip to Israel." Click the book cover above to read more.
If you are leading a trip, contact Jewish Lights and get the version of this book for trip leaders.





[book] Hasidism On The Margin
Reconciliation, Antinomianism, And Messianism In Izbica/ Radzin Hasidism
(Modern Jewish Philosophy and Religion: Translations and Critical Studies)
by Shaul Magid
University of Wisconsin Press (January 30, 2005)
Hasidism on the Margin explores one of the most provocative and radical traditions of Hasidic thought, the school of Izbica and Radzin that Rabbi Gershon Henokh originated in nineteenth-century Poland. Shaul Magid traces the intellectual history of this strand of Judaism from medieval Jewish philosophy through centuries of Kabbalistic texts to the nineteenth century and into the present. He contextualizes the Hasidism of Izbica-Radzin in the larger philosophy and history of religions and provides a model for inquiry into other forms of Hasidism.
In Hasidism on the Margin, Professor Shaul Magid of the Jewish Theological Seminary - a person whose spiritual biography is colored by his personal proximity to the haredi world - offers the reader a rare encounter with one of the strangest doctrines in the history of the hassidic movement. The doctrine, which was seemingly tucked away in the Izbica court, holds an element of attraction both because of its intellectual daring and its incitement to rule-breaking. Its genesis is in the theological thought of Rabbi Mordecai Joseph Lainer (1800-1854), founder of the messianic hassidic court in Izbi
Click the book cover above to read more.







Heavenly Torah
As Refracted through the Generations
By Abraham Joshue Heschel
edited by Gordon Tucker
with Abraham Joshua Heschel and Leonard Levin

December 23, 2004,
Continuumbooks
41 chapters and over 700 pages
This is one of the most significant Jewish books of Fall 2004
To understand Heschel is to understand Judaism. If people would forego the Zohar and Kabbalah fad and actually read this book, we would be in better touch with our Jewish theology.
If a dwarf were to sit on the shoulders of a giant, who would see farther? The dwarf would.. Reading this book allows we dwarves to sit on a giant's shoulders, and perhaps see what he saw.
Known most widely for his role in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s, Abraham Joshua Heschel made major scholarly contributions to the fields of biblical studies, rabbinics, medieval Jewish philosophy, Hasidism, and mysticism. Yet his most ambitious scholarly achievement, his three-volume study of Rabbinic Judaism, is only now appearing in English. Heschel's great insight is that the world of rabbinic thought can be divided into two types or schools, those of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael, and that the historic disputes between the two are based on fundamental differences over the nature of revelation and religion. Furthermore, this disagreement constitutes a basic and necessary ongoing polarity within Judaism between immanence and transcendence, mysticism and rationalism, neo-Platonism and Aristotelianism. Heschel then goes on to show how these two fundamental theologies of revelation may be used to interpret a great number of topics central to Judaism. Gordon Tucker is senior rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York, and Adjunct Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] [jyt] THE INEFFABLE NAME OF GOD: MAN
Poems in Yiddish and English
By Abraham Joshue Heschel
Translated by Morton Leifman, Introduction by Edward Kaplan

December 23, 2004, Continuumbooks.com.
These 66 poems, here in English and Yiddish on facing pages, were collected in the first book Abraham Joshua Heschel ever published. They appeared in Warsaw in 1933 when Heschel was 26 years old and still a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Berlin. Written between 1927 and 1933-and never published in English before-this is the intimate spiritual diary of a devout European Jew, loyal to the revelation at Sinai and afflicted with reverence for all human beings. These poems sound themes that will resonate throughout Heschel's later popular writings: human holiness, a passion for truth, awe and wonder before nature, God's quest for righteousness, solidarity with the downtrodden, and unwavering commitment to tikkun olam. In these poems we also discover a young man's acute loneliness, dismay at God's distance, and dreams of spiritual and sensual intimacy with a woman. Cynthia Ozick writes, "To discover that the religious philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel was a poet in his youth is both startling and indelibly self-evident-startling because the poems have so far eluded the anthologies; and at the same time familiarly manifest, in that Heschel's metaphysical writings themselves carry the impress of poetry. Like Herbert, like Donne, like Blake, he is God-haunted; his lyrics are steeped in the mystic's longing to tear away the curtain that conceals the divine radiance and (sometimes) God's tears." Arthur Hertzberg writes, "Abraham Joshua Heschel's first calling as a writer was to become in his early twenties a major poet in Yiddish. In this earliest work, Heschel stated all the themes of his later development as a religious thinker and passionate Jew. This work is now translated magnificently, in a way that is sensitive to Heschel's Yiddish, by Morton Leifman. Taken together, in the original Yiddish and in contemporary English, this book is a classic." People's eyes wait for me / Like candle wicks for a light
Shamed brothers beg my help / Deceived sisters dream of consolation And it seems to em that I will, in time
Move on through this earth
With the brightness of all the stars
In my eyes

Click the book cover above to read more.










[book cover click here] The Bible's Top Fifty Ideas
The Essential Concepts Everyone Should Know
by Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, with Abigail Treu
S.P.I. Books (January 1, 2005)
The author's theory is that if one knows 50 verses of the 5000 in the Torah (1%), the reader will begin to grasp the essence of the Bible This is a revolutionary approach. Finally, a book about the Bible that is accessible, which focuses on its great moral principles, and not about passages which relate long genealogies, and complicated priestly rituals at the altar. "What Rabbi Elkins does in this one volume window in the heart of the world's greatest Book is truly amazing. His discussions are engaging, inspiring, comprehensive and scholarly. I have found his book to be exceptionally accurate, thorough and comprehensive. This is a veritable treasure. I cannot praise this wonderful book enough." Prof. Shalom Paul, Chair, Department of Bible, Hebrew U. of Jerusalem. * "Dov Peretz Elkins continues to educate and inspire us all. His unique talents and knowledge allow him to present the most important values and concepts found in the Bible to a wide audience of persons in a characteristically intelligent and accessible manner. This book is a jewel." Rabbi David Ellenson, President, HUC-JIR. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] The Ten Commandments of Character
Essential Advice for Living an Honorable, Ethical, Honest Life
by Rabbi JOSEPH TELUSHKIN

Now in paperback. October 2004, Harmony.
Here is a wealth of astute and warmhearted counsel on many of life's most difficult ethical dilemmas. Joseph Telushkin outlines his ten commandments of character, explaining why each one is so vital, and then addresses perplexing issues that can and often do crop up in our lives relating to family, friends, work, community, medical ethics, and money, such as: How honest should you be when you are asked to give a reference? How much assistance should you give your son with his college application essay? Is it wrong to receive a kidney from an executed prisoner in China? What should you do if your father begs you to end his life rather than allow him to descend into the hell of Alzheimer's? Should a brother give up part of his inheritance if his sister has children and considerable expenses and he doesn't? Should a dying woman reveal to her husband that their son is not really his? Many of us are finding it increasingly hard to tread the fine line between right and wrong. In The Ten Commandments of Character, Telushkin faces these issues squarely and shows us how to live a life of true integrity. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book] Face Your Fears
Living with Courage in an Age of Caution
Shmuley Boteach
October 2004.
St Martins Press.
Advice for people who like pop generalizations.
Rabbi Boteach, friend to Michael Jackson, Uri Geller, and other B-list pop celebrities, writes on a new topic. Boteach turns his attention to America's present state of mind and comes to the conclusion that fear is crippling society with unprecedented force. The only way to escape this climate is to learn what fear is and how to overcome it. He tackles fear headlong and answers the following questions: What is fear? What is it doing to us? Why is it affecting us now more than ever before? How can we be so powerful a society yet so susceptible to fear? How can we conquer it? Why do we need to conquer it? Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice: Holy Days and Shabbat by Rabbi Goldie Milgram
Jewish Lights Publishing; (September 30, 2004)
The Judaism that Rabbi Milgram describes growing up with-"desiccated, disappointing, depressing, and quite frankly, boring"-is what she hopes to counteract in this guide to Jewish holidays and Shabbat, designed to restore the soul of the tradition through a variety of Jewish practices. Structured as a tasting menu with "recipes" to enrich religious experience, the book is divided into two lopsided parts: holidays (150 pages) and Shabbat (30 pages), followed by a 20-page glossary. Each chapter explains history and customs, provides contemporary relevance, presents creative perspectives and raises provocative questions. Milgram, a self-described "postdenominational, or reconformadox" rabbi and teacher, promotes a Judaism that is "inclusive, egalitarian, nonhierarchical [and] nontriumphalist," but sometimes New Agey and overly saccharine. (An example of a "forgiveness call" before Yom Kippur begins: "Sandra? This is Reb Goldie. I feel there is some negative energy between us....") Milgram proposes Sukkot visualizations, especially for those who work indoors all day, allowing them to reconnect to nature; a "spiritual menu" for a Passover seder; a "Shabbat box" in which to deposit cell phones, TV remotes and disruptive thoughts that belong to the workday world; and even a meditation for preparing and baking challah. For those who want to sample Judaism's sensible and spiritual diet, Milgram's guide whets the appetite, pointing them toward enjoying the entire meal. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] THE MESSIAH OF BROOKLYN
UNDERSTANDING LUBAVITCH HASIDISM PAST AND PRESENT
by Rabbi Avrum M. EHRLICH
October 2004. KTAV.
PW writes, "This biography by Ehrlich, a rabbi and philosopher of religion, is an exhaustive and painstakingly researched study of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the charismatic Habad-Lubavitcher rebbe who died in Brooklyn in 1994. The book's first section uncovers the history of Hasidism and its influential subculture, Habad, as well as Schneerson's pre-rebbe life and his succession to leadership. Parts two and three deal with his activities as the rebbe, including a detailed examination of Habad institutions and Schneerson's unique style of managing them from his headquarters in Brooklyn. Finally, the book concludes by analyzing the contentious issues that have arisen since Schneerson's death; after 45 years in office, he left no apparent heir. The book contains many references to the question of whether Schneerson or his predecessor were (or are) the Messiah. Both this discussion and the entire presentation are marred by repetition, often preceded by tiresome reiterations of "as has been seen" and "as will be seen." Sensible editing might have rendered the book of interest to a wider readership by eliminating irksome duplication and broadening the subject. Its appeal is now limited to those who want to carefully study one important segment of Hasidism." Click the book cover above to read more.








[book] [heschel] [heschel and king]





Heavenly Torah
As Refracted through the Generations
By Abraham Joshue Heschel
edited by Gordon Tucker
with Abraham Joshua Heschel and Leonard Levin

December 23, 2004,
Continuumbooks
41 chapters and over 700 pages
This is one of the most significant Jewish books of Fall 2004
To understand Heschel is to understand Judaism. If people would forego the Zohar and Kabbalah fad and actually read this book, we would be in better touch with our Jewish theology.
If a dwarf were to sit on the shoulders of a giant, who would see farther? The dwarf would.. Reading this book allows we dwarves to sit on a giant's shoulders, and perhaps see what he saw.
Known most widely for his role in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s, Abraham Joshua Heschel made major scholarly contributions to the fields of biblical studies, rabbinics, medieval Jewish philosophy, Hasidism, and mysticism. Yet his most ambitious scholarly achievement, his three-volume study of Rabbinic Judaism, is only now appearing in English. Heschel's great insight is that the world of rabbinic thought can be divided into two types or schools, those of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael, and that the historic disputes between the two are based on fundamental differences over the nature of revelation and religion. Furthermore, this disagreement constitutes a basic and necessary ongoing polarity within Judaism between immanence and transcendence, mysticism and rationalism, neo-Platonism and Aristotelianism. Heschel then goes on to show how these two fundamental theologies of revelation may be used to interpret a great number of topics central to Judaism. Gordon Tucker is senior rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York, and Adjunct Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] [jyt] THE INEFFABLE NAME OF GOD: MAN
Poems in Yiddish and English
By Abraham Joshue Heschel
Translated by Morton Leifman, Introduction by Edward Kaplan

December 23, 2004, Continuumbooks.com.
These 66 poems, here in English and Yiddish on facing pages, were collected in the first book Abraham Joshua Heschel ever published. They appeared in Warsaw in 1933 when Heschel was 26 years old and still a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Berlin. Written between 1927 and 1933-and never published in English before-this is the intimate spiritual diary of a devout European Jew, loyal to the revelation at Sinai and afflicted with reverence for all human beings. These poems sound themes that will resonate throughout Heschel's later popular writings: human holiness, a passion for truth, awe and wonder before nature, God's quest for righteousness, solidarity with the downtrodden, and unwavering commitment to tikkun olam. In these poems we also discover a young man's acute loneliness, dismay at God's distance, and dreams of spiritual and sensual intimacy with a woman. Cynthia Ozick writes, "To discover that the religious philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel was a poet in his youth is both startling and indelibly self-evident-startling because the poems have so far eluded the anthologies; and at the same time familiarly manifest, in that Heschel's metaphysical writings themselves carry the impress of poetry. Like Herbert, like Donne, like Blake, he is God-haunted; his lyrics are steeped in the mystic's longing to tear away the curtain that conceals the divine radiance and (sometimes) God's tears." Arthur Hertzberg writes, "Abraham Joshua Heschel's first calling as a writer was to become in his early twenties a major poet in Yiddish. In this earliest work, Heschel stated all the themes of his later development as a religious thinker and passionate Jew. This work is now translated magnificently, in a way that is sensitive to Heschel's Yiddish, by Morton Leifman. Taken together, in the original Yiddish and in contemporary English, this book is a classic." People's eyes wait for me / Like candle wicks for a light
Shamed brothers beg my help / Deceived sisters dream of consolation And it seems to em that I will, in time
Move on through this earth
With the brightness of all the stars
In my eyes

Click the book cover above to read more.










[book] FOR THE SAKE OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
THE NEW ENCOUNTER BETWEEN JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY
by Rabbi Yitz Greenberg Irving Greenberg
Summer 2004, Jewish Publication Society.
Rabbi Greenberg's new book makes an invaluable contribution to interfaith conversation. He calls for Christians and Jews to come together in their continuously evolving partnership with God-dual covenants that demand "openness to each other, learning from each other, and a respect for the distinctiveness of the ongoing validity of each other." Now, when the resurgence of anti-Semitism poses a threat to Jews here and around the world, this powerful book presents a new opportunity to heed the call first put forward by Rabbi Greenberg nearly four decades ago: a call for people of all faiths and cultures to work together to create a world in which everyone can live with dignity and equality-the deserved inheritance of a humanity created in the image of God. In the first half of his book, Rabbi Greenberg takes us on his personal journey to a rethinking of Christianity, which ultimately gave rise to his belief that Christianity, Judaism (and every religion that works to repair the world and advance the triumph of life) are valid expressions of the pact between God and humankind. In Part 2 he brings together for the first time his seven most important essays on the new encounters between Judaism and Christianity. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] You Are My Witness
The Living Words of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer
Edited by Jane Isay, Writings from Marshall T. Meyer and Naomi Meyer
September 2004.
St Martins Press.
Marshall Meyer, who died at age 64 in 1993, was a human rights leader and a powerful voice for justice. People flocked to hear him in Argentina, where he served as a rabbi for twenty-five years. In the mid-1980's, he became the spiritual leader of the fastest growing Jewish congregation in the U.S., Congregation B'Nai Jeshurun. People like Sam Freedman, Richard Bernstein, and Jan Hoffman of the New York Times are members. Harvey Cox, Elie Wiesel, and William Sloan Coffin were close friends. After the rabbi's untimely death, Jane Isay had urged his widow, Naomi Meyer, partner in faith and action, to create a book from his writings so that his voice would not be silenced forever. Instead of finding the yellowing pages of rabbinic prose or the dry papers of a rabbi-scholar, Jane Isay encountered a powerful voice that implores readers to see the cruelty of our greedy world, begging them to understand the pain of the oppressed, urging them to awaken from their slumber of inactivity, and directing them to act for justice out of respect for the great prophetic vision that is the Jewish gift to civilization. There is a long Jewish tradition of master rabbis, who attract large followings through their lives and whose teachings live long after they die. The writings collected in this gem of a book combine the best of Jewish prophecy with social action and a great sense of joyfulness.
Pubishers Weekly writes, "When Meyer died in 1993, he was only 64 years old, but it was as if he had already lived two very full lives. In the first, he worked as a rabbi in Argentina for 25 years and spoke out frequently against the repressive government. He founded Latin America's first rabbinical seminary and ran an "underground railroad" that helped people escape the country. In the second, he resuscitated a dying synagogue on Manhattan's Upper West Side and made it one of the most outspoken, active and thriving Jewish congregations in America. Isay, who was one of Meyer's New York congregants, brings her professional skills as an editor to bear on his considerable corpus of papers, which startled her with their power and relevance. "I felt as if I were encountering a burning bush on every page," she records in the book's introduction. Isay organizes the book into six basic spiritual themes-faith, confronting God in world events, war and peace, prayer, holy days and the "lessons of Argentina." In the brief excerpts, Meyer tells stories, preaches about justice and draws on biblical prophets like Amos, whom he affectionately calls "a subversive Jew." This is a powerful, fitting tribute to a man who "loved Judaism most because of its intolerance of cruelty.""
Click the book cover above to read more.






[book] [mark borovitz] The Holy Thief
A Con Man's Journey from Darkness to Light
by Rabbi Mark Borovitz, and Alan Eisenstock
William Morrow; (August 17, 2004)
Save your "all rabbis are con artists" jokes for the sisterhood meetings, baby.
At the age of 14, (Rabbi) Borovitz began selling stolen goods for the Cleveland mob to help support his family after his father's death. At 20, he started carrying a gun, but his "weapon of choice was a checkbook." He got into insurance frauds, armed robbery, and kiting checks. When two mobsters he had scammed put a hit out on him, Borovitz moved to Los Angeles and continued his life of "hustling, drinking, and madness." From 1982 to 1988, Borovitz, a Jew, was in and out of prison. In 1987, in the state prison in Chino, California, he began studying the Torah, was married in 1990 (to the co founder of Beit Teshuva), and, in the mid-1990s, ordained as a rabbi (University of Judaism). (His older brother Neal is also a Rabbi) He's now the spiritual leader of the chaplaincy at Beit T'Shuvah, the Los Angeles treatment center lauded by President Bush as faith-based initiative at its best. It is an in-patient rehab center in Los Angeles, designed to serve Jewish drug and alcohol addicts. Reading like fiction, it's nevertheless a true story. Mark Oppenheimer, writing for NextBook, wrote, "Rabbi Mark Borovitz's memoir of how prison Torah study turned an alcoholic grifter and check-kiter into a successful rehabilitator of Jewish cokeheads, gamblers, and other addicts, is a blustering and grandiose book, marred by clichés and solecisms. And yet I liked The Holy Thief: A Con Man's Journey from Darkness to Light, very much. There have been so many bad recovery memoirs cultivating readers' cynicism that one can forget how amazing the redemption of a human soul is; something about the blunt, antiliterary voice of Borovitz (or, more probably, his co-writer, Alan Eisenstock) perfectly conveys the hustler, the tough Jew who turns his talent for persuasion to better ends." Click the book cover above to read more.




[book] ASK THE BIBLE
The 400 Most Commonly Asked Questions About the Old Testament
by Rabbi Morry Sofer
Schreiber Publishing, Inc.; (September 25, 2004)
Who were The three patriarchs of Israel? The three matriarchs? The first three kings of Israel? The place where the law was given to Israelites? Name The city of David? Who was Nahum? Was Joel a prophet? Who was he? Why are Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jeremiah considered "literary" prophets? Why did Judah last longer than Israel? In 1 Samuel, why didn't the ark of the covenant protect Israel's army? Was the brass erpent of Moses magical? Why is Psalm 18, a war psalm, included in the peaceful Book of Psalms? Does David proclaim himself a son of God in Psalm 2? "Ask the Bible" looks at questions people everywhere have been asking for ages. The answers respect all faiths. Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut has already praised this clear, well written book. Many questions reach deeply into human existence, ranging from the origins of the universe to the problem of good and evil. The purpose of this book is to look at the questions that have been most often asked by all sorts of people, from biblical scholars to people with very little knowledge of the Bible, and through an honest discussion, based on general and unbiased knowledge and the opinions of many scholars throughout the ages, offer sensible answers which hopefully will help the reader form his or her own view, and thereby gain a better understanding of the Bible. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] The Lord Is My Shepherd
by Rabbi HAROLD S. KUSHNER
Now in Paperback
Anchor; Summer 2004
A new book of practical spirituality, of inspiration and encouragement gleaned from what may be the best-known and best-loved chapter in the Bible: the Twenty-third Psalm. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." So begins the psalm that, for millennia, has been a source of comfort in grief and of courage in fear. Now Harold Kushner discovers what it has to teach us about living our day-to-day lives. Each chapter discusses one line of the psalm in the context of both the time when it was written and the present day, and illuminates the life lessons contained within it. For example, Kushner shows us that the phrase "My cup runneth over" is a declaration of our gratitude for what life has given us and a rejection of the envy we may feel for what others have. And he draws on the ideas and thoughts of various spiritual figures-from G. K. Chesterton to Martin Buber to Paul Tillich-to further expand our understanding of this great psalm and help us benefit from its everyday spiritual wisdom. Harold S. Kushner is Rabbi Laureate of Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts, where he lives. This is his ninth book. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] FLOATING TAKES FAITH
Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World
by Rabbi DAVID WOLPE
Behrman; September 2004
When Rabbi Wolpe isn't busy telling his Los Angeles congregants to be more patient at the kiddush cake and pastry tables, he writes informative books. After six years away from the literary scene, Rabbi David J. Wolpe has returned with a remarkable collection of intellectually powerful and thoughtful essays--the best of his five years of writing for the New York Jewish Week. Wolpe explores Jewish tradition as it has shaped his own life experiences--as the grandson of an immigrant, as a student of world history, and as a person living a Jewish life in a diverse and evolving society. Drawing on the insights of sources as diverse as Robert Frost, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Lily Tomlin, and Ernest Hemingway, Wolpe brings together a remarkably varied group of writers and thinkers, combining their insights with his own into a series of keen and penetrating observations about the world in which we live. Wolpe focuses his spiritual and intellectual microscope on such unlikely companions as Louis XIV and King David, Beowulf and Ezekiel. Paradoxically, it is his keen eye for details such as the books in his father's library, and the observations of physicist Richard Feynman on the sources of creativity, that allow him to offer us a broad, panoramic view of our world. He creates a bridge between the lessons of these literary and historical figures, together with the lessons from his own life, and the modern American Jewish experience.
Here is an excerpt of one of his MUSINGS: Jewish events are notorious for starting late. The clock seems to move all too swiftly for this people whose span is measured not in minutes but in millennia. So we are leisurely about beginnings. The Zionist leader Nahum Goldmann once said, "I tried my whole life to come late to a Jewish meeting and never succeeded." Strangely, however, Jewish law depends on precision in the measurement of time. Sabbaths and holidays have specific starting times. Ritual observances such as mourning have definite time-bound cycles. We seem caught between the rigor of ritual and the languor of social occasions. Perhaps each clock counterbalances the other. Centuries of wandering do not always permit a fixed and insistent attitude toward time. Flexibility and patience are virtues cultivated by our uneasy history. Still, we did not allow tribulation to override obligation. For all the uncertainty in the world, there was certainty in our souls. Our spiritual clocks remain fine-tuned. Insistent on the rhythms of our devotion, we have also made allowances for the unpredictability of circumstance. In other words, often it is a matter of finding parking.
Click the book cover above to read more.




[book] In the Beginning
A Short History of the Hebrew Language
by Rabbi Joel M. Hoffman
August 2004. NYU Press.
Hebrew as a language is just over 3,000 years old, and the story of its alphabet is unique among the languages of the world. Hebrew set the stage for almost every modern alphabet, and was arguably the first written language simple enough for everyone, not just scribes, to learn, making it possible to make a written record available to the masses for the first time. Written language has existed for so many years-since around 3500 BCE-that most of us take it for granted. But as Hoffman reveals in this entertaining and informative work, even the idea that speech can be divided into units called "words" and that these words can be represented with marks on a page, had to be discovered. As Hoffman points out, almost every modern system of writing descends from Hebrew; by studying the history of this language, we can learn a good deal about how we express ourselves today. Hoffman follows and decodes the adventure that is the history of Hebrew, illuminating how the written record has survived, the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient translations, and attempts to determine how the language actually sounded. He places these developments into a historical context, and shows their continuing impact on the modern world. This sweeping history traces Hebrew's development as one of the first languages to make use of vowels. Hoffman also covers the dramatic story of the rebirth of Hebrew as a modern, spoken language. Packed with lively information about language and linguistics and history, In the Beginning is essential reading for both newcomers and scholars interested in learning more about Hebrew and languages in general. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book] FOR THE SAKE OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
THE NEW ENCOUNTER BETWEEN JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY
by Rabbi Yitz Greenberg Irving Greenberg
Summer 2004, Jewish Publication Society.
Rabbi Greenberg's new book makes an invaluable contribution to interfaith conversation. He calls for Christians and Jews to come together in their continuously evolving partnership with God-dual covenants that demand "openness to each other, learning from each other, and a respect for the distinctiveness of the ongoing validity of each other." Now, when the resurgence of anti-Semitism poses a threat to Jews here and around the world, this powerful book presents a new opportunity to heed the call first put forward by Rabbi Greenberg nearly four decades ago: a call for people of all faiths and cultures to work together to create a world in which everyone can live with dignity and equality-the deserved inheritance of a humanity created in the image of God. In the first half of his book, Rabbi Greenberg takes us on his personal journey to a rethinking of Christianity, which ultimately gave rise to his belief that Christianity, Judaism (and every religion that works to repair the world and advance the triumph of life) are valid expressions of the pact between God and humankind. In Part 2 he brings together for the first time his seven most important essays on the new encounters between Judaism and Christianity. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] RENEWING JEWISH FAITH
by Rabbi Irwin Groner, Rabbi of Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Southfield MI.
August 2004. University of Michigan Press.
Lively. It addresses Jewish values and beliefs in a collection of sermons. In FOLK, the first section, the book addresses family, faith, freedom, forgiveness, and the future. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] Eyewitness to Jewish History
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
John Wiley & Sons, Summer 2004
Rabbi Blech is a best selling, prolific Jewish author, and a respected teacher at Yeshiva University. In Eyewitness to Jewish History, Rabbi Benjamin Blech takes you aboard a literary time machine in which you'll do more than read about major events in Jewish history--you'll witness them, take part in them, and feel their deep and lasting impact. Featuring hundreds of excerpts from diaries, journals, letters, newspaper accounts, public testimony, official communications, and ancient documents such as the Torah, this unique chronicle provides memorable snapshots of daily life from biblical times to the modern day. These vivid and passionately written accounts, arranged in chronological order, transport you across space and time to witness: The birth of the Jewish people; The building and destruction of the two Temples; The struggle to survive in the early years of the Diaspora; The Golden Age of Spain; Persecutions and expulsions throughout Europe; The horrors of the Holocaust; The founding of the modern state of Israel; and much more. Traveling in this literary time machine, you'll meet Abraham and witness the birth of the Jewish people, flee with Moses from Egypt and ascend Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, and struggle with the prophet Samuel over the formation of the Kingdom of Judea. You'll be there the first time the Torah is translated from Hebrew into another language, labor with Talmudic scholars to preserve and interpret Judaic Oral Law, and revel in Jewish accomplishments during the Golden Age of Spain. A good Bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah gift. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book] The Hasidic Masters' Guide to Management
by Moshe Kranc
Pitsopany Devorah
Combines Hasidic stories and parables, the insightful cartoon satire of Dilbert, and modern day examples from the corporate world, to create a readable and practical guide for both the novice and experienced manager. It's all here. The art of - Motivating and Communicating, Setting Realistic Objectives, Hiring and Firing, Measuring Performance, Developing Dedicated People, Handling Success and Failure, Dealing with the Competition. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book] Spiritually Healing the Indigo Children
by Rabbi Wayne Dosick, and Ellen Kaufman
Jodere Group
Rabbi Wayne Dosick is the Spiritual Guide of The Elijah Minyan and an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including The Golden Rules: The Ten Ethical Values Parents Need to Teach Their Children and Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice. A popular speaker and workshop leader, Rabbi Dosick speaks to the audience across the country about spiritual and ethical issues. In this book and manual, he and his wife, find solutions for raising the kids do not fit in, who are emotional and feeling, who are old souls, and who are pigeon-holed by others into ADD ADHD and ODD groupings and drugged with Ritalin. This books should be read by educators and anyone who knows an ADHD child or adult. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] Eyewitness to Jewish History
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
August 2004. Wiley.
Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] THE RABBI OF 84TH STREET
THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF HASKEL BESSER
by WARREN KOZAK
July 2004. HarperCollins.
At age 81, Rabbi Besser, a scholar of classical music, Hassidism and Jewish law, still holds a daily Torah class at 6:30 am at a very tiny shtibl on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This is the story of this remarkable and loved man. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] The Eternal Journey
Meditations on the Jewish Year
by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, New North London Synagogue
Spring 2004. Aviv.
In this series of essays organized around the Jewish calendar, Jonathan Wittenberg engages with moral and theological questions -- the relationship between God and the Holocaust, humanity's responsibility for its actions, the transience of life -- in language that is both precise and passionate. His meditations on the wonders of the natural world and the impact of intergenerational memory invite readers to consider the religious essence of everyday life. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] Our Haven and Our Strength
The Book of Psalms
by Rabbi Martin Samuel Cohen (Shelter Rock Jewish Center)
Spring 2004. Aviv.
This edition of the Book of Psalms features the Hebrew text with a fresh gender-neutral translation, inviting readers to experience the poetry of each psalm. Rabbi Martin S. Cohen's probing commentary focuses on the spiritual intent of each psalm and bridges the worldview of the psalmist with the perspective of the modern reader. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] Introducing My Faith and My Community
The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide for the Christian in a Jewish Interfaith Relationship
by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky
June 2004. Jewish Lights.
PW writes: The premise of this welcome wagon for Christians with Jewish partners or relatives derives from the Jewish value of welcoming the stranger. In a personable, accessible manner, Olitzky, author and director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, explains the profound concepts that differentiate Judaism from other religions, from its diverse views of God and perspectives on resurrection to its holidays and food. The basic concepts he outlines can be a first step to sharing a "common language for family conversations, celebrations and ceremonies," creating a sense of comfort instead of alienation. The book is divided into four chapters that Olitzky describes as the cornerstones of Judaism: faith, values, culture and community. Because some Jews may identify only with one aspect of Judaism, non-Jews don't often understand why Jewishness remains critical to those who don't practice it faithfully, "probably the biggest disconnect about Judaism for non-Jews." He outlines the differences in observance among the denominations of Judaism and calls community both a powerful force of goodness as well as a potentially forbidding and difficult place to enter. "Next steps" for deeper understanding and a glossary round out the basics. Olitzky's inviting take on Judaism-especially its theological underpinnings- makes for engrossing reading. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] [mark borovitz] The Holy Thief
A Con Man's Journey from Darkness to Light
by Rabbi Mark Borovitz, and Alan Eisenstock
William Morrow; (August 17, 2004)
Save your "all rabbis are con artists" jokes for the sisterhood meetings, baby.
At the age of 14, (Rabbi) Borovitz began selling stolen goods for the Cleveland mob to help support his family after his father's death. At 20, he started carrying a gun, but his "weapon of choice was a checkbook." He got into insurance frauds, armed robbery, and kiting checks. When two mobsters he had scammed put a hit out on him, Borovitz moved to Los Angeles and continued his life of "hustling, drinking, and madness." From 1982 to 1988, Borovitz, a Jew, was in and out of prison. In 1987, in the state prison in Chino, California, he began studying the Torah, was married in 1990 (to the co founder of Beit Teshuva), and, in the mid-1990s, ordained as a rabbi (University of Judaism). (His older brother Neal is also a Rabbi) He's now the spiritual leader of the chaplaincy at Beit T'Shuvah, the Los Angeles treatment center lauded by President Bush as faith-based initiative at its best. It is an in-patient rehab center in Los Angeles, designed to serve Jewish drug and alcohol addicts. Reading like fiction, it's nevertheless a true story. Mark Oppenheimer, writing for NextBook, wrote, "Rabbi Mark Borovitz's memoir of how prison Torah study turned an alcoholic grifter and check-kiter into a successful rehabilitator of Jewish cokeheads, gamblers, and other addicts, is a blustering and grandiose book, marred by clichés and solecisms. And yet I liked The Holy Thief: A Con Man's Journey from Darkness to Light, very much. There have been so many bad recovery memoirs cultivating readers' cynicism that one can forget how amazing the redemption of a human soul is; something about the blunt, antiliterary voice of Borovitz (or, more probably, his co-writer, Alan Eisenstock) perfectly conveys the hustler, the tough Jew who turns his talent for persuasion to better ends." Click the book cover above to read more.




[book] The Eternal Journey
Our Haven and Our Strength
The Book of Psalms
by Rabbi Martin Samuel Cohen (Shelter Rock Jewish Center)
Spring 2004. Aviv.
This edition of the Book of Psalms features the Hebrew text with a fresh gender-neutral translation, inviting readers to experience the poetry of each psalm. Rabbi Martin S. Cohen's probing commentary focuses on the spiritual intent of each psalm and bridges the worldview of the psalmist with the perspective of the modern reader. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] You Are My Witness
The Living Words of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer
Edited by Jane Isay, Writings from Marshall T. Meyer and Naomi Meyer
September 2004.
St Martins Press.
Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] CONTEMPORARY ORTHODOX JUDAISM'S RESPONSE TO MODERNITY
by Rabbi Barry Freundel
April 2004, Ktav
Freundel, who counts former presidential candidate Joe Lieberman among his Washington, D.C., congregants, invites readers, Jewish and non-Jewish, to gain a better understanding of Jewish law, tradition and belief in his succinct but thorough analyses of 31 different topics crucial to Orthodox Judaism, such as teshuvah (repentance), Israel, prayer and Shabbat and Kashrut. Each chapter summarizes the central sources upon which the Halakhah (Jewish law) is based in clear, understandable terms and explains the development of the tradition as well as its practical application in today's world. Additionally, Freundel provides all the relevant Orthodox opinions on the matter, including those that he or the law ultimately rejects, and elucidates how and why Jewish law maintains its ancient positions even as modernity infringes on them. He does not shy away from or gloss over sensitive or controversial issues; instead he seems eager to take them on and debunk popular myths, including the widespread notions that Judaism considers women inferior and that Jews do not believe in an afterlife. Even though most chapters number only a few pages, his essays are accurate, entirely to the point, easy to finish without losing interest and convenient to pick up or put down at any time. Freundel's evident mastery of the vast breadth of materials within Jewish thought and law combined with his eloquent and cogent writing makes for an exceptionally worthwhile, inspirational and instructive work that no informed person should be without. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover] EYES TO SEE
Recovering Ethical Torah Principles Lost in the Holocaust
by Rabbi Yom Tov Schwarz
April 2004. URIM
Rabbi Yom Tov Schwarz was born in Oswencim (Auschwitz), Poland in 1921. Recognized at a young age as a scholar and child prodigy, he entered the famed Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin at the age of fifteen. After miraculously surviving over two years in ghettos and two years in concentration camps, Rabbi Schwarz became the Chief Rabbi of Luneburg, Germany in 1947. He settled in the US in 1951 and has served as the Rav of K'hal Nachlas Yaakov for the past forty years. Eyes to See is a courageous call for fundamental change in the Torah-observant community. In it, the author calls for the abolition of a dangerous new phenomenon - the tendency among various Orthodox groups to establish their own insulated networks of schools and other institutions - because divisiveness and discord are a natural consequence of this factionalism within Jewish society. He implores Orthodox Jewry to designate a fast day in remembrance of the Holocaust, as indifference to the greatest tragedy in Jewish history can only sow cruelty and breed immorality. The author also calls upon Orthodox Jewry to re-assess the manner in which we relate both to our non-religious brethren and our non-Jewish neighbors, highlighting the Torah's command that we be compassionate and honest with all people, and that we strive to glorify G-d's Name and bring honor to the Torah by the manner in which we behave in even the most mundane aspects of our daily lives. Eyes to See: Recovering Ethical Torah Principles Lost in the Holocaust was written with the goal of restoring integrity, compassion, unity and kiddush HaShem to their central role in the observance of Torah and mitzvos, as Halacha demands. It paints a magnificent view of traditional Judaism, revealing that morality and ethics, honesty and integrity, and compassion and kindness are so basic to authentic Torah Judaism that they define Jewishness itself. This work also includes an incisive analysis of how the pre-Holocaust rabbinic infrastructure was destroyed and never rebuilt and lays out a framework for regaining the trust and respect rabbinical courts ought to have.





[book] More Money Than God
Living a Rich Life Without Losing Your Soul
by Steven Z. Leder, Rabbi of the Wilshire Boulevard Synagogue (HUC-JIR, 1987)
January 2004. Bonus Books
Explores how money affects our families, friends, work, loves, ethics, and feelings of self-worth. Where does money lust come from? How do you teach your children the value of money and giving? What do you do when money is tearing apart your marriage or relationship? How do you deal with losing money through death, divorce, or job loss? "More Money Than God" will show you how to balance your life as carefully as your bank account. Readers will learn why money and spirituality are not mutually exclusive and, as many unscrupulous company heads are discovering, why you must conduct your business affairs as if God were the ultimate CEO. With the guidance of this book, readers will learn: How to keep money from being a focal point; How to understand the difference between wants and needs; What kind of moral code to live by while seeking the comfort that money brings; How to teach children well, not wealth; How much is too much. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book] THE JEWISH STUDY BIBLE
Featuring the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation
EDITED BY ADELE BERLIN (Maryland) and MARC ZVI BRETTLER (BRANDEIS)
Oxford University Press. January 2004.
Oxford University Press breaks exciting new ground in the field of study Bibles with The Jewish Study Bible. This innovative volume will, for the first time, offer readers of the Hebrew Bible a resource that is specifically tailored to meet their needs. It offers readers the fruits of various schools of Jewish traditions of biblical exegesis (rabbinic, medieval, mystical, etc.) and provides them with a wealth of ancillary materials that aid in bringing the ancient text to life. The nearly forty contributors to the work represent the cream of Jewish biblical scholarship from the world over. The JSB uses The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation, whose name is an acronym formed from the Hebrew initials of the three sections into which the Hebrew Bible is traditionally divided (Torah, Instruction; Nevi'im, Prophets; and Kethubim, Writings). A committee of esteemed biblical scholars and rabbis from the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism movements produced this modern translation, which dates from 1985. Unlike other English translations based upon such ancient versions as the Septuagint and Vulgate, which emend the Hebrew text, TANAKH is faithful to the original text. Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, professors, students, rabbis: indeed, anyone interested in acquiring a fuller understanding of the riches of the Hebrew Bible will profit from reading The Jewish Study Bible. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book] A GUIDE TO THE ZOHAR
By Rabbi Arthur Green, the Philip W. Lown Professor of Jewish Thought at Brandeis University.
January 2004. Stanford University Press.
The Zohar is the great medieval compendium of Jewish esoteric and mystical teaching, and the basis of the kabbalistic faith. It is, however, a notoriously difficult text, full of hidden codes, concealed meanings, obscure symbols, and ecstatic expression. This illuminating study, based upon the last several decades of modern Zohar scholarship, unravels the historical and intellectual origins of this rich text and provides an excellent introduction to its themes, complex symbolism, narrative structure, and language. A Guide to the Zohar is thus an invaluable companion to the Zohar itself, as well as a useful resource for scholars and students interested in mystical literature, particularly that of the west, from the Middle Ages to the present. Topics include: The Kabbalistic Tradition: A Brief History Until the Zohar; Teachings of the Kabbalists: The Ten Sefirot; The Zohar: Midrash on the Torah; The Zohar Narrative; Mysticism of the Zohar; The Zohar in Historical Context; Selected Themes within the Zohar: Creation and Origins, Between Worlds, Evil and the Demonic, Torah and Revelation, The Commandments, Avodah : The Life of Worship, The Tsaddiq and the Life of Piety, ....; The Question of Authorship; The Language of the Zohar; and the Influence and Canonization of the Zohar. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] THE JEWISH PREGNANCY BOOK
A Resource for the Soul, Body & Mind during Pregnancy, Birth and the First Three Months.
By Dr. Sandy Falk and Rabbi Daniel Judson, with Steven A. Rapp
September 2003. Jewish Lights.
Falk, a physician and Harvard Medical School instructor in OB/Gyn; Rapp, author of Alef-Bet Yoga; and Judson, the author of Rituals and Practices of a Jewish Life, meet an important need with this resource book for creating and renewing Jewish prayers and rituals for this miraculous and challenging times in life. Prayers from generations past are revived. Medical information is shared. Pre-natal alef-bet yoga is taught, with pictures from early and late state pregnancy. For each stage of pregnancy and beyond, the authors provide prayers, resources, and meditations, and they are mindful of the anxieties you will feel about the dangerous less positive outcomes. Also discusses topics including miscarriages and selective fetus reduction/selection. (note.. the book seems to end abruptly) Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] [signs books] Wrestling With God and Men
Homosexuality and the Jewish Tradition
by Rabbi Steven Greenberg
Late Spring 2004. University of Wisconsin Press
Greenberg is an Orthodox rabbi who is also an out gay person. He realized he was gay at an early age, but sublimated his feelings toward his other passion, the study of Torah. The yeshiva environment allowed him to throw himself into study in an intense male community, where sexuality was placed a distant second to immersion in Torah. Greenberg received his B.A. from Yeshiva University but doubts about his sexuality began to plague him. While studying abroad in Israel, he sought out a highly respected Orthodox rabbi, Rav Eliashuv, and told him "I am attracted to both men and women! What should I do?" Eliashuv answered: "My dear one, then you have twice the power of love. Use it carefully." Shocked and exhilarated by this response, Greenberg decided to go on in his spiritual life and seek ordination as an Orthodox rabbi. He graduated from Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). But even as a practicing rabbi, he knew his journey was still not complete. Deep in the closet, he practiced celibacy, trying to find a way to balance his commitment to halakhah with what he saw as his God-given identity as a gay man. The first step was to publish an article, Gayness and God pseudonymously in Tikkun Magazine. In it, he discusses the halakhic issues surrounding Jewish discussions of sexuality, and the hope of a welcoming, observant Judaism for all Jews. The publication of the article gave him the strength he needed, and he came out thereafter in American and Israeli Jewish publications. Much of the Orthodox community, including his colleagues at RIETS, were angered. But he has been shown support by and given support to the increasing number of Orthodox Jews wishing to live observant and truthful lives. He was prominently featured in the documentary Trembling Before G-d, the first such film about Orthodox gay Jews. In this book, Rabbi Greenberg explores the Torah and Homosexuality, Leviticus 18:22, the love between David and Jonathan, the creation of Eve and Adam, the story of the destruction of Sodom, David's sister, and the nexus of Jewishness and sexuality. Some reviewers take issue with Greenberg's use of the words "perhaps" and "maybe" when it comes to discussing the Torah, but I assume they have never been in a Torah study class. Click to read more.






[book] TAKING STOCK
A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life's Financial Ups and Downs
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Yeshiva University
October 2003. AMACOM.
Rabbi Blech has written three books in the "idiot" guides series. Rabbi Blech was a poor rabbi, but he played the market in the Nineties. HE WAS A PAPER MILLIONAIRE. When the market crashed, when the internet bubble burst, he wiped out. His nest egg disappeared. His self worth was measured by the market. He worshipped the golden calf of the DJIA and NASDAQ. He fell into a depression. Who wouldn't? But he looked at cemetery headstones and realized they said good father and son, and not millionaire. He bounced back from his depression and wrote this book. What is it about money that not only makes us feel secure but also drives us to measure our true worth by our financial standing? Whether we've experienced unmet monetary goals, job loss, or outright financial crisis, too many of us have let the stress of financial issues obscure our higher priorities. Taking Stock is a revelatory book filled with the wisdom and practical tools to move toward a view of life in which success is defined by spiritual clarity, not by the promises money seldom delivers. The author has been through his own rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags saga, through which he learned money's true place and value. Examples from his own experience and from community and business life are sprinkled with teachings from the world's religions -- not to mention a healthy dose of common sense. To the religious and nonobservant alike, Taking Stock reveals: the role money plays in our lives; why we envy others for things we don't need; the difference between failure and failing; and how to "start over" using new definitions of success and happiness. The book closes with Prescriptions for Each Day of the Week, each one an inspiring and beautiful story with a gentle, clear moral. With compassion, humor, and profound wisdom, Taking Stock gives readers not only a way to cope, but also a deep appreciation for what they have -- not what they're missing.
The promotional lit for the book promotes the idea that the Bible is Better Than Buffet. Well... I would go with Buffet, since he has a proven track record, and it is easy to pull out biblical quotes to justify any investment. I, for one, enjoyed Chapter 11 the best. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book] THE JEWISH APPROACH to GOD
A Brief Introduction for Christians
By Rabbi Neil Gillman (JTS)
October 2003. Jewish Lights.
A window in to the Jewish understanding of God throughout history: God is Echad (one); God is power; God is Person; God is Nice (sometimes); God is Not Nice (sometimes); God Can Change; God Creates; God Redeems; and God Reveals. How does sin stand in the way of knowing God? What does Judaism teach about the coming of God in the future? Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] My People's Prayer Book, Volume 7
Shabbat at Home
Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries
Edited by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman

October 2003. Jewish Lights. The Seventh volume in the eight volume series of My People's Prayer Book.
Essay Authors include Marc Brettler, Michael Chernick, Elliot Dorff, David Ellenson, Ellen Frankel, Alyssa Gray, Joel M. Hoffman, Lawrence A. Hoffman, Lawrence Kushner, Daniel Landes, and Nehemia Polen.

Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 6: Tachanun and Concluding Prayers. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 5: Birkhot Hashachar, Morning Blessings. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 4: Seder K'Riat HaTorah. The Shabbat Torah Service. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 3: The Morning Psalms. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 2: The Amidah. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 1: The Shma and It's Blessings. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman


[book] ADAM AND EVE'S FIRST SUNSET
GOD'S NEW DAY
By Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (rabbi of Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis)
Fall 2003. Jewish Lights. For ages 4 and up
The sky grew dark and the sun began to set on the first day of Adam and Eve, together. Why was God taking away the sun? How would the plants grow, how would Adam and Eve stay warm? With their first sunset, Adam and Eve must face fear, and feel hope and faith, goodness, and protection. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] THE FIRST STEPS TO A NEW JEWISH SPIRIT
Reb Zalman's Guide to Recapturing Intimacy and Ecstasy in Your Relationship To God
By Rabbi Zalman M. Schacter-Shalomi with Donald Gropman
October 2003. Jewish Lights.
An updated reissued classic handbook that restores psychic and physical vigor by introducing readers to new models and alternative, meditative, contemplative, prayer-filled, and active ways of practicing Judaism. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] THE DIVINE SYMPHONY
THE BIBLE'S MANY VOICES
By Israel Knohl (Hebrew University, Hartman Institute)
October 2003. Jewish Publication Society. The author of "The Messiah Before Jesus," Knohl shares his understanding of how the Torah was edited into its final form. He bridges the gap between ancient Israel (c. 1400 - 586 BCE) and Second Temple period (c. 536 BCE - 70 CE) by showing the continuity between those eras and the gradual evolution of the biblical worldview, which formed the foundation of later Rabbinic Judaism. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book] This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared:
The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation
by Alan Lew, SF Congregation Beth Shalom
by Rabbi Alan Lew
September 2003. Little Brown. I read Lew's first book, "One God Clapping" before the High Holy Days a few years ago. And now, in time for Rosh Hashanah and the Yomim Noraim, Rabbi Lew has published a new book on change and transformation. There are moments in life when one is caught utterly unprepared: a death in the family, the end of a relationship, a health crisis. These are times when the solid ground we thought we stood on disappears beneath our feet, and we turn to faith to help us find our way back. Rabbi Lew has taken the beauty and power of the High Holy Days rituals and made of them a journey of seven distinct stages that will touch the spirit of all readers in search of inner transformation (starting at Tisha b'Av). Rabbi Lew weaves together Torah readings, Buddhist parables, and Jewish fables and stories from his own life, to lay bare the meanings of this ancient Jewish passage. Drawing on both his rabbinical training and his scholarship in Buddhism, Lew leads readers on a journey from confusion to clarity, from doubt to belief, as he opens a path to self-discovery that is accessible to readers of all faiths. He says, the lesson of the High Holy Days is, "We are not prepared for out lives." It is a beginning, not a conclusion. Reaching out to other and to God is a solution. The book unveils the deeper meanings of the High Holidays, enabling Jews and believers of all kinds to reconnect to their faith with a vibrancy and intimacy that will resonate throughout the year. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AND YOURSELF
A Jewish Approach to Modern Personal Ethics
By Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff (University of Judaism)
September 2003. Jewish Publication Society. In this, his third JPS book on modern ethics, Elliot Dorff focuses on personal ethics, Judaism's distinctive way of understanding human nature, our role in life, and what we should strive to be -- both as individuals and as members of a community. Dorff presents dilemmas and challenges confronting the individual in relation to others. He addresses specific moral issues: privacy, particularly at work and as it is affected by the Internet and other modern technologies; sex inside and outside of marriage; family matters, such as adoption, surrogate motherhood, stepfamilies, divorce, parenting, and family violence; homosexuality; justice, mercy, and forgiveness; and charitable acts and social action. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book] THE WOMEN'S HAFATARAH COMMENTARY
THE WOMEN'S HAFTARAH COMMENTARY
New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Haftarah Portions, the 5 Megillot and Special Shabbatot.
Edited By Rabbi Elyse Goldstein
September 2003. Jewish Lights.
I fell in love with the Women's TORAH Commentary. An instant classic and must have. And now this, for the first time, women's unique perspectives and experiences are applied to the weekly portions and special readings. Includes feminist interpretations of the stories of Yael and Devorah, David and Goliath, David and Batsheva, Jonah and the fish (and female fish), Jerusalem as female, the motif of the whore, and the Witch of Endor. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] ASK THE RABBI
THE WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN WHY AND HOW OF BEING JEWISH
By RON ISAACS, RABBI (JTS, and Temple Shalom of Bridgewater NJ)

September 2003. Does God really have a chosen people? Why should I have a bar/bat mitzvah? Where did the Jewish star come from? Ask the Rabbi answers these and other fascinating questions compiled from real questions that have been asked of Ron Issacs over his 27 years as rabbi and Hebrew High School teacher. Organized into categories such as "Who Are We?", "What Do We Believe In?", and "How Should We Live?", each category features questions and answers written in a warm and humorous style. Parents and children alike will appreciate the author's user-friendly approach as they refer to the various questions that come up in their daily lives. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF CHARACTER
ESSENTIAL ADVICE FOR LIVING AN HONORABLE, ETHICAL, HONEST LIFE
By Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
September 2003. RandomHouse.
Here is a wealth of astute and warmhearted counsel on many of life's most difficult ethical dilemmas. Joseph Telushkin outlines his ten commandments of character, explaining why each one is so vital, and then addresses perplexing issues that can and often do crop up in our lives relating to family, friends, work, community, medical ethics, and money, such as: How honest should you be when you are asked to give a reference? How much assistance should you give your son with his college application essay? Is it wrong to receive a kidney from an executed prisoner in China? What should you do if your father begs you to end his life rather than allow him to descend into the hell of Alzheimer's? Should a brother give up part of his inheritance if his sister has children and considerable expenses and he doesn't? Should a dying woman reveal to her husband that their son is not really his? Many of us are finding it increasingly hard to tread the fine line between right and wrong. In The Ten Commandments of Character, Telushkin faces these issues squarely and shows us how to live a life of true integrity. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] Face Your Fears
Living with Courage in an Age of Caution
Shmuley Boteach
October 2004.
St Martins Press.
Rabbi Boteach, friend to Michael Jackson, Uri Geller, and other B-list pop celebrities, writes on a new topic. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] The Eternal Journey
Meditations on the Jewish Year
by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, New North London Synagogue
Spring 2004. Aviv.
In this series of essays organized around the Jewish calendar, Jonathan Wittenberg engages with moral and theological questions -- the relationship between God and the Holocaust, humanity's responsibility for its actions, the transience of life -- in language that is both precise and passionate. His meditations on the wonders of the natural world and the impact of intergenerational memory invite readers to consider the religious essence of everyday life. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book] The Lord Is My Shepherd: Why Do I Want
Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Soul
by Rabbi Paul Plotkin (Temple Beth Am of Margate Florida)

April 2003. Rabbi Plotkin, the former President (1998-90) of the Rabbinical Assembly of America, explores the Book of Psalms. The Book of Psalms, throughout history, has formed the foundation of prayer liturgy for the great western religions of Judaism and Christianity. Perhaps this is because in most of the books of the Bible, our Creator speaks to us, whereas in Psalms, we speak to Him. The psalmists of old were men and women who experienced the joys, fears, anxieties, and tragedies of human experience. Somehow, no matter the challenge, they were able to find equilibrium through a connection with the Divine. In The Lord Is My Shepherd-Why Do I Still Want?, Rabbi Paul Plotkin captures the voices of the psalmists and amplifies them through stories that will inspire, guide, and comfort modern readers of all religious backgrounds. Click to read more.



[book] Sacred Wounds
Succeeding Because of Life's Pain
by Jan Goldstein (Rabbi Jan Goldstein)
Spring 2003. Regan Books. In this immensely affecting and empowering guide, Jan Goldstein teaches readers how to take their most emotionally painful life events -- their spiritual wounds -- and transform them into a source of power and well-being. Goldstein's life-affirming program is inspired by his own heartbreak: the February morning when he was faced with the sudden news that his twelve-year marriage was ending, leaving Goldstein with primary custody of their three small children. Though paralyzed at first by feelings of loss and depression, Goldstein eventually discovered that the pain allowed him and his children a deeper appreciation for the simple moments of joy -- that his once "broken" family was succeeding not despite its wounds, but because of them. In Sacred Wounds, Goldstein reveals the secret to finding strength in challenging and often traumatic events, outlining a life-changing nine-step process to help readers move through heartache and toward healing. In clear, compassionate language, he refutes the notion of pain as a destroyer, drawing on the compelling stories of many of the people he has counseled along the way: Rick and Sara, who are plagued by infertility; Yvette, an aspiring man who battles her secular desires; Steve, for whom a frightening diagnosis portends the end...and then the beginning of hope. Remarkably affecting and inspiring, Goldstein's stories confirm that we are all well equipped to deal with the inevitable hurts and heartbreaks in life -- if only we release our preconceptions, acknowledge the strengthening power of our wounds, and follow the nine steps to a spiritual rebirth. Indispensable for anyone suffering through spiritual and emotional difficulties, Sacred Wounds is the key to shifting our perceptions and finding new strength and success in the painful experiences we all endure. Click to read more.


[book] The Women's Seder Sourcebook:
Rituals and Readings for Use at the Passover Seder
by Sharon Cohen Anisfeld (Editor), Tara Mohr (Editor), Catherine Spector (Editor)
Jewish Lights. April 2003. In 1993, a group of Yale students gathered for a women's Seder. This is their revised Haggadah AND SOURCEBOOK. Includes contributions from Contributors include: Dr. Rachel Adler Rabbi Renni S. Altman Dr. Rebecca T. Alpert Zoe Baird Dr. Evelyn Torton Beck Susan Berrin Senator Barbara Boxer Dr. Esther Broner Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin Tamara Cohen Anita Diamant Dr. Carol Diament Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, Ph.D. Eve Ensler Dr. Marcia Falk Merle Feld Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick Rabbi Tirzah Firestone Dr. Ellen Frankel Nan Fink Gefen Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb Dr. Susannah Heschel Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar Rabbi Naamah Kelman Naomi Klein Irena Klepfisz Maxine Kumin Rabbi Noa Rachel Kushner Rabbi Joy Levitt Hadassah Lieberman Ruth W. Messinger Dr. Faye Moskowitz Dr. Alicia Suskin Ostriker Dr. Judith Plaskow Marge Piercy Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen Anne Roiphe Danya Ruttenberg Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso The Honorable Jan Schakowsky Rabbi Susan Schnur Rabbi Susan Silverman Dr. Ellen M. Umansky Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg Dr. Chava Weissler Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler.




[book cover] WOMEN IN THE TALMUD
by Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt
February 2003. Published by the Orthodox Union and Art Scroll. An anthology of the Talmud's stories about women, from Seder Zeraim and Moed, as explained by the classic commentators. The role of women in Judaism has become a subject of intense interest - and distortion - in recent years. Many people pontificate about what the Talmud and the Rabbis say on the subject, and back their often misguided claims with quotes that are either misinterpreted or wrenched from their context. Indeed, what does the Talmud say? And what is the true meaning of its sometimes allegorical, always succinct comments? These are the questions that Rabbi Doctor Aaron Glatt undertakes to answer in this anthology. He collects a full range of the Talmud's halachic and aggadic statements about women in the Sedarim (Orders) of Zeraim and Moed, but that is not all. This volume contains not only simply translations, but also full detailed explanations of the passages, drawn from centuries of Talmudic and Rabbinic literature. Often, the author leavens his anthologized commentary with his own original and enlightening observations. The sum total is a book that will educate and fascinate. Most importantly, it presents Judaism's true perspective on the lofty and respected role of women in Judaism.






[book cover] OR HADASH
A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom
by Reuven Hammer
April 15, 2003. 750 pages for Sabbath and festivals. Published by the Rabbinical Assembly. Or Hadash (New Light), a new commentary on the Conservative movement's prayer book, Sim Shalom. It's a book within a book, a commentary wrapped around the prayer book. It's a kind of beginner's service in print, but deeper, with historical context and contemporary commentary running along side the prayers. Its author is Rabbi Reuven Hammer, president of the denomination's Rabbinical Assembly. The time had come for a Conservative prayer book user's guide, as it were, because so many people were asking for one, says Rabbi Hammer. Some had even taking to using the Orthodox Artscroll prayer books, which utilize a clever format translating each line, and provide succinct directions about what to do when in the service. The new 750-page Sabbath and festival prayer book comes just 18 months after the release of "Etz Hayim," the movement's groundbreaking Bible commentary. "Or Hadash" works well as a companion to "Siddur Sim Shalom," by addressing what some movement insiders see as a key flaw in Rabbi Jules Harlow's otherwise popular 1985 translation. Rather than change the wording of some traditional Hebrew prayers that violate the theological sensibilities of Conservative Jews, Harlow often used a slightly altered, inexact, English translation. Not surprisingly, in a movement that prides itself on rigorous academic analysis of texts, this approach has caused discomfort in some circles. Hammer's commentary rectifies the situation by often providing the exact translation, insight into how the passage in question was originally understood and alternative understandings that might appeal to contemporary Jews.






[book] THE MIRACLE OF THE SEVENTH DAY
A guide to the Spiritual Meaning, Significance and Weekly Practice of the Jewish Sabbath.
by Rabbi ADIN STEINSALTZ
April 2003. Jossey-Bass. The observance of the Sabbath is one of the most important precepts in Judaism. In The Miracle of the Seventh Day, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz provides a companion and guide for the Sabbath table at home. The book is designed for both those who know very little and for those well-versed in the rituals, traditions, and customs of Shabbat, as celebrated in the family at home. For those with little knowledge, it may serve as a guidebook to assist them in following or conducting a Shabbat meal, complete with blessings before and after the meal and hymns sung at the table. For those already knowledgeable, the book will shed new light upon the spiritual significance of various elements of the Sabbath and provide further insight into the history and development of the prayers and traditions of the day. Click to read more.









[book] THE PRIVATE ADAM
In the Footsteps of the Biblical Hero
By Rabbi Shmuely Boteach
May 2003. Regan Books. Boteach, the Barnum and Mae West of Orthodox Judaism, has actually scored a hit with this book. The character of Adam is introduced twice in the Hebrew Bible. One is the public figure, one is the humble, private man. It is the Private Adam that Boteach seeks to emulate, the man who does the right thing, unsung each day (Boteach unsung? Well, maybe us) Part 2 of the book will teach you to fight evil, establish trust, be humble, facilitate others, honor your parents, dare to let it go, find joy in the everyday, say goodbye to glory, and dedicate yourself to service. Click to read more.









[book] THE RABBI AND THE HIT MAN
A True Tale of Murder, Passion, and the Shattered Faith of a Congregation
by Arthur J. Magida
May 13, 2003. HarperCollins. Paraphrasing PW: A charismatic rabbi hired a nebbish to kill his wife so he can live happily with his favorite mistress (of four). Rabbi Fred Neulander grabbed headlines from New York City to Philadelphia until he was convicted after one mistrial, in 2002. Magida tries not too convincingly to give this luridly fascinating story a larger significance by examining the loneliness that afflicts longtime rabbis and citing a study of clergymen who engage in affairs with congregants. Magida is more successful in considering the painful and divisive impact of Neulander's crime on the South Jersey congregants who had adored their brilliant, ebullient rabbi. Neulander's outsize personality, rooted in ambition and ego, does come through. But Magida doesn't seem to have had access to the rabbi; sometimes tells readers what Neulander thought or felt; other times, he relies on "maybe" and "apparently." Carol, Neulander's murdered wife, remains a cipher, and there are frustrating gaps-two of Neulander's mistresses are virtually absent here, as are two of his three grown children, whose anguish one can only imagine Click to read more.







[book] This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared:
The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation
by Alan Lew, SF Congregation Beth Shalom
by Rabbi Alan Lew
September 2003. Little Brown. I read Lew's first book, "One God Clapping" before the High Holy Days a few years ago. And now, in time for Rosh Hashanah and the Yomim Noraim, Rabbi Lew has published a new book on change and transformation. There are moments in life when one is caught utterly unprepared: a death in the family, the end of a relationship, a health crisis. These are times when the solid ground we thought we stood on disappears beneath our feet, and we turn to faith to help us find our way back. Rabbi Lew has taken the beauty and power of the High Holy Days rituals and made of them a journey of seven distinct stages that will touch the spirit of all readers in search of inner transformation. Rabbi Lew weaves together Torah readings, Buddhist parables, and Jewish fables and stories from his own life, to lay bare the meanings of this ancient Jewish passage. Drawing on both his rabbinical training and his scholarship in Buddhism, Lew leads readers on a journey from confusion to clarity, from doubt to belief, as he opens a path to self-discovery that is accessible to readers of all faiths. The book unveils the deeper meanings of the High Holidays, enabling Jews and believers of all kinds to reconnect to their faith with a vibrancy and intimacy that will resonate throughout the year. Click to read more.







[book] LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AND YOURSELF
A Jewish Approach to Modern Personal Ethics
By Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff (University of Judaism)
September 2003. Jewish Publication Society. Dorff's third book on Jewish ethics. Dorff presents dilemmas and challenges confronting the individual in relation to others. He addresses specific moral issues that affect our personal lives: privacy, particularly at work and as it is affected by the Internet and technologies; sex in and outside of marriage; family matters, such as adoption, surrogate motherhood, stepfamilies, divorce, parenting, and family violence; homosexuality; justice, mercy and forgiveness; and charitable acts and social action. Click to read more.







[book] STUDY GUIDE TO JEWISH ETHICS
By Paul Steinberg (University of Judaism)
September 2003. Jewish Publication Society. Through suggested readings from the books of Rabbi Elliot Dorff, this study guide provides probing questions, lively discussion topics, and exercises that will help the reader determine their attitudes towards Jewish ethical issues. Click to read more.







[book] THE WOMEN'S HAFATARAH COMMENTARY
New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Haftarah Portions, the 5 Megillot and Special Shabbatot.
Edited By Rabbi Elyse Goldstein
September 2003. Jewish Lights.
I fell in love with the Women's TORAH Commentary. An instant classic and must have. And now this, for the first time, women's unique perspectives and experiences are applied to the weekly portions and special readings. Includes feminist interpretations of the stories of Yael and Devorah, David and Goliath, David and Batsheva, Jonah and the fish (and female fish), Jerusalem as female, the motif of the whore, and the Witch of Endor. Click to read more.







[book] KEEPING FAITH WITH THE PSALMS
DEEPEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD USING THE BOOK OF PSALMS
By Dr. Daniel F. Polish
Fall 2003. Jewish Lights.
An informative book that uses the Psalms to approach deeper issues of theology, mortality, the presence of evil in the world, and spirituality. Click to read more.







[book] IN SPEECH AND IN SILENCE
The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Living
Edited By OR ROSE
October 2003. Jewish Lights.
Teachings on how to be mindful in religious practice, how to behave ethically, and to deepen spirituality in our relationships. Captures Hasidic HANHAGOT. Include 75 poetic translations of aphorisms from 18th Century Hasidic leaders (as well as one by Arthur Green and one by Hillel Zeitlin). Click to read more.







[book] Finding God in the Garden: Backyard Reflections on Life, Love, and Compost by Rabbi Balfour Brickner
August 26, 2002. Grieving after the death of a beloved daughter, Rabbi Balfour Brickner (of the famed Stephen Wise Free Synagogue) struggled with his faith while preparing a flowerbed. One day the rabbi found himself writing down the thoughts that came to him as he turned the soil, and observing nature's abundant examples of order and renewal, miracles and beauty, Rabbi Brickner found his faith returning like a garden in spring. Using the garden as a sanctuary and springboard, Rabbi Brickner considers the lessons to be learned from the tasks of caring for the land, the wonder of a garden in full bloom, and the connections between Biblical teachings and botanical life. FINDING GOD IN THE GARDEN is a passionate, witty, and provocative celebration of mature religious faith derived through nature, reason, and the joys of everyday work. Click to read more








[book] Reading the Women of the Bible
by Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Professor, University of Chicago.

July 30 2002. Schocken. BLURB: "You'll never see the women of the Bible in quite the same way after reading Tikva Frymer-Kensky's excellent new book. In her able hands, these women emerge from the ancient texts with new strength and vigor. Frymer-Kensky is a dazzling thinker who presents her ideas with unusual energy and clarity." Reading the Women of the Bible, a study of the many stories about biblical women, moves beyond the reading of individual stories and figures ("the great women of the Bible") to look at what purpose those stories served. It uses them to get at the image of women in the mind of Israel and the significance of these stories today. "Most of the stories," she explained, "cluster around four different themes: women as victors, victims, virgins and woman as voice. I found out that the stories about women as victors and saviors came from before the rise of the Israelite monarchy and after the monarchy's fall. That's the time when there is no central power and the locus of authority is closer to home so that women can arrive in positions of power or step into the breach with saving actions. "Interestingly, the victim stories have the same distribution. They, too, come from before and after the centralization of the monarchy. The state seems to interpose between women and male heads of households. So on the one hand, the horror stories don't seem to happen as much, but does the same potential for female leadership exist? But the stories are all paradigmatic because Israel used them to understand its own plight among the nations." Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky's areas of specialization include Assyriology and Sumerology, biblical studies, Jewish studies, and women and religion. Her most recent books are Reading the Women of the Bible; In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth; and Motherprayer: The Pregnant Woman's Spiritual Companion. She is also the English translator of From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven by Ari Elon (Alma Dee, original Hebrew). In progress are a commentary on Ruth and a book on biblical theology. Click to read more.





[book] THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
PSALMS TO ACCOMPANY US ON OUR JOURNEY THROUGH AGIN
By Rabbi Albert Micah Lewis (Emeritus Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, Grand Rapids, MI)
September 2002. Each psalm is presented in Hebrew text, and in the King James translation , but then Rabbi Lewis takes readers on a like by line series of meditations on each of the psalms. He reflects on three psalms, Psalm 23, 98, and 121, and exlores their meaning to those aging. Click to read more








[book cover click me] THE RECKONING
RECLAIMING JEWISH WOMEN'S WISDOM
By Rabbi Tirzah Firestone
FEBRUARY 4, 2003. Harper San Francisco
For those of you who read her earlier autobiography, With Roots in Heaven, you know the Rabbi Firestone is a teacher, author and Jungian therapist in Boulder. She is a leader in the Jewish renewal movement. She was raised in an Orthodox home in St. Louis, Missouri. Determined to find freedom, Rabbi Firestone forcefully rejected her Jewish upbringing and embarked upon a journey that took her around the world and into the very heart of counterculture spirituality: from Kundalini ashrams to Hindu cults to radical New Age philosophies. After years of seeking, she settled in Boulder, Colorado, first as a student, then as a psychotherapist. She then found her path back to Judaism and the rabbinate, receiving smicha from Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Gershon Winkler, Rabbi Shoshana Leibowitz and Rabbi Akiva Mann in 1992. I am still amazed by her skill at massage in which one can find an emotional release through touch. In this, her third book, Rabbi Firestone, focuses on "Receiving." Receiving is the the literal translation of the word Kabbalah, the body of Jewish mysticism that has been passed down from men to men for centuries. Ironically, the art of receiving, that is, opening to the divine spirit as it manifests in the here and now, is one of the undocumented mysteries of women's spirituality. In what might be called an act of spiritual archaeology, Firestone searches for the traces of the divine feminine in the Jewish tradition in order to answer the question, "What is a woman's way to God?" Drawing on the remarkable stories of seven historical holy women--who, despite tremendous obstacles, found ways to embrace the sacred feminine in their lives--Firestone teaches us the mysteries of Jewish Kabbalah from a woman's vantage point. This book empowers women to reclaim their connection to the mystical lineage within Judaism. This is a provocative work of scholarship and passion that restores the forgotten voices of Jewish women mystics, using their remarkable journeys as a springboard into the feminine mysteries that have been hidden from women's use for millennia. Click to read more.







[book] THE JOURNEY HOME. DISCOVERING THE DEEP SPIRITUAL WISDOM OF THE JEWISH TRADITION
by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

August 2002. Beacon Press. An exploration of the Jewish relationship to God and questioning of human purpose. Rabbi Hoffman (HUC) redefines Judaism as the system of connectedness by which we make sense of our lives. This is an important book to read during ELUL.. you can learn to map your life, map your reality to find shape and direction to your existence. Marc Chagall's Asher window adorns the book's front cover, and draws you in. What you find inside is a map to authentic Jewish wisdom. Is Judaism merely ritual and tradition? Is a seder about going throught the written etxt and tastings? Where is the spirituality? Can the mystical be added back to the sacred, the sterile, and the mundane? And, readers, Rabbi Hoffman isn't talking about Cabala and New Age bullshit in which popularizers use Cabalistic equations that are meaningless, that are jabberwocky to those not grounded in medieval Jewish thought. This is authenticity. Chapters include Returning Home-Jewish Integrity; followed by the Spirituality of Metaphor; Stewardship; Discovery; Landedness; Translation; Suffering; and Community









[book] ONE PEOPLE, TWO WORLDS.
AN ORTHODOX RABBI AND A REFORM RABBI IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUNDS
by Rabbi Yosef Reinman (o) and Rabbi Amiel Hirsch (r)
Yes, I know that the book doesn't call either men Rabbi, since Rabbi Reinman said that he would not do a book if the cover called Rabbi Hirsch a "rabbi", but I will call both rabbis

August 2002. Schocken. Two rabbis examine whether Reform and Orthodoxy are two branches of a common tree or offshoots that grow more distinct and separate. Each rabbi spoke for 20 months (January 21, 2000 - October 1, 2001), and learned more about each other's misconceptions of the other. The Editorial Director of this book at Schocken, Ms. Altie Karper, wrote that this book is "unprecedented" collaboration between two camps that usually try to delegitimize each other than engage each other. Both are articulate and learned, even brilliant, warm and loving. I, personally, was turned off at the beginning of the book by their language which I found false and forced. I was also perturbed at the beginning when the Orthodox rabbi mentioned how he, BORG-like, had to consult other rabbis for permissions and corroboration. But by the time I finished their 39 lengthy exchanges of mutual rejection I learned more about the two sides. Sometimes they agree; more often than not they disagree - and quite sharply, too. But the important thing is that, as they keep talking to each other, they discover that they actually like each other, and, above all, they say that they respect each other (with all due respect...). Their journey from mutual suspicion to mutual regard is an extraordinary one; from it, both Jews and non-Jews of all backgrounds can learn a great deal about the practice of Judaism today and about the continuity of the Jewish people into the future. Look for these two rabbis on the Jewish Book Fair circuit in Fall 2002.
A NOTE TO READERS. THE TWO AUTHORS WERE SUPPOSED TO GO ON A BOOK TOUR TOGETHER ACROSS THE USA FOR JEWISH BOOK MONTH. But in the last week of October 2002, Rabbi Reinman cancelled the 17 day, 17 city trip. Bowing to what some reported to be intense coercion, and pressure from leaders ("the advice of people older and wiser than I am") in his Lakewood, NJ, haredi Orthodox community (threatened him with cherem/ostracism by The Moetzes Gedolei haTorah), he cancelled. The reactionary JEWISH PRESS wrote two editorials denouncing the book this Autumn (although they asked Schocken to place ads in the newspaper, what chutzpah).






[book] A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE UNDER HEAVEN
THE JEWISH LIFE-SPIRAL AS A SPIRITUAL PATH
by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Phyllis Ocean Berman

September 2002. Farrar Straus & Giroux.
First of all, they introduce the word, G!d to the Jewish lexicon.
God told Abraham, Lech Lecha, find yourself, move from isolation to community. What some know as the life-cyle, others call the life-spiral, the Jewish rhythm of life and rituals of birth- bris- weaning- menstruation- adulthood- work- intimacy- marriage- divorce- parenting- mentoring- relationships- aging- death, etc. To these events, the husband and wife Ocean's add rituals, including the adult bar/bat mitzvah, the seder of womanhood, the Jewish Drivers License. Lots of ideas, lots of rituals, all grounded in Jewish Rabbinics and traditions. The book moves from a new "covenant of washing" -- the ritual act of parents washing a newborn daughter's feet to celebrate her arrival -- to an examination of how ketuvot, or marriage contracts, could be revised to affirm the commitments partners today need to make with each other, to ceremonies that celebrate the transformations of midlife, to enriching the rituals of grief in order to walk mourners through their own next spiral in the path of their lives









[book cover click here] [book cover click here] Searching for Meaning in Midrash:
Lessons for Everyday Living by Michael Katz, Gershon Schwartz (Elkins Park Congregation Beth Sholom)

The authors, study partners and congregational rabbis, explore the fascinating body of Jewish literature called Midrash: creative interpretations of the Bible that are designed to reveal hidden or deeper meaning in Scripture. Each of the over 53 midrashim in this collection sit next to their corresponding biblical text and are accompanied by commentary on the times and insights of the Rabbis who wrote each midrash. In their engaging, conversational style and their unique presentation of material on the page, Katz and Schwartz make Midrash accessible to today's reader. In so doing, the teachings of the Rabbis become strikingly relevant to our times. Rabbi Burton Visotzky called this book exceptional




[book cover click here] THE TEN JOURNEYS OF LIFE
WALKING THE PATH OF ABRAHAM, A GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN
by Rabbi Michael Gold

HCI Simcha Press. (June 2001).
Rabbi Gold (author of Hannah Wept) uses the story and trials of Abraham as a guide for spiritual journeys and trials (trails and trials, from doubt to faith). Rather than geing off the top of his head, this book is based on field testing.. hehe... namely, Rabbi Gold's hundreds of counseling sessions with congregants and other seekers. He uses Abraham as father, parent, shepherd, dweller, judge, husband, host, judge, uncle, lover of women, and partner. A spiritual person should not be self centered, must focus more on self control than self indulgence.




[book] TALKING TO GOD
Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, and Celebration
by (Rabbi) NAOMI LEVY

August 2002. From the author of the best selling, tear jerking, hopeful "TO BEGIN AGAIN," offers us this collection of personal prayers for people of all faiths for all occasions. TRUE PRAYERS LEAD US TO ACTION. Some find that traditional prayers are unfulfilling or alienating. This book provides simple, direct and intimate prose, as if you are chatting with a loved one, God. Many of the prayers are preceded by a poignant story from Rabbi Levy's life in the rabbinate. The prayers are sectioned as follows: In Part 1, there are Daily Prayers for Morning, Driving, Difficult Days, Food on Our Table, Seeking the Ability to Pray, Finding mentors in the least likely places (learning from others humbly), nighttime, and a prayer for the parent to say to a child at night. Her prayer for Bad Days is preceded by the story of the day she moved homes, had a car accident, had to bid farewell to a dying congregant, and found the tallis given to her by her dean being used as a drop cloth by painters. Part 2 contains prayers for love and marriage, including prayers for finding love, sexuality, rekindling passion, breakups, marriage, troubles, anniversaries, guidance after unfaithfulness, healing from divorce, preparing for the wedding ceremony, and the second marriage. The prayer for fighting sexual temptation is preceded by a hilarious story about how the rabbi's phone number became confused with that of an internet prostitute. She decides to call back one of the men who leaves her a message, who turns out to be a Jewish studio exec seeking some post-partum sexual release. God works in mysterious ways, and she counsels him to greater fidelity. In Part 3 are prayers for Pregnancy and Childbirth, including prayers for conception, pregnancy and strength, and birth. In Part 4, there are prayers for parenthood and adoption, and a story about how the rabbi learns to face the challenges of parenting a special needs child. In Part 5, there are prayers for healing, healers, overcoming illnesses and addictions, overcoming breast cancer, surgery, and living with disabilities. Part 6 contains prayers for work and employment unemployment, career changes, interviews, and the incumbent challenges. The Prayer Before a Big Challenge is preceded by a Talmudic story of Rabbi Eliezer and his mentor Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai. Eliezer feels like an imposter and must gather up confidence to teach a class in front of his teacher. Part 7 contains prayers for comfort and strength in difficult times, embracing silence, and being resilient. A prayer to be said after losing a pet is preceded by a story about Martin Buber. In Part 8, there are prayers for special occasions, new homes, birthdays, rests, and brushes with death. In Part 9, there are prayers for Aging, including retirement, menopause, the fear of retirement, the fear of becoming dependent or a burden to others, and a prayer for the child who must care for an aging parent. In Part 10, there are prayers of Death and Mourning, including prayers for those who succumb to violence and prayers for those murdered on 9/11/2001. Part 11 contains prayers for Living Up to the Best in Our Souls, including a prayer to abstain from gossip, overcoming jealousy, prayers for wrongdoing and repair, healing troubled relationships, and for guidance and wisdom. The final chapter, Part 12, has prayers for Peace, Tolerance, our Country and the World. After each chapter, there are a couple of pages in which to joy down your own words and prayers for yourself and posterity. I started browsing through the book in a doctor's waiting room while awaiting test results. A prayer for that wait is probably the only prayer I didn't find in the book. :) Click for more information.







[book] There Is No Messiah and You're It:
The Stunning Transformation of Judaism's Most Provocative Idea by Rabbi Robert N. Levine

November 2002. Jewish Lights. Remember that Hebrew pop song? Moshiach isn't coming.. he isn't even going to telephone??
The rabbi of Temple Rodeph Sholom on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Rabbi Levine writes that the coming of the Messiah has been anticipated by people of many religions to make their lives and the world better. So people wait and brood and hope, RATHER THAN TAKING ACTION themselves. (take the rowboat when it comes to save you from the flood). This is a call to stop waiting, change, and start acting.







[book] Making a Successful Jewish Interfaith Marriage:
The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide to Opportunites, Challenges and Resources
by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, and Joan Peterson Littman
November 2002. Jewish Lights. Some say 50% of Jews marry a partner from outside the Jewish faith. This is a guide for any stage of the relationship. It makes no judgements, it dictates no answers. Topics include an Overview; Navigating the Relationship Before Marriage; Conversion; Relating to Parents, Siblings, and Grandparents; Making Decisions About Children; and more. Click to read more.







[book] There Is No Messiah and You're It:
The Stunning Transformation of Judaism's Most Provocative Idea by Rabbi Robert N. Levine

November 2002. Jewish Lights. Remember that Hebrew pop song? Moshiach isn't coming.. he isn't even going to telephone??
The rabbi of Temple Rodeph Sholom on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Rabbi Levine writes that the coming of the Messiah has been anticipated by people of many religions to make their lives and the world better. So people wait and brood and hope, RATHER THAN TAKING ACTION themselves. (take the rowboat when it comes to save you from the flood). This is a call to stop waiting, change, and start acting.







[book] A BOOK OF LIFE. EMBRACING JUDAISM AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

August 2002. Schocken. The former co-editor of the Jewish Catalog, past rabbi at Cong Anschei Chesed in NYC, and writer of "Jewish Holidays', Strassfeld writes this book about creating a life with enriched values. For all the cycles of life - from waking in the morning to retiring at night, from the weekdays to Shabbat to Havdalah, from birth to death, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld presents traditional Jewish teachings as a guide to behavior and values. Rituals are described where they exist; and where rituals are sparse and nonexistent, he suggests new ones gleaned from his study and experience. Rabbi Strassfeld brings the principles of "insight meditation" - a spiritual discipline based on kavanah or mindfulness, thus infusing the practice of Judaism with an enhanced awareness of God, of ourselves, and of our place in the world.







[book] The Golden Land:
The Story of Jewish Migration to America:
An Interactive History With Removable Documents and Artifacts
by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

August 27, 2002. The Golden Land is a museum-in-a-book that devotes a double-page spread--complete with removable letters, documents, and personal effects--to each of the successive waves of Jewish immigration to America, from the Germans and Eastern Europeans in the 19th and early 20th centuries to the refugees from the Nazis in the 1930s and '40s to the Soviet Jews in the 1970s and '80s.America was the first nation where Jews were regarded as citizens from the very beginning, and The Golden Land reveals how they converted opportunity to success in fields from commerce, medicine, and science to movies, music, and literature. The book includes facsimiles of George Washington's letter to a community of Jews in Rhode Island, Emma Lazarus's poem that was later inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, Irving Berlin's handwritten lyrics for "God Bless America," a quiz challenging readers to guess the original names of American-Jewish show-business celebrities, and plenty of other materials to give readers a real feel for how America changed the Jews and how the Jews changed America






[book] READING THE WOMEN OF THE BIBLE.
A NEW INTERPRETATION OF THEIR STORIES
by Rabbi Tikva Frymer-Kensky

August 2002. Schocken. Rabbi Tikva Frymer-Kensky surveys the experiences of women in a patriarchal Hebrew society and the Bible's relevance to modern life.







[book] ETZ HAYIM: TORAH AND COMMENTARY. A TORAH COMMENTARY
By the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism and JPS

October 12, 2001. 1,520 PAGES
The latest Jewish commentary on the Torah in Conservative Judaism in SEVENTY years. A replacement for the HERTZ commentary. It was a 10 Year project (you know how slow committees work...). 78,000 copies already SOLD.
MONUMENTAL AND PRODIGIOUS ACHIEVEMENT, A commentary that reflects the beliefs and ideology of the Conservative movement, reflects the secure position of Jews in American culture (is not apologetic in tone), and uses standard modern English. This commentary does not sugar coat the actions of the early Hebrews, and it does not hide from the belief in redactors and an evolving Torah.
Contributors include Rabbis Chaim Potok, Harold Kushner, Elliot Dorff, Susan Grossman, Michael Fishbane, and dozens of others. Rabbi Grossman led a team of five female rabbis who reviewed early drafts to give voice to d'rash's by women. Include commentaries not only on the Torah portion, but on the Haftorah as well. For each chapter, the Hebrew and English translation is published. A p'shat commentary which is based on the JPS five volume commentary (by Tigay, Sarna, Levine, and Milgrom) follows under the text and was edited by Chaim Potok. A D'rash section of commentary, edited by Harold Kushner, is also included for each test. It will provide the deeper moral meanings of the passage. A third running commentary is included, edited by Rabbi Dorff and Rabbi Grossman, and it will show how various biblical verses served as the basis for Jewish laws and Conservative practices. In the back of the chumash are 41 essays by leading scholars and rabbis. The commentaries for the Haftorahs have been edited by Michael Fishbane. Of the book, Ellen Frankel, CEO of Jewish Publication Society, said, "It may spark conversation with in the Conservative laity about approaches to the Bible they may not have been aware of or thought of."Click to read more
P.S. Also, stay tuned for the New Reform Chumach on Bereshit, titled THE BOOK OF GENESIS: A CONTEMPORARY VIEW, by E. Gunther Plaut and Chaim Stern (UAHC Press, May 2002, which uses gender neutral terms and more feminist POV commentaries)




[book] THE BEDSIDE TORAH
by Bradley Shavit Artson, Miriyam Glazer

Summer 2001. Friendly text makes the teaching of Torah accessible to everyone The Bedside Torah guides you into the dramatic and spiritually riveting world of Torah. While weaving together ancient, medieval, and modern views, it offers three different and original commentaries on each of the 49 Torah portions. Written in a friendly and accessible tone, it includes a glossary of terms and a short introduction at the beginning of each portion, explaining its most salient characteristics





[book] CAIN AND ABEL
Finding the Fruits of Peace
by Joani Keller Rothenberg (Illustrator), Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

October 2001, Jewish Lights Publishing. Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover - 32 pages. A springboard for talking to kids about anger and anger management. Rabbi Sasso (the second woman to be ordained as a rabbi in 1974) served congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis with her husband. Rabbi Sasso recasts the biblical tale of Cain and Abel in a way that invites adults and kids to a conversation about anger and our power to deal with it in positive ways. Cain and Abel, the first children, the first brothers, they were so much alike yet so different: Cain a shepherd, Abel a farmer. They lived side by side, surrounded by trees where wonderful, exotic fruits of many kinds grew: orapples, rasdew, and banangerines ripened all on a single branch. The air was sweet with the smell of pinango, limeberry, and waterloupe. But jealousy, anger, and fear took all this away. Cain and Abel's happiness came to an end, and with it, the trees' ability to grow these special fruits. In a world often hurt by violence, this retold biblical story gives children and adults a starting point for discussing anger and its effects on those around us. By harnessing the power we have to deal with our emotions in positive ways, we can once again cultivate the fruits of peace and change the world for the better.




[book] ACCEPTING THE YOKE OF HEAVEN
Commentary on the Weekly Torah Portion
by Yeshayahu Leibowitz

January 2002. 203 pages. Urim Publications. The erudite Professor Liebowitz passed away in 1994, but he has left us with fresh thoughts on the weekly Torah portion. He was a Professor of Science at Hebrew University, having immigrated to Palestine in 1935 at the age of 31. His weekly commentaries on the parshat reveal his radical ideas on the nature of god and god's relationship to humans, he confronts the nature of prayer, and our concept of holiness in the world. He promotes the idea of compliance with the law for its own sake, and not for reward or punishment. For example, take his commentary on Noach, and the Tower of Babel, is to forego the flood, but look at the world after the flood. Was it a world as evil as the pre-flood world? Was the dispersion of people after Babel a punishment? Maybe it wasn't a punishment? Maybe is was a reward, allowing for a difference in thought and practice and a decentralization. Maybe Babel was a story of conformity, centralization and totalitarianism. Dispersion ended this. This is a very fresh thought, no? Or take Vayeshev, the story of Jacob and Joseph and Egypt, and the sentence "Joseph was BROUGHT DOWN to Egypt. Is it actually a story of free will and determinism, a story of antinomies and paralogisms. Leibowitz focuses on midrash and writings that define the word "dealing and deeds" as "making a false accusation." He delves into the idea of God bringing deeds into the world and upon man, and later places the blame on man for these deeds, and the idea that the strife between the brothers and the sale of Joseph was pre-ordained, since it was known that the Hebrews would be slaves in Egypt for 400 years. In his four page discussion of Korach, he ties this parshat to parasha of tzitzit, and the end of the Shema which is recited daily. Korach, Leibowitz writes, rebelled against Moses saying "for all the community, all of them are holy." But, Leibowitz continues, the tzitzit idea of holiness (which appears in the paragraph above the Korach story) differs from that of Korach. The tzitzit concept of holiness is one to be strived for, it is a goal; while Korach believes it is something that is granted. Korach has absolved himself of responsibility, he boasts that he is a member of a holy nation, even though he is contemptible. Are the people holy or do they become holy through their actions and performance of certain tasks? Guess what, the ideas from Korach did not end when he was swallowed up by the Earth. The continue today. If you enjoy these ideas, buy the book.





[book] By the Sweat of Your Brow : Reflections on Work and the Workplace in Jewish Thought
by David J. Schnall

August 2001. Professor Schnall summarizes the primary attitudes and values of Jewish religious culture as it confronts and responds to the role of work and the workplace. He insists that the place of the worker and the mutual obligations that tie worker and employer to a vision of ethics and morality are "ordained by the word of God." Schnall draws from such sources as the Hebrew Bible and its classical commentaries, the Talmud, the rulings of early Jewish authorities and their reasoning in response to specific cases and petitions brought before them, the codes of Jewish law and tradition collected during the last 15 centuries, and modern works that apply this tradition to new economic structures and technologies that support them




[book cover] The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism
by Benjamin Blech and Richard Joel

Paperback. ONE OF THE BEST Selling Jewish Books in 2001
Rabbi Blech of Yeshiva University creates a warm, accessible, conversational guide to Jewish practice, theology, and religion.
You're no idiot, of course. You know that in the Jewish religion Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement and that Saturday, known as the Sabbath, is the day of rest. But when it comes to understanding Jewish traditions, rituals, prayers, and holidays, you feel like you're parting and crossing the Red Sea without God's help. Don't put your life preserver on just yet! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism, written in a warm, conversational style by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, is a fun and easy-to-understand primer to every aspect of this ancient faith.






[book cover] Understanding Judaism : The Basics of Deed and Creed
by Benjamin Blech

Aronson. A series of six videos were created by the OU based on this top rated book. Starting from the Ten Commandements and the Thirteen Principles of Faith rabbi Blech gives a very clear and inspiring overview of Jewish "theology" and view of life.






[book cover] The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture
by Benjamin Blech

Paperback: 352 pages. 1998. For 5,758 years, the Jewish people and their culture survived and prospered, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles such as the Egyptian enslavement, the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem, the Spanish Inquisition, Russian pogroms, the Nazi Holocaust, and continued anti-Semitism today. This Complete Idiots Guide contains easy-to-follow coverage of all of Jewish history, including profiles of Biblical, religious, and political leaders such as Abraham, Moses, King David, and Golda Meir. The last part of the book focuses on understanding the Jewish influence on American and world culture, with insights into: the Yiddish and Hebrew languages; theater; art; literature; comedy; film; television; and more. You're no idiot, of course. You know that Judaism began with Abraham and that Moses led the children out of slavery in Egypt. But when it comes to knowing who Elijah, Esther, and Judah Maccabee were, and their significance to Judaism, you feel like you've been wandering in the desert for 40 years. Don't feel Jewish guilt just yet! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture provides you with a complete, authoritative account of the Jewish people--from Abraham, Moses, and King David to Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Rabin.






[book cover] OUR IMMORAL SOUL: WHY THE HUMAN IMPLULSE TO DISOBEY IS ESSENTIAL
by Rabbi Nilton Bonder (JTS, Brazil)

Brazil's celebrity rabbi and media savvy author with a new book. Making use of diverse sources such as evolutionary psychology and Hasidic lore, Rabbi Bonder inverts the usual "body/soul" definitions. For Bonder, it is not the evil flesh that seduces the moral soul; rather, it is the soul, in its desire to evolve, that encourages the body to break accepted mores. Bonder argues that religious conformity does not lead to spiritual maturity, which is attained instead through a thoughtful rebellion against the status quo. So, for example, "Adam and Eve were apes until this act of disobedience [eating of the Tree of Knowledge] marked the advent of consciousness," and the biblical Abraham founded Judaism by abandoning his home in "civilized" Ur a betrayal in his countrymen's eyes. The results are intriguing, with Bonder posing moral dilemmas involving everything from the causes of anti-Semitism to infidelity in marriages.






[book cover] The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture
by Benjamin Blech

Paperback. They tried to kill us, we survived, let's pray and let's eat. Not, Jewish culture and history are more than this. Rabbi Blech of Yeshiva University creates this easy to understand guide to over 5,000 years of history of Hebrews, Jews, and Judaism.






[book] WHO AM I AND WHO ARE MY PEOPLE? A RABBI'S RELECTIONS ON THE RABBINATE AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY by Rabbi Marc Angel (Shearith Israel NYC)
January 2001. KTAV. Rabbi Angel explains what the life of a pulpit rabbi is like, from ensuring a minyan by phoning men to fund raising and counseling. The joy and the frustrations as well.




[book] ISRAELIS AND THE JEWISH TRADITION. An Ancient People Debating Its Future. By Rabbi David Hartman.
October 2000. Yale Univ Press. 192 pages.
Is Judaism a text-interpretive tradition that one can participate in without committing to halachic rituals? How should secular Israelis seek meaning in their lives without having to join the ranks of the haredim. Hartman contributes to the topic by raising the issue of demythologizing the Jewish people, that a relationship with god does not require the acceptance of specific haredi rituals, traditions, worldviews, and histories. Hartman also analyzes the opposing views of the messianic, event-based, non-rational, supernatural, mystical, redemption-revelation focused Yehuda Halevi (1075-1141) and the Aristotelian, rationalist, reason over revelation, torah as a product of history, focused RamBam (1135-1204). This naturally leads to the ideas of Israeli peace with or without land compromises. According to Hartman, to secular Zionist, the Bible was a touchstone that they looked to as an example of Jews living in the land. After 1967, religious Zionists settled the West Bank in an attempt to live out the Bible. But by the late 1980's, the connection between the secular and religious disintegrated. This book will help in creating an "interpretive community"
Click here to order this book from Amazon.com, read more reviews, or to add your own review.



[book cover honey] My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 4:
Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--Seder K'riyat Hatorah
(Shabbat Torah Service) Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

SEPTEMBER 2000. Jewish Lights Publishing.
Hardcover - 240 pages Volume 4. Number four in what will be a seven volume series. The Shabbat Torah service with commentaries and explanations on the order and liturgical prayers, drawing upon a multitude of sources. Includes contributions by Marc Brettler, Elliot Dorffm, David Elenson on the evolution of the modern prayer book, Ellen Frankel, Judith Hauptman, Lawrence Kushner, and Ruth Langer to name just a few.
Click here to order this book from Amazon.com, read more reviews, or to add your own review.

Click here For Volume 3. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--P'sukei D'zimrah (Morning Psalms)

Click here for Volume 2. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--The Amidah

Click here for Volume 1. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--The Sh'ma and Its Blessings



[bookcover click me] The Book of Jewish Values : A Day-By-Day Guide to Ethical Living by Joseph Telushkin
Hardcover - 544 pages (February 22, 2000). Integrity is a something most people yearn for but these days it sometimes seems harder and harder to figure out the right thing to do in a tricky situation. Luckily, Rabbi Telushkin has done our homework for us. He's gone back to the sources of Jewish ethics and explains that although things may have new names, good is still good and bad bad. There's a lifetime of study in this book (both his lifetime and yours) and reading it is like having a wise teacher by your side to tell you how to act. You can use it for group discussion or as a personal guide. It will never let you down. Click to read more reviews of this book and to see a synopsis of some of the days.
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[book] Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue by Sidney Schwarz
Hardcover - 256 pages (May 2000) Jossey-Bass Publishers. Rabbi Schwarz, founder of the Wash DC Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values accuses the suburban synagogue of bagels and blocks and torah and tots focuses, and proposes a new synagogue that reaches out to boomers (the BJ model, the Riverdale HI model, the Adat Shalom model, the Beth El / Sudbury model). Yes, but how many charismatic rabbi's are out there?? Click for more information.
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[book] Evolving Halakhah : A Progressive Approach to Traditional Jewish Law by Rabbi Moshe Zemer
Hardcover - 600 pages (September 1999). The story of how where there is a Rabbinic will there is a Rabbinic way. A study in Rabbinic compassion in developing Jewish law. Stories about how Rabbi Moshe Isserles (Ramo) performed a wedding on a Friday night; how protests influenced the rulings of the Chief Rabbinate about Indian Jews in the 1950's; how Rabbi Shlomo Goren made a ruling in favor of a woman's conversion since she would be living on a secular kibbutz; and a study of some evolving rulings, such as women touching a sefer torah during menstruation, or a jewish corpse requiring circumcision prior to burial, can the Israeli military destroy the home of an Arab family if it was only their child who committed a crime?
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[book] Times Square Rabbi : Finding the Hope in Lost Kids' Lives by Yehudah Fine
Paperback - 220 pages. Set amidst the harsh, heartless street subculture of New York City, Times Square Rabbi is the inspirational and captivating account of author Rabbi Yehudah Fine's tenacious efforts to help the struggling kids he finds there--and the positive and often miraculous changes that take place in their lives. Each of this book's stories recounts a life Fine has touched, while illustrating a principle of his eight-step program for self-discovery and renewal-a program based on the teachings of the RamBam, Maimonides, whose Hilchos Teshuvah (The Path to Meaning and Hope) remains as relevant and powerful a guide to inner growth and spiritual reawakening on the cusp of the twenty-first century as when written in the twelfth century. Times Square Rabbi dramatically illustrates how crisis can produce profound transformation, and how one person can make a difference in the lives of others.
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[book] To Begin Again : The Journey Toward Comfort, Strength, and Faith in Difficult Times by Rabbi Naomi Levy
PAPERBACK VERSION. 267 pages. Fall 1999. The paperback book of this award winning book. How do you continue after experiencing a painful loss? How do you overcome being a survivor in order to become a participant. How does a rabbi answer a congregant who asks the value of believing and praying when tragedy occurs? Rabbi Naomi Levy, who served Congregation Mishkon Tephilo in Venice California has known grief, and has written this book to help people overcome tragedy. It is must reading for anyone who has experienced loss, is considering rabbinical school or is planning to work in the Jewish counseling. Click to read the over reviews...
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[bookcover] Torah of the Earth : Exploring 4,000 Years of Ecology in Jewish Thought by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow (Editor)
Paperback (June 2000) Jewish Lights Publishing. Exhaustive Eco-Judaism in 2 volumes. Jewish Renewal leader and rabbi, Arthur O Waskow, edits 39 articles by 32 scholars (including Heschel, Norman Lamm (YU), Erich Fromm) in this comprehensive anthology on Torah and Environmental Ecology. Click to read more reviews of this book.
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[book] Say Yes to Life : A Book of Thoughts for Better Living by Rabbi Sidney Greenberg
Hardcover - 168 pages (June 1999). A book of inspirational essays from Philadelphia's (now NYC's) great asset, Rabbi Sidney Greenberg, who gave us several prayer book readings and columns in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Chick through to see the Table of Contents.
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[bookcover] The Tapestry of Jewish Time: A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events by Nina Beth Cardin:
(April 2000) Behrman House. 320 pages. A better tapestry than Carole King... Rabbi Cardin, a pulpit rabbi in Baltimore, who gave us the acclaimed book on infertility last year, has written this guide to Jewish Time, which incorporates the life cycle, history, legend, rituals, current celebrations, and suggestions for new celebrations. She details info on Shabbat, New Moon, holidays, and life event celebrations, and includes blank pages for your own celebrations. Also included are also very personal details on her life and how Jewish Time has played a role, including details on the illness of her husband and her son's desire to be Christian. Click to read more reviews of this book.
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Click here for her book on Loss and Infertility.



[book] God at the Edge : Searching for the Divine in Uncomfortable and Unexpected Places by Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein
AUGUST 2000. Rabbi Goldstein, a specialist in the fear of God, finds God while dog-sledding in the Arctic Circle, and while counseling police officers in the Bronx.
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[book] Searching for My Brothers: Jewish Men in a Gentile World by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
Hardcover - 208 pages (October 1999) Putnam. Rabbi Salkin, 45, is the Senior Rabbi at the Community Synagogue on Long Island, NY. Because he found there were more "bars" than "mitzvahs" in modern bar/bat mitzvah celebrations, he authored the popular Putting God on the Guest List. He also penned a book on how to bring God and tikkun olam into your worklife. It's an easy hop from worklife to manhood, and just as attention must be paid to Willy Loman, attention should be paid to Jewish manhood. And I don't mean joining the Promise Keepers, rooting for Goldberg the Wrestler, or reading Susan Faludi's "Stiffed".

Salkin derives the title from the Bible story of Joseph. Jacob sent his cloistered son, Joseph, out to the field to find his brothers... Salkin faces and poses several questions, which will whet your appetite for a good read. What did Joseph, dressed in his dandy coat of many colors, find? Why was he searching? For what was he searching? Was Joseph the quintessential Jewish male, who stayed at home while his brothers were in the fields? Was he like wimpy Jewish men who stereotypically don't know how to repair things, who read Outside Magazine rather than actually climb Everest? Do Jewish men cry? Did Joseph or King David cry? Did Isaac love Esau because he was tough like his lost brother Ishmael? Is Yiddish the language of Irvings, Mendels and weakness? Is Hebrew the language of the strong? Why are Jewish men portrayed as mice in Art Speigelman's Maus? Why did Bialik portray Jewish men as powerless cowards during the Kishinev pogrom? Do Jewish men eat kosher quiche? Why is the wicked son in a Middle Age's Haggadah a soldier, and the good son a sage? Is a sedentary Jacob less masculine than the hunter Esau? Was Ishmael more manly than Isaac, since he was circumcised at 13 and not at 8 days? Was Isaac such a wimp that Eliezer had to find him a wife? Did the Roman destruction of the Temple emasculate Jewish men? Is the Orthodox minyan and yeshiva study group a male bonding experience? On the TV series, "Mad About You", why does the Paul Reiser character rely on the Bruce Willis character to show him how to be a tough, brawny male? Must we be like Macabees to be men? Why did the rabbi's ridicule the Masada zealots, the Macabees, and Bar Kochba. How does circumcision relate to a working man's balance between work and family? Is it a sin to read Playboy in Jerusalem?

These are some of the questions that Salkin explores. Mixing Jewish history with his personal tales of sportsmanship, getting beat up as a newspaper boy, getting harassed on MS-NBC, or getting harangued by a synagogue search committee chairman; Salkin helps Jewish men define masculinity, power, and issues of work, discrimination, love, libido, lust, image, circumcision, ambition, decency, pleasure, and whether God (Avinu Malkeynu) is a male, and whether it matters. Click to read more.
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[cover] My First 79 Years by Isaac Stern, with RABBI Chaim Potok
Hardcover - 320 pages (October 1999). Knopf. Isaac Stern has been a great--and greatly loved--violinist, who both performed music and worked on social justice. Brought to America from Russia when he was ten months old, Stern grew up in San Francisco and was quickly recognized as an extraordinary talent. In this book he shares with us both his personal and his artistic experiences: the story of his rise to eminence; his feelings about music and the violin; his rich emotional life; his great friendships and collaborations with colleagues such as Leonard Bernstein and Pablo Casals; his background as an ardent supporter of Israel; his ideas and beliefs about art, life, love, and the world we live in.
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[book] My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 4:
Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--Seder K'riyat Hatorah
(Shabbat Torah Service) Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

SEPTEMBER 2000. Jewish Lights Publishing.
Hardcover - 240 pages Volume 4. Number four in what will be a seven volume series. The Shabbat Torah service with commentaries and explanations on the order and liturgical prayers, drawing upon a multitude of sources. Includes contributions by Marc Brettler, Elliot Dorffm, David Elenson on the evolution of the modern prayer book, Ellen Frankel, Judith Hauptman, Lawrence Kushner, and Ruth Langer to name just a few.
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Click here For Volume 3. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--P'sukei D'zimrah (Morning Psalms)
Click here for Volume 2. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--The Amidah
Click here for Volume 1. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--The Sh'ma and Its Blessings



[book] Sacred Intentions; Daily Inspiration to Strengthen the Spirit Based on the Jewish Wisdom Tradition by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, Lori Forman
Paperback - 300 pages (Sep 1999) Jewish Lights Publishing. Optimism and renewal.
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[book] Broken Tablets; Restoring the Ten Commandments and Ourselves by Rabbi Rachel Mikva (Editor)
Hardcover - 160 pages (September 1999) Jewish Lights Publishing. Rabbi Rachel Mikva (of Rye NY) pays tribute to Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf (of Chicago) by wrestling with the commandments and what these rules demand and mean to us today. Ten contributors share their challenges, including Eugene Borowitz, Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, Lawrence Hoffman, Fuchs-Kreimer..., including Intro by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. Each commandment is followed by an essay. Leonard Fein, for example, discusses "Honoring Your Parents;" Rabbi Weiman-Kelman questions whether "You shall not murder" includes suicide and mercy-killing; and "You shall not steal" is discussed in light of the theft of ideas, time, and reputations by Rabbi Richard Levy.
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[book] One God Clapping: The Spiritual Path of a Zen Rabbi by Rabbi Alan Lew and Sherril Jaffe
Hardcover - 320 pages (August 1999) Kodansha. Whenever I am in San Francisco, that City by the Bay, I leave my heart at Beth Shalom, the friendliest shul West of Nevada. Rabbi Alan Lew, the popular Rabbi of San Francisco's Congregation Beth Shalom discusses his rich Brooklyn youth, his family's move to the vacuous and anti_semitic 'burbs of Westchester, his studies at Penn, his marriage, his move into Zen and ten years in monastic contemplation to fulfill his spiritual yearnings, and his return to Judaism and the rabbinate. Who else do you know who traveled alone from Penn to DC for the March on Washington, but left right before Rev. Dr. M. L. King gave his "Free At Last" speech, because he thought he should call a friend at a pay phone to tell her that he wouldn't be able to make it for dinner? This is the story of his integration of the East with the West. And to think, what he could have been had his ill-gotten Everlast Boxer shorts and gloves not been stolen. But seriously folks, this book is both easy to read and interesting. It's about Jewish Karma, baby. Click to read more.
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[book] Becoming a Jewish Parent: How to Add Wonder and Spirituality to Your Child's Everyday Life. How To Explore Spirituality and Tradition with Your Children. by Rabbi Daniel Gordis
Hardcover - 336 pages (September 1999). Rabbi Gordis, author of "God Was Not in The Fire" and "Does The World Need the Jews" offers us this timely book for the Fall 1999. It should be read by any parent that is questing for ways to share our heritage with one's children. Rabbi Gordis, the dean of the rabbinical school of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, explains how and why Shabbat and various holidays are celebrated and uncovers the insights, wonder, meanings and morals that can be conveyed to our kids. Rabbi Gordis discusses how rituals are the base root of a child's spirituality, and discusses how new rituals (like the reading of "Goodnight Moon" or including the Shema at bedtime) can be created by you out of common everyday acts. He discusses the importance of childhood memories (which you can create), and why you should anchor the Jewish week with the Sabbath. To his credit, he confronts the challenging issue of girls in the Jewish tradition, the new moon, and the feminine side of God (as his daughter asked, "What did god do when she was a little girl?") To paraphrase the Shema prayer... "we should diligently teach our children as if we are molars grinding food,"... Gordis teaches us how to be this kind molar, he is a blacksmith who shows how we can forge a "Jewish identity" through joy and teaching.
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[book] A Treasury of Favorite Sermons by Leading American Rabbis by Sidney Greenberg (Editor)
Hardcover - 272 pages (May 1999).
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Click here to LEARN MORE ABOUT SIDNEY GREENBERG'S BOOK, " Siddur Hadash : A New Prayer Book for Sabbath & Festival Mornings"

Click here to LEARN MORE ABOUT SIDNEY GREENBERG'S BOOK, " A Treasury of Thoughts on Jewish Prayer "

Click here to LEARN MORE ABOUT SIDNEY GREENBERG'S 1982 BOOK, "Treasury of the Art of Living"



[book] Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Jewish Community by Rabbi Marc Schneier
Hardcover - 352 pages (November 1999) Jewish Lights Publishing. Rabbi Schneir unfolds the story of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King's support for human and civil rights for Jews. Rabbi Schneir, the son of Rabbi Arthur Schneir of Manhattan's Park East Synagogue, is a rabbi, former real estate salesperson, founding rabbi of the West Hampton Synagogue, planner of the Palm Beach Synagogue, force behind a new cross-denominational rabbinical assembly, and member of the NAACP (I am quite sure I remember him on the dais at a recent NAACP dinner). Click to read more.
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[book] Heavenly Torah: The Theology of Classical Judaism by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Hardcover (1999) Translated by Rabbi Gordon Tucker (of JTS and White Plains). This is the first translation of this work ever to appear in English. Known most widely for his active role in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s, Abraham Heschel made major scholarly contributions to the fields of biblical studies, rabbinics, and Hasidism. His most ambitious scholarly achievement, his three-volume study of Rabbinic Judaism written in Hebrew, is available for the first time in English. Click to read more.
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[book] Simple Words: Thinking About What Really Matters in Life by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Hardcover - 224 pages (October 1999) Simon & Schuster. Rabbi Steinsaltz, one of the greatest teachers of the current generation, offers the basic values of spirituality. He takes the simple words, like death, envy, good, love, and sex and infuses them with meaning and depth.
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[book] These Are My Words: A Vocabulary of Jewish Spiritual Life by Rabbi Arthur Green
Hardcover - 200 pages. Jewish Lights (June 1999). Arthur Green's new book explores 148 fundamental Hebrew words at the heart of Judaism, giving each word life and purpose for modern lives. Green began keeping a list of words while working on another book, and the list kept growing. The words are divided into seven sections. Two of the seven sections: "Holy Times/Holy Seasons"; "Holy Things"; "God and The Worlds Above"; "Community"; "Religious Practice"; "Spiritual Life"; and "Torah: Text and Process." Words that are explained include the basics that are infused with greater meaning, such as Atah (You), Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Elohim (God), Emet (Truth), Emunah (Faith), and Ber'iah (Creation). Click for more information.
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[book] The Language of Truth: The Torah Commentary of Sefat Emet by Judah Aryeh Leib Alter (The Gerrer Rebbe), translated by Dr. Arthur Green (Translator)
Hardcover - 408 pages. JPS. Professor/Rabbi Arthur Green, of Penn, RRC, JTS, and Brandeis, to name a few, scholar and specialist in Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav, has translated the Sfat Emes by the Gerrer Rebbe. I picked this up while preparing a dvar torah in the Spring of 1999, and was drawn to the Gerrer's excellent commentaries of Torah. A fascinating translation of the rabbi's writings.
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[book] The Way into Torah (First in the 14 volume THE WAY INTO series of books) by Rabbi Norman J. Cohen
SEPTEMBER 2000. Jewish Lights. 160 PAGES. Hey, Rabbi Akiva was 40 before he even learned the Hebrew alphabet (alephbet), so it is never too late to start to learn Torah and the commentaries. An introduction to reading, studying and understanding Torah by the Provost of HUC-JIR and its Professor of Midrash
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[book] The Way into Jewish Prayer (Second in the 14 volume THE WAY INTO series of books) by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
SUMMER 2000. Jewish Lights. An invitation and a roadmap to becoming a prayerful person. Why do we pray? How do we pray? When do we prayer (the Jewish calendar)? Where do we pray? How did the synagogue evolve? Was it always a house of prayer? Are synagogues designed for uplifting prayer? Hoffman is a Professor of Liturgy at HUC. He examines not only the pattern, place, and reason for prayer, but explores the Jewish idea of God.
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[book cover click here] THE JEWISH LIGHTS SPIRITUALITY HANDBOOK. A Guide to Undersatnding, Exploring and Living A Spiritual Life.
Edited by Stuart M. Matlins

August 2001. Jewish Lights. The founder and editor of Jewish Lights Publishing had sewn together this anthology with selections from Jack Reimer, Ira F Stone, Lawrence Kuchner, Arthur Green, Tamar Frankiel, mark Haas, David Cooper, Dannel Schwarz, Nathaniel Stampfer, and others.




[book cover click here] LOVE AND TERROR IN THE GOD ENCOUNTER
THE THEOLOGICAL LEGACY OF RABBI JOSEPH SOLOVEITCHIK. Volume 1
by Rabbi David Hartman

August 2001. Jewish Lights. 256 pages. Rabbi Hartman of the Shalom Center in Jerusalem pays tribute to the RAV, his mentor, who was born in Poland in 1903 and earned a doctorate in philosophy from the university of berlin. He settled in Boston after arriving in the United States in 1932, but he served as the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University, commuting to Manhattan for forty years. Hartman analyzes three of Soloveitchik's works: Halakhic Man, The Lonely Man of Faith, and Confrontation. A very dense book.




[book] With Roots in Heaven : The Journey of a Renegade Rabbi by Tirzah Firestone
PAPERBACK VERSION A lot of books come by my desk each season, and I approached this book lacking any great interest. But after the first few pages I was actually addicted. If an autobiography can be called suspenseful, this one is. This book scores as both a primer in spirituality and the story of a woman who flees her Orthodox upbringing in Saint Louis, studies New Age and eastern religions, marries a Christian minister, but then returns to her roots to study for the rabbinate. Rabbi Firestone, a colleague of Rabbi Zalman Schecter-Shalomi, is now a leader in the Jewish Renewal movement, and serves the Jewish communities of Boulder Colorado and the Intermountain area. I will try not to ruin the suspense of the book's story, but suffice it to say the following: The book opens when Rabbi Firestone, born Miriam Firestone in Saint Louis, walks into a Miami hotel for the wedding of her niece. Her brothers, sisters, and mother will be there; some of whom she has not seen in decades, some of whom view her as dead! We must wait for the epilogue to discover what happens at the hotel. Between this intro and the epilogue, we follow Tirzah and her family and friends as she yearns for and seeks out spiritual connections, and desires to learn her bashert in life. She must realize the true path of her heart and discover the inverted tree that descends from the heavens. Along the way we learn why New Age and Eastern religions have been so enticing to Jewish youth, we meet Jew-Bhu's, Hin-Jews, and gurus. The late Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach, a cousin to Tirzah, even makes an appearance in the book, as do beautiful people and seekers of all religions, as well as rogue and manipulative gurus and rabbis. Regretably, her honest portraits of some of the Orthodox leaders she meets along the way brings shame upon some in our community. It took a troubled Christian minister to help Tirzah realize that what she sought could be found in her birth religion of Judaism and in the writings of Heschel, Buber, and the Lurianic Kabbalists. I think readers will try to read faster only to find out in each succeeding chapter what will happen to Tirzah. How will she react to her family's belief that her older brother's suicide was due to a faulty mezuzah? Like Jonah, will she survive a sailing ordeal on the Pacific with a racist rabbi? Will her marriage kill her parents? Will she learn to trust her own heart and break her need to follow strong male spiritual leaders? Can she overcome her personal issues and fear of reconnecting with organized religion? Who is that Yiddish jokester inner voice that saves her in many instances? Surely, this book should be a contender for the Jewish Book Award. This book may actually change some of leader's opinions on officiating at intermarriages in the future.
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[book] Trees, Earth, and Torah: A Tu B'Shvat Anthology by Ari Elon (Editor), Naomi M. Hyman (Editor), and Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow (Editor)
Hardcover - JPS, Fall 1999, $30. Collection of resources for Tu-B'shvat, the 15th of Shvat. You can't ask ofr a better book, since Waskow conducts the best seders on the East coast. The first comprehensive collection of Jewish resources for observing the popular late midwinter holiday of Tu B'Shvat, the Jewish "New Year of Trees." Established in the sixteenth-century by the Jewish mystics of Sefat, this holiday celebrates natural and supernatural renewal, and includes a special seder modeled after the Passover seder. The relationship of humanity with the earth-of adam to adamah-has long been a vital element of Hebrew scripture. Today, the Tu B'Shvat holiday has taken on added significance because of the greening of Israel and the growth of the ecology and environmental movements in the United States and abroad. Trees, Earth, and Torah draws from biblical, rabbinical, medieval, and modern sources-from art, music, recipes, and crafts, as well as fiction, poetry, and essays-about the significance and historical development of the holiday, and includes mystical writings along with Zionist and Eco-Jewish pieces. The anthology also includes several examples of a "Seder Tu B'Shvat," ranging from kabbalistic ritual to a contemporary ceremony that makes the concepts and ideas behind the holiday more tangible.
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[book] From Your Father's House: Reflections for Modern Jewish Men by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky
Paperback (December 1999) Jewish Publication Society. An inquiry into the emerging Jewish men's movement.
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[book] Down-To-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex, and the Rest of Life. by Arthur Waskow, Judith Hankin (Illustrator)
($15) Paperback - 416 pages (April 1997) William Morrow & Co. Waskow divides his book into the categories of food, money, sex, and the rest of life--rest as in resting, reposing, and reflecting. Waskow examines new ways to understand Judaism and apply its spiritual meaning to daily life.
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[book] Seasons of Our Joy : A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays by Arthur I. Waskow, Martin Farren, Joan Benjamin-Farren, Joan Benjamin Farren
($16) Paperback - 245 pages Reissue edition (September 1991) Beacon Pr. Provides new insights into the Jewish calendar and holidays
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[book] Tales of Tikkun: New Jewish Stories to Heal the Wounded World by Phyllis Ocean Berman and Arthur Ocean Waskow
Paperback - 150 pages (November 1996) Jason Aronson
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[book] Godwrestling, Round 2: Ancient Wisdom, Future Paths by Arthur Waskow
($11) Paperback - 352 pages (July 1998) Jewish Lights Pub
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[book] Becoming Brothers by Howard Waskow and Arthur Waskow
Hardcover - 218 pages (May 1993). Free Press. Hey, it is never too late to reconnect with a sibling. Two brothers--one a family therapist (Howard), the other head of the Center for Jewish Renewal in Philadelphia (Arthur)--come to terms with their past and present relationship. Despite a loving mother's constant plea to "be close to your brother above all!," the Waskows have felt overriding anger and resentment toward each other throughout most of their lives. Click to read more.
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[book] The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays by Irving Yitz Greenberg
($40 less 30% discount) Hardcover (May 1998) Aronson. Rabbi Greenberg explains and interprets the origin, background, ceremonial rituals, and religious significance of all the Jewish holidays, showing how they are related to Judaism's central themes and giving detailed instructions for observing them
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[book] 100 Blessings Every Day : Daily Twelve Step Recovery Affirmation, Exercises for Personal Growth & Renewal Reflecting Seasons of the Jewish Year by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, Jay M. Holder.
$15 before discount. Paperback-432 pages (December 1993). Jewish Lights Pub. A 12 step program for Jews. Recovery is a conscious choice from moment to moment, day in and day out. This helpful and healing book of affirmations and daily recovery meditations gives readers words to life by, throughout the annual cycle of holiday observances and special times of the Jewish calendar.
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[book] Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery : A Personal Guide to Turning from Alcoholism and Other Addictions by Kerry M. Olitzky, Stuart A. Copans, Sheldon Zimmerman.
$14 before discount. Paperback - 136 pages (January 1992). Jewish Lights Pub. It happens in the best of families. It is a disease, and should be confronted head-on. This book presents a Jewish perspective on The Twelve Steps and offers inspiration and motivation toward recovery. One used to have to go to AA where there was an underlying Christian theme. This guide explains how the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are relevant for Jewish people as well as Christians. Afterword on "Where to Go for Help" by The JACS Foundation (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others)
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[book] Do Unto Others: How Good Deeds Can Change Your Life by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski
$18 before discount. Hardcover-144 pages (November 1997) Andrews & McMeel. Rabbi Twerski is the one to read when you what to learn about how to change behavior to help someone to change. As both a psychiatrist and Rabbi, Twerski offers insights into situations that may often be perceived as hopeless. This is must reading for Jewish counselors and communal workers. It should be required reading for Pastoral Counseling.
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[book] God Was Not in the Fire : The Search for a Spiritual Judaism by Daniel Gordis
($12 before discount) Paperback - 256 pages (September 1997) Touchstone Books. Rabbi Gordis examines the reasons for religious apathy among Jews. Is it because of emancipation from the ghetto? Or do Jews find religion irrelevant? Is religious practice for the unintelligent?. Rabbi Gordis confronts these issues and provides a prescription for communicating the relevance of Judaism and how it can enrich one's life. The book's title is taken from the Book of King I, in which Elijah shows that God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in a still, small spiritual voice.
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[book] The Greatest Poems of the Bible. Translated by James Kugel
224 pages. The Free Press. September 1999.
A reader's companion to some of the poems of the Bible, with Kugel's insights into their hidden beauties of deeper meanings. What do the Psalms tell us about the nature of the soul? What do the shirim/songs and proverbs tell us about monotheism and the afterlife? Kugel is a Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard, and a Professor at Bar Ilan University. He is also the former poetry editor of Harper's Magazine. The book includes new translations for Psalms 104, 42, 29, 51, 23, 137 and 119; Deborah's Song from Judges 5; Job 28; Samuel 2's David's Lament (How the mighty have fallen); as well as poems from Jeremiah, Isaiah, Song of Songs; Micah, Ecclesiastes and others. An example of Kugel's illumination is a chapter on Amos' prophecy on "But Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters / And righteousness Like a Mighty Stream." In addition to bringing the poem's language to greater life, Kugel explains the nature of prophecy in ancient Israel, Amos' background, and the hidden reason for calling Amaziah's Beth-El a "Beth-Sorrow." Kugel continues by discussing the use of two sentence structure in Hebrew prophecy, as in the sentence, "An ox knows its owner, and an ass it's master's trough." From structure, Kugel moves to word choice. For example, why use ox? An animal that is dull witted but readily plows with a yoke. Why use an 'ass', which is a smart animal, but cannot be controlled? The word 'knows' also means 'devoted to' and 'obeys', while the word 'master' also means 'Creator' or is it an allusion to a Canaanite Storm deity? All this illumination, and just on one sentence. I had the privilege of sitting in on some of his lectures in NYC, and can attest to his teaching skill, so buy the book for his commentaries, and go and learn.
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Click here to purchase Kugel's January 1999 book titled, Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible As It Was at the Start of the Common Era by James L. Kugel
Click here to purchase Kugel's PAPER BACK edition of THE BIBLE AS IT WAS by James L. Kugel (November 1999)






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