Read the Spirit
Blazing Sechel! Debra Darvick welcomes Rabbi Harvey of the Wild West!
Steve Sheinkin’s The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey series would have made even my comic-disdaining mother open the front door wide with welcome. The rabbi’s adventures are built upon classic Jewish texts and teachers: Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the Baal Shem Tov, Talmudic teachings and Pirke Avot, The Ethics of the Fathers. It’s whimsical; it’s wonderful; its wise and wacky with equal amounts of insight and sight gags.
Sh’ma—A Journal of Jewish Ideas
Toward Intentional Spiritual Communities
“America has become a society that breeds spiritual malaise,” writes Rabbi Sid Schwarz, author of Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future. “Among the chief causes of this malaise is the erosion of our country’s civic fabric. One need only think back to the weeks following the 9/11 tragedy to recall the overwhelming sense of American common purpose: Residing in the heart of every American, that commonality made us feel as though we were part of a grand social venture that was unique and unparalleled in the history of the world.”
LA Jewish Journal
Book Review: God of Becoming and Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology
The opening pages of Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson’s “God of Becoming and Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology” begins with a pop-culture reference, too. He describes how, when his family moved into their West Los Angeles home, the dining room had been “painted a sickly green … in the late ‘70s during the high watermark of the aesthetics of ‘The Brady Bunch’ and ‘The Partridge Family.’ ” Only when he removed the paint did he find the richly grained wood paneling that had long been covered up. Here, Rabbi Artson finds an apt analogy to his task as a teacher of religion.
LA Jewish Journal
Book Review: May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor
I suppose that Kol Nidrei is still the best-attended service of the Jewish calendar, but surely the memorial service known as Yizkor is a close second. After all, Yizkor—which means “May God remember ...”—is the moment when we are invited to recall in solemn prayer the loved ones who have passed away, a deeply poignant and sometimes painful experience that stands out in sharp relief from the other services during the High Holy Days.
Hooked on a feeling: Temple B'Nai Shalom's rabbi hopes readers will reel in lessons from his fly-fishing book
If you ask Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer, we are a society that has forgotten to stop and smell the roses. This belief has led him to co-write “Fly-Fishing — The Sacred Art,” which delves into the spiritual side of the sport while inspiring the reader to do some soul-searching and to appreciate the beauty of nature around us.
Balancing Jewish community needs with repairing the world
Rabbi Sidney Schwarz’s latest book, Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2013), traces the shift from the twentieth-century Jewish obsession with Jewish continuity for its own sake, to a more universalist outlook. Rather than tending towards tribalism, the Millennials are guided by what Rabbi Sid calls a covenantal identity, meaning a spiritual legacy drawing from the values and ethics embedded in Jewish teachings to better the world at large.
The Path of the Spiritual Fisherman – An interview with the author of Fly Fishing – The Sacred Art
Fishing is far more than catching fish. It is an experience that involves the entire body and engages the whole mind. There is simply no room in the focused fisherman’s consciousness for self doubt. If the fish are there then the successful fisherman will find them and will, more often than not land them.
Florida Heritage Jewish News
Creating a Meaningful Life
Newspaper and magazine articles note how, although most Americans own far more material goods than their ancestors, they’re less content than former generations. The idea that our possessions do not bring happiness is commonly found in religious tracts; those writers suggest the key to contentment is focusing less on the material and more on the spiritual. Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, D.H.L., explores this idea from a Jewish point of view in Saying No and Letting Go: Jewish Wisdom on Making Room for What Matters Most (Jewish Lights Publishing).
Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews
Book Review: On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cocoa
This book is like a box of bonbons. You have the sweet nougat filled stories of how Jews were involved in the
early trade and production of chocolate. There are lots of bitter chocolate pieces about Jews and the Inquisition
and the Holocaust (I didn’t know about the cruelties in the chocolate trade, so it made my dark chocolate taste
even more bitter). There is the foil covered gelt of the chocolate industry in Israel, and multi-layered squares
about ritual practices using chocolate in several religions. My only wish was that this book was more like a
tunnel of fudge cake where you get stuck in all of the molten filling and can’t put the book down.
Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews
Book Review: Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer
Reb Zalman wants people to understand and appreciate the power and process of prayer. He notes that too
many Jews repeat the words by rote without thinking about them. This book explains Jewish prayer and provides a pathway for becoming fully engaged in it.
Spirituality & Practice
Book Review: Amazing Chesed: Living a Grace-Filled Judaism
In this timely volume, Rabbi Shapiro Rami opens the Jewish-Christian door of dialogue a few feet further with his affirmation of grace — chesed — as a major dimension of Judaism.
The Jewish Journal
Getting to Know You...
The key to building community is social interaction, not “social networks”
Ron Wolfson, author of Relational Judaism, speaks about how to transform the model of 20th century Jewish institutions into 21st century relational communities.
The Jewish Exponent
New Book Tries to Rev Up the Ruach
When Rabbi Baruch HaLevi took over as spiritual leader of Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott, Mass., which is just outside Boston, Shabbat attendance was anemic. These days, 300 to 500 people take part in the Conservative congregation’s Shabbat offerings and the place is now considered among the most dynamic in the country.
The Jewish News
Temple Emanuel uses grant to enrich the entire community
A Synagogue Federation Partnership allows a congregation in Virginia Beach to dig into community building through a collective study of Dr. Ron Wolfson’s The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community and an invitation to the author to join in the conversation.