Dr. Erica Brown
Break the Surface of Spiritual Boredom to Find the Reservoir of Meaning Within
“We need to be bored. When we get bored and take responsibility for our boredom, we arrive at a new level of interest, introspection, or action that has been stirred by the very creativity used to keep boredom away. The relationship between boredom and creativity is far from accidental. Creative minds are often stimulated by boredom, regarding it as a brain rest until the next great idea looms on the horizon of the otherwise unoccupied mind.”
—from Chapter 10
Boredom is a crisis of our age. In religious terms, boredom is sapping spirituality of its mystical and wholesome benefits, slowly corroding our ability to recognize blessing and beauty in our lives, to experience wonder and awe. What happens when our need for constant newness minimizes our interest in prayer, learning, and the mysteries of nature?
This intriguing look at spiritual boredom helps you understand just what this condition is, particularly as it relates to Judaism, and what the absence of inspiration means to the present and future of the Jewish tradition. Drawing insights from psychology, philosophy, and theology as well as ancient Jewish texts, Dr. Erica Brown explores the many ways boredom manifests itself within Judaism—in the community, classroom, and synagogue—and shows its potentially powerful cultural impact on a faith structure that advises sanctifying time, not merely passing it.
“Erudite, passionate, illuminating, inspiring, and, above all, Jewish. Here one of the foremost Jewish educators of our time takes aim at spiritual boredom, and points the way to a life of wonder, creativity and engagement.”
—Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University
“Erica Brown’s Spiritual Boredom has the wrong title; it should be called Resurrection of the Dead, that is: bringing what appears to be lifeless back to life. She, of course, is talking about Judaism as it’s currently practiced in far too many places. Her book is an excellent critique of and a remedy for our present malaise. And that is anything but boring.”
—Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Emanu-El Scholar at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco; author, The Way Into Jewish Mystical Tradition and many other books
“[A] path-breaking book.… Identifies the spiritual ennui that is rarely addressed and that results in yawns and in alienation. It then tells us what we can do about it to establish a Judaism that can re-excite our souls, our minds, and our hearts.”
—Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author, Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish Ethics
“Insightful, challenging, even transformative—a welcome antidote to those who would just shrug and say that there’s nothing we can do to infuse our Jewish lives with more joy, more meaning, and more spirit.”
—Rabbi Elyse Goldstein,
editor, New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future