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A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer

By Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi (z"l) with Joel Segel
Foreword by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

6 x 9, 240 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-58023-627-0

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Experience the living taste of prayer in your heart,
the deep and gentle glow of prayer in your soul.

“Many who live their lives as Jews, even many who pray every day, live on a wrapped and refrigerated version of prayer. We go to synagogue dutifully enough. We rise when we should rise, sit when we should sit. We read and sing along with the cantor and answer ‘Amen’ in all the right places. We may even rattle through the prayers with ease. We sacrifice vitality for shelf-life, and the neshomeh, the Jewish soul, can taste the difference.”

—from the Introduction 

This fresh approach to prayer is for all who wish to appreciate the power of prayer’s poetry and song, jump into its ceremonies and rituals, and join the age-old conversation that Jews have had with God. Reb Zalman, one of the most important Jewish spiritual teachers in contemporary American Judaism, offers you new ways to pray, new channels for communicating with God and new opportunities to open your heart to God’s response.

With rare warmth and authenticity, Reb Zalman shows you:

  • How prayer can engage not just spirit, but mind, heart and body
  • Meditations that open the door to kavanah, the focus or intention with which we pray
  • How to understand the underlying “deep structure” of our prayer services
  • How to find and feel at home in a synagogue
  • How to sing and lead niggunim, the simple, wordless tunes that Jews sing to get closer to God
  • and more

“Nowhere has [Reb Zalman’s] contribution to Judaism been greater than in teaching people how to daven—how to pray and reach out to God. In this book, he brings together a lifetime of insights and practical exercises that can open up any heart, as they have opened up mine.”

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author, Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish Ethics

“Opens the siddur to our hearts and imaginations, freeing us to connect to all that is greater than our small selves with joy, heartbreak and freedom. This book helps us all—believer or not, Jewish or not—to be the people we yearn to be.”

Rabbi Rachel Cowan, senior fellow, Institute for Jewish Spirituality

“[This] is Reb Zalman at his deeply inspiring and spiritual best! [This book] will transform you, inviting you—no, compelling you—to go deeper and deeper into the very heart and soul of life!”

Rabbi Irwin Kula, co-editor, The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices: CLAL’s Guide to Everyday & Holiday Rituals & Blessings; president, CLAL—The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

“Explains Jewish prayer and provides a pathway for becoming fully engaged in it.... An excellent tool for anyone who leads services as well as anyone who wants a deeper experience during tefilah.”

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

“This marvelous book is like having Reb Zalman say, ‘Sit with me a while and I’ll tell you a few stories. You’ll transform your prayers into lovers’ trysts with God.’ Who wouldn’t want that?”

Sylvia Boorstein, author, That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist: On Being a Faithful Jew and a Passionate Buddhist

“Opens the gates of prayer. Through every word of this wise, loving and playful book, you will be blessed by Reb Zalman’s integrity, humility and unbounded joy. By graciously embracing the totality of body, heart, mind and soul, and by being so very real, he sends us each to our own encounter.”

Rabbi Shefa Gold, author, The Magic of Hebrew Chant Healing the Spirit, Transforming the Mind, Deepening Love

“An adventure of heart, mind and soul ... let the Grand Master of the High Art of Davenology guide you through the inner landscapes of Jewish prayer. Whether you are a skilled davener or new to this path, you will find insight and wisdom beyond anything you have yet encountered!”

Rabbi Marcia Prager, author, The Path of Blessing: Experiencing the Energy and Abundance of the Divine

“It is an extraordinary and rare gift to receive the wisdom of a master of prayer, a gadol hador, who shares his deep practical insights, gathered during a lifetime of learning, practice, daring experimentation and concern for the spiritual relevance of the Jewish spiritual tradition for our generation. This soulful book is precious for those of us who seek to ever deepen our connection with God.”

Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun

“A treasure trove of beautiful, wise, useful and generous spiritual teachings from a great and beloved master of Jewish learning and prayer. The stories of Reb Zalman’s long and blessed life, too, are a useful and beautiful resource.”

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg, Institute for Jewish Spirituality

“Rabbi Zalman has blended mysticism, scholarship and sechel into a unique and down-to-earth book for those who want to make Judaism their personal spiritual path. A book for anyone who wants to practice Judaism as a living religion.”

Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, author, Kitchen Table Wisdom

“[An] enlightening mystical masterpiece. An inspiring and expansive vision of Judaism that is informed by mysticism, Hasidism, everyday spirituality, creative use of ritual and an intriguing understanding of meaningful Jewish practice.”

“Zalman’s teachings have inspired a generation of Jews, encouraging an open-hearted, open-minded Judaism. I count myself as one of his students, and commend [his work] to seekers of meaning and joy.”

Anita Diamant, author, The Red Tent

“Whether by birth, by marriage or by choice, whether practicing or not, virtually anyone remotely affiliated with Judaism should read this book.”

Publishers Weekly

“This is a book of courage. Zalman understands the heart of his reader.”

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, author, Conscience: The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey and other books

“What he has to say about work, marriage, divorce, the pace of life in our modern world, and how to cope with a myriad of problems we human beings face addresses all of humankind.”

Joshu Sasaki Roshi

Joel Segel, editor of many books on spirituality, is coauthor (with Reb Zalman) of Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author, lecturer and spiritual leader, is author of Honey from the Rock: An Easy Introduction to Jewish Mysticism, Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary; and many other acclaimed books.


Related Item(s)
Code Name Image
978-1-58023-691-1 Jewish with Feeling
978-1-58023-628-7 Jewish Men Pray
978-1-58023-417-7 Making Prayer Real
978-1-58023-182-4 First Steps to a New Jewish Spirit: Reb Zalman's Guide to Recapturing Your Relationship with God
978-1-58023-022-3 Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everyday and Not-So-Everyday Moments
978-1-58023-671-3 Magic of Hebrew Chant


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