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Saying No and Letting Go

Jewish Wisdom on Making Room for What Matters Most

By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, DHL
Foreword by Rabbi Naomi Levy

6 x 9, 192 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-58023-670-6

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An inspiring introduction to the most important lesson for today’s busy world:
the take-away is to take away.

“All we can hope to accomplish—by paying attention—is to learn to live with the mystery, become more comfortable with not knowing and try to enjoy life’s uncertainty. Every day is a gift, but we often squander it by missing what matters most.”

—from the Introduction 

Every day we are faced with choices that entail saying no—and frankly we’re not very good at it. Whether it’s the desire to please, get ahead, accumulate or impress, our lives have become so full and so busy that it is hard to determine what we really need and what’s really important to us.

The purpose of this book is to help you regain control of the things that matter most in your life. It taps timeless Jewish wisdom that teaches how to “hold on tightly” to the things that matter most while learning to “let go lightly” of the demands, worries, activities and conflicts that do not ultimately matter. Drawing insights from ancient and modern sources, it helps you identify your core values as well as the opportunities that do not reflect those values, and that you can learn to pass up. It also shows you how to establish a disciplined practice to help you adhere to your choices.

Whether it’s letting go of resentment, learning to say “no” at work or to your loved ones, downsizing your diet or asking less of the earth, this book will help you distinguish between the trivial and the profound.

“A lovely book! Skillfully weaves Jewish concepts, contemporary stories and heartfelt insights into a highly readable charge to reduce the burdens in our lives in order to realize our full potential as human beings. A must read for those seeking a path to unclutter the heart and liberate the mind.”

Dr. Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut Professor of Education, American Jewish University; author, Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community

“Is your life frenetic and full?... Do your kids go to bed before you get home from work? Do you chat regularly on Facebook but seldom have time to meet friends for coffee? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this book is for you. Rabbi Goldberg introduces us to centuries of time-tested Jewish wisdom in order to help us rediscover our personal missions and realign our lives with our core values. PS: If you don’t have time to read this book, know that he wrote it for you.”

Rabbi Jamie Korngold, author, The God Upgrade: Finding Your 21st-Century Spirituality in Judaism’s 5,000-Year-Old Tradition

“Provides a thoughtful, well-reasoned and Jewishly grounded approach on how to remain true to one’s deepest values while easing the overwhelming and ever-present pressures of everyday life. It’s a practical guide to help you to be genuinely yourself while navigating the emotional challenges of twenty-first-century living. Nesia Tova!”

Dr. Misha Galperin, CEO and president, Jewish Agency International Development; author, Reimagining Leadership in Jewish Organizations: Ten Practical Lessons to Help You Implement Change and Achieve Your Goals

“Goldberg’s practical suggestions on how to change our lives are excellent and thought provoking.... Anyone feeling dissatisfied with their life may find the answers they are searching for here.”

Heritage Florida Jewish News

“When we let go of distractions that make us busy, activities that make us inattentive and resentments that cause us pain, we create space within our psyches and souls for a life with more meaning.... [This] book teaches us that when we let go of things, thoughts and time wasted, we make room for a life of beauty and goodness.”

Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar, author, God Whispers: Stories of the Soul, Lessons of the Heart and The Bridge to Forgiveness: Stories and Prayers for Finding God and Restoring Wholeness

“Rabbi Goldberg makes it crystal clear that ‘making room for what matters most’ requires abundant wisdom and insight, but also equal amounts of willingness and humor. His own wisdom and insights reflected in excellent choices of sacred and secular stories and vivid examples prepare us to struggle less and live more. Highly recommended.”

Rabbi David Lyon, senior rabbi, Congregation Beth Israel, Houston, Texas; author, God of Me: Imagining God throughout Your Lifetime

“If you wish you had more time—for that matter, if you wish you had any time—to stop and think about what you really want your life to be, please read this wise, insightful and often funny book. It won’t take you long. It will help you figure out what truly matters to you and—more important—what doesn’t.”

Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, columnist and humorist

“In the midst of our increasingly harried technological world, Rabbi Goldberg provides a moving and inspiring meditation on how to stay focused on what’s actually important.”

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director, Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; author, Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community

“[Will] help people get through tough times ... [and] also be of use to clergy and therapists.”

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

“In our American culture, ‘no’ is felt to be a denial of freedom and an assault on our autonomy. Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, drawing on Jewish teachings and tradition, suggests that ‘saying no’ frees up space, opens potential and liberates time so that we can grow into the people we truly want to be, and ought to be. Self-limitation is an invitation to expansive possibility, ease of spirit and joy. This is a practice we can all use—today.”

Rabbi Jonathan P. Slater, co-director of programs, Institute for Jewish Spirituality

Rabbi Naomi Levy,the best-selling author of To Begin Again and Talking to God, is spiritual leader of Nashuva, a groundbreaking Jewish outreach organization based in Los Angeles.


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978-1-58023-404-7 Happiness and the Human Spirit (PB)
978-1-879045-98-9 Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary
978-1-58023-363-7 Jewish Stories from Heaven and Earth: Inspiring Tales to Nourish the Heart and Soul


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