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Winner—National Jewish Book Award!

My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 1

The Sh'ma and Its Blessings

Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

7 x 10, 168 pp, Hardcover, 978-1-879045-79-8

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Winner—National Jewish Book Award!


“The prayer book is our Jewish diary of the centuries, a collection of prayers composed by  generations of those who came before us, as they endeavored to express the meaning of their lives and their relationship to God. The prayer book is the essence of the Jewish soul.”
My People's Prayer Book provides diverse and exciting commentaries to the traditional liturgy, written by some of today's most respected scholars and teachers from all perspectives of the Jewish world. They explore the text from the perspectives of ancient Rabbis and modern theologians, as well as feminist, halakhic, medieval, linguistic, biblical, Chasidic, mystical, and historical perspectives.
This stunning work, an empowering entryway to the spiritual revival of our times, enables all of us to claim our connection to the heritage of the traditional Jewish prayer book. It helps rejuvenate Jewish worship in today's world, and makes its power accessible to all. The My People's Prayer Book series belongs on the library shelf of every home, every synagogue—every sanctuary of prayer.
Introductions tell the reader what to look for in the prayer service, as well as how to truly use the commentaries, to search for—and find—meaning in the prayer book.

Praise for My People’s Prayer Book Vol. 1: The Sh’ma and Its Blessings

"Add[s] a great deal to the understanding of the prayers.... [Will] appeal to an American Jewry searching for a deepened spirituality without compromising pluralism."

Jewish Book World

"By juxtaposing ... different commentaries, we get some sense of how rich, how suggestive, and how alive the words of the Shema are.... Enlightening.... [Introduces] us to the world of Jewish thought that centers around these six inexhaustible words."

Jewish Book World

"Lucidly reviews prayer’s development and current structure."


"Beautifully produced ... will provide insight to the prayer service to anyone, whether an accomplished scholar or a novice seeking meaning in the prayers. The translations, which are new for this series, are quite meaningful.... A useful addition to the library of anyone who desires to find more meaning in their davenning."

Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs Torchlight


Reform Judaism

"[An] outstanding guide to the siddur.... Engages the mind and heart ... [and] demonstrates the joy that can be found in the study of Jewish texts. And it challenges one’s assumptions at whatever level of understanding one brings to the text. What more could one ask of a book?"

Houston Jewish Herald-Voice

"A remarkable achievement.... The caliber of the commentaries and the beautiful format of the book make this an exceptional work."

Conservative Judaism Quarterly

"The first [prayerbook], in any language, deliberately to acknowledge and exploit the rich variety of ways in which modern Jews approach their liturgy.... Represents an important step in ... creating the tools for English-speaking Jews’ greater spiritual engagement with their liturgical heritage."

CCAR Reform Jewish Quarterly

"Christian readers will be enriched by this exploration of Jewish prayer as the oldest and deepest roots of Christian prayer.... Rich."


Praise for the My People’s Prayer Book series

"Nothing like [this series] exists anywhere.... A lifelong resource."

HUC–JIR Chronicle

"Perspectives from ancient rabbis and modern-day theologians ... transform what is said by rote in shul into a deeply spiritual experience."

Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

"An outstanding addition to the literature of Jewish life.... The reader can discover levels of meaning that seldom have been available to the laity. This series offers the possibility of a renewed appreciation of Jewish prayer."

Church & Synagogue Library Association

"A spectacular series of commentaries on the Siddur which makes it come alive in a way that no other companion book of study can possibly do. A must for every serious Jew."

Jewish Media Review

"[This series] is like exploring the molecular structure of a diamond to discover why the gem’s surface glitters with such brilliance."

Jewish Book World

"An unparalleled creative exercise in its field.... The opportunities for learning and personal and spiritual growth ... [are] almost limitless."

Liberal Judaism


Related Item(s)
Code Name Image
978-1-879045-80-4 My People's Prayer Book, V2
978-1-879045-81-1 My People's Prayer Book, V3
978-1-879045-82-8 My People's Prayer Book, V4
978-1-879045-83-5 My People's Prayer Book, V5
978-1-879045-84-2 My People's Prayer Book, V6
978-1-879045-85-9 My People's Prayer Book, V7
978-1-58023-121-3 My People's Prayer Book, V8
978-1-58023-262-3 My People's Prayer Book, V9
978-1-58023-240-1 My People's Prayer Book, V10


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