“It is hard to work through one’s grief when there are so many cover-ups and so many different kinds of denial at work within the culture. And that is why this book is of so much importance. Anne Brener has crafted a walkway through the valley of the shadow of death. The walkway has thorns and bramble bushes on it but it leads to the other side, beyond grief, for those who are willing to stay the course.
Keep this book for time of need and do the grief-work in which it instructs us and you will see that this long and wise heritage of ours still has the power to speak, to heal and to comfort—even in our time.”
—from the Foreword by Rabbi Jack Riemer
For those who mourn a death, for those who would help them and for those who face a loss of any kind, Mourning & Mitzvah teaches you the power and strength available to you in the fully experienced mourning process.
When the temple stood in the ancient city of Jerusalem, mourners walked through the gates and into the courtyard along a specifically designated mourner’s path.
As they walked, they came face to face with all the other members of the community, who greeted them with the ancestor of the blessing, “May God comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” In this way, the community embraced those suffering bereavement, yet allowed for unique experiences of grief.
In this new and expanded edition of a modern classic, Anne Brener brings us an innovative integration of Jewish tradition and modern professional resources. It gives spiritual insight and healing wisdom to those in our own time who mourn a death, to those who would help them and to those who face a loss of any kind.
“Enthusiastically recommended as a valuable discussion of a universal experience.”
“A splendid resource for readers of any philosophical persuasion.”
—The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog
“This book is marvelous. It is a work that I wish I had written. It is the best book on this subject that I have ever seen.”
—Rabbi Levi Meier, PhD, chaplain, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; author, Ancient Secrets: Using the Stories of the Bible to Improve Our Everyday Lives
“Insightful and understanding.... A realistic guide which will help secure healing for those who have suffered loss.”
—Rabbi Lee Bycel, dean, School of Rabbinics, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion
“I feared it would be too much centered on the Jewish tradition to be meaningful for my situation, but not so at all. It spoke to me throughout. Your methods of healing are so basic and human that I believe they would be accessible to many groups, with or without their own religious traditions.”
—Libby Ingalls, a non-Jewish mourner
“My dad is gone and I will continue to deal with that for years to come, yet I feel peaceful and comforted by my encounter with Mourning & Mitzvah, and I am deeply grateful to Anne Brener for having written it.”
—Linda Zweig, Jewish mourner
“Wise and compassionate.... [Makes Jewish] wisdom explicit in a practical and insightful way.”
—Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
“An important book with the power to bring Jews closer to Judaism and closer to the Source of life and death.”
—Rabbi Sue Elwell, director, Los Angeles Jewish Feminist Center
An excellent resource for those who need help during their time of mourning [to] find healing and understanding.”
—New York Board of Rabbis Bulletin
“As a rabbi who must deal on a daily basis with aspects of mourning, there are few books that I can turn to for guidance, let alone suggest to be read by those I am comforting.... I am unaware of a book that is as helpful or as complete.... Bridges the gap between Judaism and psychology.... Underscores the wisdom of the Jewish tradition and its understanding of the process of healing.”
—Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer, Congregation B’nai B’rith, Santa Barbara, Calif.
“A thoughtful and sensitive guide for doing the grief-work needed to emerge from the blackness of a profound loss.”
About the Contributors
Rabbi William Cutter is professor of education and Hebrew literature at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. He is active in many health organizations and serves as lecturer in chaplaincy at the College–Institute. He was chair of the editorial committee for The Jewish Mourner’s Handbook, published by Behrman House.
Rabbi Jack Riemer of Congregation Beth Tikvah in Boca Raton, Florida, is the coeditor of So That Your Values Live On: Ethical Wills and How to Prepare Them (Jewish Lights) and the editor of Jewish Reflections on Death.