Words of Yearning, Praise, Petition, Gratitude and Wonder from Traditional and Contemporary Sources
Edited by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Stuart M. Matlins
Foreword by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL
A celebration of Jewish men’s voices in prayer—to strengthen, to heal, to comfort, to inspire—from the ancient world up to our own day.
“An extraordinary gathering of men—diverse in their ages, their lives, their convictions—have convened in this collection to offer contemporary, compelling and personal prayers. The words published here are not the recitation of established liturgies, but the direct address of today’s Jewish men to ha-Shomea Tefilla, the Ancient One who has always heard, and who remains eager to receive, the prayers of our hearts.”
—from the Foreword by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL
This collection of prayers celebrates the variety of ways Jewish men engage in personal dialogue with God—with words of praise, petition, joy, gratitude, wonder and even anger—from the ancient world up to our own day.
Drawn from mystical, traditional, biblical, Talmudic, Hasidic and modern sources, these prayers will help you deepen your relationship with God and help guide your journey of self-discovery, healing and spiritual awareness. Together they provide a powerful and creative expression of Jewish men’s inner lives, and the always revealing, sometimes painful, sometimes joyous—and often even practical—practice that prayer can be.
Jewish Men Pray will challenge your preconceived ideas about prayer. It will inspire you to explore new ways of prayerful expression, new paths for finding the sacred in the ordinary and new possibilities for understanding the Jewish relationship with the Divine. This is a book to treasure and to share.
“[A] rare book whose execution is as skillful as the need is deep. We need to learn how to pray as men and here is the guidance that will help us along this sacred path.”
—Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, California; author, Why Faith Matters
“This is not a book about how Jewish men pray; on the contrary, it is a meaningful, thoughtful, spiritually uplifting book of prayers composed by men ... for anyone and everyone who seeks to be inspired at any moment of the day.”
—Rabbi Charles Simon, executive director, Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs; author, Building a Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community
“Beautifully done. I hope it will be used extensively by individuals and organized Jewish men’s groups.”
—Doug Barden, executive director, Men of Reform Judaism
“Gives you the most sensitive, poignant and powerful words of men at prayer. It will shatter your stereotypes and lift your soul. You’ll want to bring it with you to synagogue!”
—Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, editor, The Modern Men’s Torah Commentary: New Insights from Jewish Men on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions
“What? Me, pray? Open this book and see if you connect. Here is help finding your voice.”
—Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler, author, A Man’s Responsibility: A Jewish Guide to Being a Son, a Partner in Marriage, a Father and a Community Leader
“Beautiful, heartfelt, uplifting ... will provide inspiration and guidance to anyone seeking a more intimate relationship with the Divine. I hope this spiritually elegant book is read by people of all faiths.”
—Larry Dossey, MD, author, Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine; executive editor, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing
“Offers graceful interpretations of formal prayers and creative writing of soulful ‘rebbes’ who transform prayer into what it is intended to be—a service of the heart.”
—Rabbi Avi Weiss, senior rabbi, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale; author, Spiritual Activism: A Jewish Guide to Leadership and Repairing the World
“A rich collection…. Many men will find themselves resonating deeply with these meditations, which are certainly not for men only.”
—Harry Brod, professor of philosophy and world religions, University of Northern Iowa; editor, A Mensch Among Men
“Remarkable—a book of prayers to live by and turn to in good times and in challenging times.”
—Rabbi Naomi Levy, author, Talking to God; spiritual leader, Nashuva
“Heartfelt, enlightening, irresistible. Part siddur, part encyclopedia, there’s something here to nourish the soul of every Jewish man. I can’t put it down.”
—Jeff Levin, PhD, MPH, university professor of epidemiology and population health, Baylor University; coeditor, Judaism and Health: A Handbook of Practical, Professional and Scholarly Resources
Stuart M. Matlins is widely recognized as a leader in the spiritual transformation of Judaism in our time. Recipient of the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award, he is founder, editor in chief and publisher of Jewish Lights Publishing. He is the editor of several anthologies, including the best-selling How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook and The Jewish Lights Spirituality Handbook: A Guide to Understanding, Exploring & Living a Spiritual Life.
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL, holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean’s Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is vice president of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He is the author of many inspiring books, including Passing Life’s Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, the Binding of Isaac (Jewish Lights).