Midrash & Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition

Overview

Midrash provides a revolutionary guide through the most difficult passages of our life stories.

This groundbreaking volume examines the spiritual shortfalls of our current healing environment and explores how midrash can help you see beyond the physical aspects of healing to tune in to your spiritual source.

Pushing the boundaries of Jewish knowledge, physicians, rabbis, social workers, psychologists and philosophers investigate the role of ...

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Midrash & Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition

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Overview

Midrash provides a revolutionary guide through the most difficult passages of our life stories.

This groundbreaking volume examines the spiritual shortfalls of our current healing environment and explores how midrash can help you see beyond the physical aspects of healing to tune in to your spiritual source.

Pushing the boundaries of Jewish knowledge, physicians, rabbis, social workers, psychologists and philosophers investigate the role of midrashic thinking in addressing seemingly intractable social and personal issues. Topics discussed include:

  • How metaphors and parables can aid healing
  • How Jewish tradition can inform and enrich health, hospice and nursing-home care
  • New ways of reading Jewish texts in the discussion of medical ethics
  • The role of community in addressing aging, loss and suffering.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A conversation among the giants of the Jewish healing movement. Jewish professionals and lay leaders alike, along with clinicians and all those who have had encounters with medicine will appreciate the depth and the humanity, the challenges articulated and the synergy engendered by this discourse on the science and art of healing."
Rabbi Mari Chernow, senior rabbi, Temple Chai (Phoenix)

"A rigorous intellectual and emotional journey. Expands the field considerably, as midrash—Jewish lore—allows emphasis on empathy. An exploration of some of the finest minds (and hearts) into a new chapter of Jewish bioethics."
Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler, author, Facing Illness, Finding God: How Judaism Can Help You and Caregivers Cope When Body or Spirit Fails

“A synergistic interplay of simultaneously personal and scholarly reflections from an international group of seasoned, intelligent, caring voices. Perusing this rich compilation of fresh source material and nuanced insights is like joining a leading-edge conversation—or at least like sitting within a couple of rows of the lively, collaborative roundtable.”
Rabbi Natan Fenner, BCC, founding editor, Bay Area Jewish Healing Center's Torah Reflections

“Explores a wide range of thought about how we use language, image and story to make meaning in the midst of illness, aging, healing and caregiving.”
Rabbi Nancy Flam, co-director of programs, Institute for Jewish Spirituality

“Presents inspiring and beautifully crafted essays and stories on subjects that touch all realms of the human condition—the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. This powerful book provides the opportunity to engage in the extraordinary Jewish tradition of story making, interpreting and reframing to bring meaning and wholeness into our lives.”
Sharona Silverman, MPH, director, Deutsch Family Shalom Center, Temple Chai (Phoenix)

From the Publisher

"A conversation among the giants of the Jewish healing movement. Jewish professionals and lay leaders alike, along with clinicians and all those who have had encounters with medicine will appreciate the depth and the humanity, the challenges articulated and the synergy engendered by this discourse on the science and art of healing."
Rabbi Mari Chernow, senior rabbi, Temple Chai (Phoenix)

"A rigorous intellectual and emotional journey. Expands the field considerably, as midrash—Jewish lore—allows emphasis on empathy. An exploration of some of the finest minds (and hearts) into a new chapter of Jewish bioethics."
Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler, author, Facing Illness, Finding God: How Judaism Can Help You and Caregivers Cope When Body or Spirit Fails

“A synergistic interplay of simultaneously personal and scholarly reflections from an international group of seasoned, intelligent, caring voices. Perusing this rich compilation of fresh source material and nuanced insights is like joining a leading-edge conversation—or at least like sitting within a couple of rows of the lively, collaborative roundtable.”
Rabbi Natan Fenner, BCC, founding editor, Bay Area Jewish Healing Center's Torah Reflections

“Explores a wide range of thought about how we use language, image and story to make meaning in the midst of illness, aging, healing and caregiving.”
Rabbi Nancy Flam, co-director of programs, Institute for Jewish Spirituality

“Presents inspiring and beautifully crafted essays and stories on subjects that touch all realms of the human condition—the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. This powerful book provides the opportunity to engage in the extraordinary Jewish tradition of story making, interpreting and reframing to bring meaning and wholeness into our lives.”
Sharona Silverman, MPH, director, Deutsch Family Shalom Center, Temple Chai (Phoenix)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580234849
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 412,012
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi William Cutter, PhD, is author of Healing and the Jewish Imagination: Spiritual and Practical Perspectives on Judaism and Health; Midrash and Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition, and is editor of Healing and the Jewish Imagination: Spiritual Perspectives on Judaism and Health. He has published widely on health and healing. He is former director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and professor of modern Hebrew literature and the Steinberg Professor of Human Relations at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi William Cutter, PhD, is available to speak on the following topics:

• What Is a "Reform" Way to Look at Social Issues

• What Do We Mean When We Speak about Narratives and Ethics?

• Therapoetics: Meanings for Spirituality through Reading Poems

• The Creation of Poetry: Is Every Person a Poet Waiting to Emerge?

• Biblical Themes in Modern Hebrew Poetry: The Schools of Amichai, Zelda and Zach

Click here to contact the author.

Michele F. Prince, LCSW, MAJCS, is executive director of OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center in Los Angeles. She is a steering committee member and former director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health of Hebrew Union College. She is an oncology social worker affiliated with the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California.

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Table of Contents

Preface Michele F. Prince ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction xix

1 Metaphors and Side Effects

L'Mashal: Metaphor and Meaning in Illness Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub 3

From Heaven to Hypochondria: Metaphors of Jewish Healing Stuart Schoffman 14

2 The Narrow Place from Which Healing Comes, and the Expansive Edge of the Continent

Surviving the Narrow Places: Judah and Joseph and the Journey to Wholeness Rabbi Norman J. Cohen 29

Widening the Boundaries Rabbi Eric Weiss 43

3 Lyric and Community

The Midrashic Impulse in Poems, Our Dialogue with Ecclesiastes, and Other Lyrical Interpretations Rabbi William Cutter 49

"Psalms, Songs & Stories": Midrash and Music at the Jewish Home of San Francisco Rabbi Sheldon Marder 68

4 God in the Doctor's Office: Some Midrashic Elaborations

Talking to Physicians about Talking about God: A Midrashic Invitation Rabbi William Cutter 85

A Physician's Response to the Midrashic Invitation Ronald M. Andiman 97

5 Contexts of Suffering, Contexts of Hope

Neither Suffering nor Its Rewards: A Story about Intimacy and Dealing with Suffering and with Death Ruhama Weiss 107

The Experience of Suffering: A Response to Ruhama Weiss Rabbi Aryeb Cohen 129

6 Midrashic Renderings of Age and Obligation

After the Life Cycle: The Moral Challenges of Later Life Thomas R. Cole 137

The Journey of Later Life: Moses as Our Guide Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman 160

7 Narrative and Loss

Words in the Dark: A Personal Journey Eitan Fishbane 177

Reflections on the Dark Linda Raphael 205

8 The Dilemmas of Psychotherapy; the Healing Response of Midrash

The Danger of Cure, the Value of Healing: Toward a Midrashic Way of Being Philip Cushman 211

Midrashic Thinking: An Appreciation and a Caution Rabbi Lewis M. Barth 234

9 The Narrative Turn in Jewish Bioethics

Aggadah and Midrash: A New Direction for Bioethics? Rabbi Leonard A. Sharzer 245

Jewish Bioethics: Between Interpretation and Criticism Jonathan Cohen 263

10 What Takes Place and What Can Be Changed

A Midrash on the Mi Sheberakh: A Prayer for Persisting Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler 277

The Human Body and the Body Politic Rabbi Richard Address 281

Notes 293

Credits 315

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