The Jewish mystical tradition regards the rituals and stories of the Holy Day cycle as symbolic representations of internal spiritual and psychological development, helping us to translate the experience into the language of contemporary psychological theories. Joel Ziff combines his rich knowledge of psychology with close readings of Jewish texts to present us with Mirrors in Time, a clinically illustrated, practical guide that integrates the wisdom of the Jewish mystical tradition with contemporary psychological perspectives. The Holy Days provide a context similar to that experienced in psychotherapy. They create time to reflect upon the challenges we face and consider how we might best respond. The texts of Jewish tradition describe a process through rituals, images, stories, and symbols. These can be difficult to understand because they are ancient, agrarian, hierarchical, and patriarchal in nature. Contemporary psychological perspectives can often articulate obscure mystical concepts. In his effort to translate the ideas of such mystical thinkers as Shneur Zalman of Lyady into a modern, 20th-century framework, Ziff includes theories developed by Freud, Jung, Assagioli, Perls, Erickson, and their students. The unique character of each Holy Day is experienced in the context of one's journey through the year; a journey that includes births and deaths, beginnings and endings, opportunities and crises, successes and failures. Daily, we recreate and reinvent ourselves, giving birth to a new identity.
Joel Ziff, Ed.D., is a psychologist, consultant, and trainer in private practice in Newton, Massachusetts, and a teacher at Lesley College and the Interface Foundation. He also offers workshops on the application of psychotherapeutic process to Jewish practice. Ziff has developed a multidimensional perspective integrating work with behavior, body process, emotion, mind, relationship, and spirit. His background is in gestalt, family systems, classical and Ericksonian hypnosis, developmental theory, transpersonal psychology, transactional analysis, group process, and the Rubenfeld Synergy method of body-oriented psychotherapy. Ziff lives with his wife, Elizabeth Rosenzweig, and their two children, Max and Lev Samuel.