From the Publisher
"Beautifully weaves together liberal Jewish perspectives on traditional practices. Jews who wish to deepen their practice will find both inspiration and instruction in this book."
Rabbi Debra Orenstein, editor, Lifecycles, Vol. 2: Jewish Women on Biblical Themes in Contemporary Life
“A wonderful guide to beginning a personal Jewish ritual practice. It offers both the steps to do and insightful stories of those who have found meaning in them. A terrific handbook for personal observance ... highly recommended!”
Dr. Ron Wolfson, author of The Art of Jewish Living series; cofounder, Synagogue 2/3000; vice president, University of Judaism
“Both resource and inspiration for ... daily Jewish ritual practice.... Excellent.”
Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
“Imbues ritual with spirit.... Weaves the personal, the spiritual, and the practical together in a lovely tapestry of meaning.”
Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar, Great Lakes Regional Director, UAHC; author of Our Dance with God: Finding Prayer, Perspective and Meaning in the Stories of Our Lives
“The authors, the essays, and the wisdom found here are first-rate. They will help your soul to soar.”
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, dean and vice president, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
A life marked by ritual was previously the province of traditional Jews, but today, more and more liberal Jews are adopting the practices of kippah (yarmulke), tallith (prayer shawl), tefillin (phylacteries), mikvah (ritual bath), daily blessings, prayer and Torah study as paths to living with greater purpose. Liberal Jews may observe these rituals not because of their "commandedness," but because they are "intensely poetic expressions of being Jewish," writes Vanessa Ochs in her foreword. Though this system of discipline might seem oppressive to an outsider, it can bring people closer to God and to themselves, the editors suggest. Each of 10 chapters by a different rabbi, educator or leader focuses on a specific ritual; each includes personal testimony, basic how-to information, transliterated and translated blessings, step-by-step instructions and a bibliography. The struggles, dilemmas and rewards inherent in religious practice are vividly portrayed through humorous and poignant stories of family, coming of age, journeys, searching, rebellion, return and connection. The authors present rabbinic perspectives alongside feminist voices and nontraditional ways of observance (for instance, observing Shabbat by gardening, which is traditionally prohibited). One quibble: where the authors offer others' personal testimony in the midst of their own, the layout can be confusing. However, that one drawback doesn't detract from this practical, accessible and fascinating guide for those who want to enter Jewish ritual or further enrich their own practice. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.