“Midrash & Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition” by Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D., Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at HUC-JIR - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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“Midrash & Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition” by Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D., Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at HUC-JIR

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       

Contact:          Jennifer Rataj
Telephone:        (802) 457-4000
Fax:                  (802) 457-4004


The midrashic process provides a supportive Jewish framework in which to reflect on issues of healing. Midrash is an interpretive practice that emphasizes interpersonal engagement, critical analysis and creativity. Pushing the boundaries of Jewish knowledge, in this new book, physicians, rabbis, social workers, psychologists and philosophers investigate the role of midrashic thinking in addressing seemingly intractable social and personal issues. 

“While healing often seems out of reach and achieving wholeness seems impossible, our midrashic texts teach that hope is always there,” writes Rabbi William Cutter, PhD, in MIDRASH & MEDICINE: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition (Jewish Lights / March 2011 / Hardcover / $29.99). “Biblical characters, especially as enhanced through midrashic interpretation, are like relatives and old friends…. We cannot escape seeing [them] as human beings standing at the crossroads of their lives in situations that are very much our own”.

This groundbreaking volume examines the spiritual shortfalls of the current healing environment and explores how midrash can help people see beyond the physical aspects of healing to tune in to their spiritual source.  Experts from across the spectrum of Jewish life present a wide variety of approaches to Midrash, and they demonstrate how it can function as a resource for healing.


Contributors: Rabbi Richard Address, DMin • Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler • Ronald M. Andiman, MD • Rabbi Lewis M. Barth, PhD • Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, PhD • Jonathan Cohen, PhD • Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, PhD • Thomas R. Cole, PhD • Philip Cushman, PhD • Rabbi William Cutter, PhD • Eitan Fishbane, PhD • Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC • Rabbi Sheldon Marder • Linda Raphael, PhD • Stuart Schoffman, MPhil • Rabbi Leonard A. Sharzer, MD • Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LCSW • Rabbi Eric Weiss • Ruhama Weiss, PhD


Rabbi William Cutter, PhD, is emeritus professor of Hebrew literature and human relations at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, with which he has been affiliated for over fifty years. He is editor of Healing and the Jewish Imagination: Spiritual and Practical Perspectives on Judaism and Health (Jewish Lights). He has published widely on health and healing.

Michele F. Prince, LCSW, MAJCS, is the director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion.  She is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in oncology and is co-founder of the Los Angeles Jewish Bereavement Project.


Praise for MIDRASH & MEDICINE: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition

“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)


MIDRASH & MEDICINE: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition (6” x 9”, 240 pp, Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-58023-428-3, $29.99) is available from Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, Indigo/Chapters, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and many other booksellers, or directly from Jewish Lights Publishing, P.O. Box 237, Woodstock, VT  05091; Tel: (802) 457-4000; Fax: (802) 457-4004; www.jewishlights.com. For credit card orders, call (800) 962-4544. Add $3.95 shipping and handling for the first book, $2.50 for each additional book. Also available as an e-book.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu