Jewish Men Pray: Words of Yearning, Praise, Petition, Gratitude and Wonder from Traditional and Contemporary Sources

Friday, May 24, 2013

JEWISH MEN PRAY: Words of Yearning, Praise, Petition, Gratitude and Wonder from Traditional and Contemporary Sources, edited by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Stuart M. Matlins with the foreword by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL, was recently published by Jewish Lights (Woodstock, VT). This publication provides an innovative new way to help men enhance their spiritual life.

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Isn’t the siddur primarily a book of prayers by men? But what about praying outside the box—outside the synagogue and the traditional prayer service? Spontaneous prayer can be the key to a real connection with God and a way to help Jewish men better navigate their way in the real world.

“We prepared this book to help men establish or cultivate a life of prayer, because we believe that prayer is a primary vehicle to access the Divine, to establish and maintain a relationship with that which is beyond the self, with all that is holy,” write Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Stuart M. Matlins in JEWISH MEN PRAY: Words of Yearning, Praise, Petition, Gratitude and Wonder from Traditional and Contemporary Sources (Jewish Lights / June 2013 / Hardcover / $19.99). “And we are fearful that a life that is enriched by prayer—and the divine relationship that is presumed by it—may be slipping from the grasp of many.”

This collection of prayers celebrates the variety of ways today’s 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 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 preconceived ideas about prayer and will inspire men 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.

About the Editors:

Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, named one of the fifty leading rabbis in North America by Newsweek, is executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute. He is author of many books on Jewish spirituality, healing and Jewish religious practice, including Life’s Daily Blessings: Inspiring Reflections on Gratitude and Joy for Every Day, Based on Jewish Wisdom.

Stuart M. Matlinsis 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.

About the Foreword Writer: 

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.

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Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to 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 American Jewish Archives, 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