Author: Michael Strassfeld
Brand: Jewish Lights
Edition: New Ed
Number Of Pages: 508
Release Date: 17-08-2006
Details: Product Description
A book that charts a clear path to a more spiritually rich practice of Judaism―from the coauthor of the best-selling Jewish Catalog volumes.
For all the cycles of life, best-selling author Rabbi Michael Strassfeld presents traditional Jewish teachings as a guide to behavior and values. Where the tradition is replete with rituals (for example, the Sabbath), he describes them and shows how they can enrich spiritual living. Where rituals are sparse or nonexistent (for example, returning home at the end of the workday), he suggests new ones gleaned from his own study and experience.
Strassfeld also brings the principles of "insight meditation" to Jewish life, using this practice to recover and reconstruct Judaism's spiritual dimension. He describes a Judaism that encourages within us a spiritual awareness as we participate in both traditional Jewish practices and the mundane activities of daily life. By engaging with Jewish tradition in ways that recapture its original
kavanah, or intention, we will, Strassfeld maintains, achieve the two fundamental goals of Judaism-to become better human beings and to be in God's presence. (Hardcover published in 2002 by Schocken Books, ISBN 0-8052-4124-8.)
"'Shwer Tzu zine a yid,' our parent's generation used to say: it's hard to be a Jew. But we Jews living today are so lucky," writes Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. "Being Jewish is safer now than at any other time in history."
But that still doesn't mean it is easy. "Our challenge today," he continues is to be Jewish in a way that fills our lives with meaning. We want to be Jewish with awareness, 'to do Jewish' in a way that satisfies our souls. We want our Yiddishkeit to enrich the world in which we live."
Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, who became famous as one of the coauthors of The Jewish Catalgue in the 1970s, takes a more handbook type of tone in his A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice. This was published in hardcover by Schocken Books in 2002, but is soon to be released in paperback by Jewish Lights ($19.99).
The book resembles many, other introduction-to-Judaism books in covering personal behavior, holidays, and so forth. But his goal is similar to Schachter-Shalomi's.
"Rituals should not be observed because we are 'supposed to' observe them, but rather because they help us achieve the real goal: awareness," he writes. "A spiritual practice of Judaism strives for awareness of the moment, every moment, helping us to live life to the fullest."
"Doing Jewish with awareness" certainly includes intellectual awareness as well as sensual or spiritual awareness. -- Leon Cohen ―
The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle
About the Author
Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, coauthor of the three volumes of The Jewish Catalog and of A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah and author of The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary, is the rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, a synagogue in Manhattan.
Package Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.0 x 1.5 inches