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The King is the Field – Chabad Insights on the Divinity of Creation

Sep29

by: David Seidenberg on September 29th, 2016 | No Comments »

During the High Holidays, we strive to fashion our heart to become a dwelling place for God in the physical, earthly realm – a dirah batachtonim. However, the earliest aggadic (storytelling) midrash, Genesis Rabbah (fourth or fifth century), taught that “the root/essence of God’s presence was in the lower creatures /`iqar Shekhinah batachtonim haytah.” (19:7)

If the Shekhinah, the indwelling presence of God, was essentially in all creatures, how did we arrive at the idea that the primary dwelling place of God was within the human heart? This is the journey I would like to share below.

According to Genesis Rabbah, even though the Shekhinah was interwoven with the physical world from the beginning, human sin drove the presence of God further and further away from the world. This alienation was “put into practice,” so to speak, in later midrashic texts. Midrash Y’lamdeinu, in opposition to Genesis Rabbah, taught in the sixth or seventh century that humanity was supposed to be the locus of God’s presence in this world, and that this is what it means for us to be “rulers batachtonim.” (Batey Midrashot 1, B’reishit 9) If Genesis Rabbah describes how sin generated the flight of Shekhinah from a world that was once full of God’s presence, Y’lamdeinu describes instead a world which was never the home of Shekhinah.


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Make War on War

Sep2

by: Maurice Sher on September 2nd, 2016 | No Comments »

Our father, Maurice Sher, wrote only one opinion column during his lifetime (1917-2004). It was originally published in 2001 on the Common Dreams website and is reprinted below. We think his analysis was prescient and is even more relevant today. The upcoming election offers opportunities to lessen the number and power of ‘hawks’, who keep supporting military actions having little chance of producing the lasting peace our father advocated. Our votes and our voices can, and should, be used to counter the increasing willingness to express and act out of fear and hatred of the ‘other’. There is merit in the alternative envisioned by this ‘ordinary’ WWII soldier. He experienced the hell of war and returned home damaged, but always hoping the world’s people would see and treat one another more justly and compassionately.

- Chuck and Jonathan Sher

As a World War II veteran who served in the South Pacific, I know the horror of war first-hand. Our great victory in that “good” war should not be twisted into the inspiration for massive military action now. President Bush, Congress and world leaders must root out terrorists everywhere, but not wipe out ordinary people anywhere.While I am outraged by the terrorist attacks, I ask the US government not to compound the tragedy. As a proud US citizen and as a US Army war veteran, I must speak up and tell our nation’s leaders: “Don’t perpetuate the cycle of violence.” Bringing terrorists to justice must not become to excuse to wage a wholesale war against Islamic nations and Muslim people around the world (including here at home) — the vast majority of whom are as innocent as everyone murdered at the World Trade Center. As a Jew, I am all too familiar with the world’s willingness to demonize and try to destroy whole groups of people on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or nationality. There already has been a grotesque slaughter of the innocents around the world and across the centuries. It is time for it to stop.

That’s where America’s role and response become most important. September 11th marks the end of one era in American history. As the world’s only superpower, the ball is largely in our court. Will we respond to the causes of terrorism, as well as to its awful effects? How can President Bush even hope to win a war against an elusive enemy that, like a cancer, has spread its tentacles everywhere around the world and across America? Where will Congress send our soldiers, our battleships and our war planes — in other words, where can we unleash our unquestioned military might without doing far more harm than good? How should America deal with these dilemmas?


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A Response to Cherie Brown’s Article on The Movement for Black Lives Platform and Israel

Sep1

by: Donna Nevel on September 1st, 2016 | 4 Comments »

Screenshot from https://policy.m4bl.org

[Managing Editor's note: Cherie Brown, the founder and executive director of the National Coalition Building Institute, recently published an online piece in Tikkun that addressed controversy over a portion of The Movement for Black Lives platform the dealt with Israel/Palestine. You can read that piece here. The article below, from Donna Nevel, is a response to that article. Neither represents the official position of Tikkun. For Tikkun's official stances, please refer to the editorials published in the print magazine, which you can subscribe to at www.tikkun.org/subscribe.]

The Movement for Black Lives recently put forth a profound platform that, as Robin D. G. Kelley wrote, “is actually more than a platform. It is a remarkable blueprint for social transformation that ought to be read and discussed by everyone.”

Cherie Brown’s piece on what progressive Jews should be thinking about in relation to this platform – specifically what it says about Israel and Palestine – does not remotely reflect the deeply thoughtful, kind, loving, liberatory nature of that platform or of the Palestinian-led work for justice in Palestine and the world-wide solidarity among so many different communities. Rather, her article caricatured and misrepresented that work for justice.

1. Brown writes: Many Jews on campus report an atmosphere of intimidation when Jews question the validity ofBDS, even if they otherwise support Palestinian rights.”

In addition to this acontextual statement and lack of any documentation for the assertion she makes, Brown’s description of what students are experiencing on campuses leaves out a crucial picture of the (well-documented) harassment and intimidation of Palestinian students, Muslim student groups, and those promoting justice for Palestine. For detailed information that Brown did not include about what’s happening on campuses, please see two reports – one from Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), (“The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the U.S.”) that documents the suppression on U.S. campuses of advocacy for Palestinian human rights, and another from Jewish Voice for Peace (“Stifling Dissent: How Israel’s Defenders Use False Charges of Anti-Semitism to Limit the Debate on Campus”)that documents how Muslim and Arab students are being targeted, the bullying tactics of a range of American Jewish organizations, and the ways Israel advocacy groups intimidate student government to silence debate.


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Featured 30th Anniversary Article: “Back to Basics: A Politics of Meaning for Education”

Aug17

by: Svi Shapiro on August 17th, 2016 | No Comments »

[Managing Editor's note: Tikkun is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and to mark the date we have put together a special online anniversary issue that you can access at www.tikkun.org/tikkunat30. The issue includes articles, like the one featured in this post below, from the first decade of the magazine that are representative of what we have been doing for 30 years. And as another way to mark the occasion, we have temporarily reduced the price of a one-year print subscription to the magazine from $29 to $18. Click hereor visit http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/28103-2to subscribe! Already have one? They also make great gifts!]

From Tikkun Volume 8, No. 1. 1993.

If the Clinton administration wants to succeed in changing America’s education system, it must start by recognizing that the Right’s campaign to “return to basics” contains, at its heart, critical insights into the psychological, moral, and social context in which parents face their own future and that of their children. Although progressives have dismissed the conservative education agenda, citing its dehumanizing prescriptions and its distractions from the real issues, the Right has been able to harness deep-seated human concerns and anxieties to the practices and goals of schooling. As we build our own politics of educational meaning, it becomes imperative for us to take these concerns seriously and to address them in ways that will genuinely enhance the dignity, responsibility, freedom, and opportunities of the young.

Basic Skills: Toward a Curriculum for Survival

One of the rallying cries of those who believe America’s schools are cheating youngsters out of their educational “rights” has been the need to emphasize–or re-emphasize–the “basics.” On the surface, at least, what the basics are seems straightforward: teaching kids how to read, write, and do arithmetic. At one level there is an unassailable sensibleness to this demand: It is debilitating, disempowering, and deeply injurious for any American to lack these skills.

There is in the expectation that schools will instruct children so that they are functionally literate and numerate an obvious logic that is reinforced daily by the experiences of working-class and middle-class parents. To the extent that radical or progressive educators have taken issue with the Right’s version of the argument for the primacy of basics in the schools, they have seemed out of touch with Americans’ everyday concerns, needs, and demands. No agenda for education can possibly succeed if it does not take seriously the importance of teaching reading, writing, and numeracy.


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Featured 30th Anniversary Article: “The Rhetoric of Occupation”

Aug17

by: David Biale on August 17th, 2016 | 3 Comments »

[Managing Editor's note: Tikkun is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and to mark the date we have put together a special online anniversary issue that you can access atwww.tikkun.org/tikkunat30. The issue includes articles, like the one featured in this post below, from the first decade of the magazine that are representative of what we have been doing for 30 years. And as another way to mark the occasion, we have temporarily reduced the price of a one-year print subscription to the magazine from $29 to $18. Clickhereor visithttp://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/28103-2to subscribe! Already have one? They also make great gifts!]

From Tikkun Vol. 5, No. 2. 1990.

When I spoke this past November at the Tikkun conference in San Francisco, I began my remarks with an official disclaimer: I was speaking, I said, only for myself – my institutional affiliation was for identification purposes only. One might well ask why I began by stating the obvious. I did so because it is no longer possible to speak out freely on Israel without the risk of incurring venomous wrath and threats, both veiled and unveiled, to one’s very livelihood. There is a witch-hunt abroad in the land and many of us in the Jewish community are the witches.

Let me cite a few cases, taken more or less at random.

- Arthur Waskow is forced to resign from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for advocating the creation of a Palestinian state;

- The Zionist Organization of America maintains files (which it publishes for its members) on American Jews who have taken pro-peace positions such as endorsing the Jewish Peace Lobby and signing ads sponsored by Tikkun

- A branch of the American Jewish Congress loses its funding from a major Jewish foundation because it allows another organization to use a room in order to hear a Palestinian speaker;

- Newspapers in the Bay Area report that the Israeli consul-general has spied on and harassed Jewish educational and communal organizations that have dared to engage in dialogue with the insidious P-people;

- Activists in Friends of Peace Now in Toronto report that they regularly receive death threats whenever they mount any kind of program or demonstration.


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Pope Francis and the Changing Catholic Church

Aug10

by: Sarah Asch on August 10th, 2016 | No Comments »

Pope Francis saidin late July that he would never call terrorism “Islamic terrorism” since all religions contain fundamentalist groups. He made the comment in response to questions about a French priest who was targeted and killed in a terrorist attack.

His statement came on the heels of progressive remarks he made in June when he called for the Catholic Church to apologize to the LGBT community for centuries of discrimination. In his efforts to move the church towards a new era of cultural acceptance we should view Pope Francis with as much scrutiny as we would any politically savvy public figure. And whether or not you believe that the Pope is doing his best with a centuries-old system or that he is not moving fast enough on certain issues, we can all agree he is moving. Then the question becomes: how sustainable are these progressive movements after Pope Francis resigns or passes away? After all, Pope Francis changed the tenor of the church pretty quickly after his conservative predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, stepped down at the age of 85. With that in mind, many wonder how far Francis, who is 79 years old, can move the church before he has to hand over the job to somebody else.


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Winter Noon

Jul6

by: Umberto Saba, translated from the Italian by Paula Bohince on July 6th, 2016 | Comments Off

Winter Noon

At that moment when I was happy

(God forgive me the word so vast,

so tremendous), who drove almost to tears

my brief joy? You will say, some

beautiful creature passing

who smiled. No, a balloon instead,

a stray blue balloon

in the blue air, and my native

sky as never before, clear and cold,

noon winter resplendent

sky with some white clouds

and the windows of the houses, sun blazing,

tenuous smoke from one or two chimneys,

the divine in every

thing, globe by the incautious hand

of a child escaped. He cried

in the crowd, his pain

his great pain in Stock

Exchange Square, where I sat in a café

admiring through the glass with shining

eyes the climb or fall of its goodness.

 

(Translated from the Italian by Paula Bohince)

__

Mezzogiorno d’inverno

In quel momento ch’ero già felice

(Dio mi perdoni la parola grande

e tremenda) chi quasi al pianto spinse

mia breve gioia? Voi direte: “Certa

bella creatura che di là passava,

e ti sorrise”. Un palloncino invece,

un turchino vagante palloncino

nell’azzurro dell’aria, ed il nativo

cielo non mai come nel chiaro e freddo

mezzogiorno d’inverno risplendente.

Cielo con qualche nuvoletta bianca,

e i vetri delle case al sol fiammanti,

e il fumo tenue d’uno due camini,

e su tutte le cose, le divine

cose, quel globo dalla mano incauta

d’un fanciullo sfuggito (egli piangeva

certo in mezzo alla folla il suo dolore,

il suo grande dolore) tra il Palazzo

della Borsa e il Caffé dove seduto

oltre i vetri ammiravo io con lucenti

occhi or salire or scendere il suo bene.

 

 

 

 

Umberto Saba (1883-1957) was born as Umberto Poli in Trieste and became one of the most important figures in Italian Twentieth Century poetry. He also wrote prose and served as a soldier in World War I. He died in Gorizia, Italy.

Paula Bohince is the author of three poetry collections, including Swallows and Waves (Sarabande, Jan. 2016). Her translations from the Italian have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Agni, PN Review, and the Journal of Italian Translation. She lives in Pennsylvania.

Read More: Learn More About the Network of Spiritual Progressives

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Jewish Law and Our Most Cherished Traditions Require Justice for Hassan Diab by David Mivasair

 

Night and Elie Wiesel’s Legacy of Transforming Youth Consciousness

Jul5

by: Ari Bloomekatz on July 5th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Source: Flickr (World Economic Forum).

Most of the discussions surrounding Elie Wiesel’s life and legacy seem to be focusing on him as a person, his dubious politics, what his life and survival has meant to Jews and the memory of theShoah, and, to put it simply, what his death means to adults – those old enough to remember his Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 or his efforts to dissuade President Reagan from visiting the Bitburg cemetery a year earlier.

But Wiesel’s legacy in the United States, and in many parts of the world, is not about adults. It’s about children, about teenagers, and, for the most part, his impact on non-Jewish youth everywhere. His legacy will beNight and the legions of American youth who read it.

Nightis how most non-Jewish youth in the U.S. learn about the real horrors of the Holocaust (along with perhaps Number the Stars andThe Diary of a Young Girl) and is one of the most important books in U.S. history not just for its role introducing Americans to the concentration camps, but in many ways also introducing them to Jews.

Night is required or suggested reading in many colleges, high schools, and some middle schools. I’m certain many of those I grew up with in Tennessee – where the first question everyone asked me after I moved there in middle school was “What church do you go to?” – would not have known much of anything about the Holocaust if it hadn’t been forNight.

While Wiesel’s politics have, at times, surely been suspect for progressives, we are forever changed as a society not merely for what he said, but what we’ve read. Wiesel the witness is amplified through Night into something bigger – we are all witnesses.

There have been efforts to banNightfrom schools in the past, and if we want to honor the best aspect of Wiesel’s legacy, we’ll make sure that never happens.

Like most young Jews, Night was not my introduction to the Holocaust and when my father took me to see a public conversation between Wiesel and Maya Angelou when I was young, I had no idea who he was. But I’m spiritually indebted to Wiesel because it was that conversation at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst that helped shape my own thoughts about miracles, the existence (or lack there of) of a God, and a transformative power of the universe.

I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but at one point Angelou the poet asked Wiesel the survivor if, after the horrors of the Holocaust, he still believed in miracles.

I love someone and they love me back, Wiesel said. Isn’t that a miracle?

I talk to someone and they understand me, Wiesel said. Isn’t that a miracle?

The idea of ordinary miracles, of a transformative power that’s not God or God-like but rooted in us as a people, has never been far from my mind after that day. And if we want to honor his legacy, we definitely should keep teaching Night in schools – and we should also understand what a miracle it is to read it.

Ari Bloomekatz is the managing editor of Tikkun magazine.

The False Consciousness of Stewardship

Jun28

by: Eleanor Johnson on June 28th, 2016 | 2 Comments »

According to New York Magazine, citing data from NASA and Bloomberg, it’s been the hottest month in recorded history for a year now. In these temperatures, we’ve got big frozen things melting, low-lying places flooding, hurricanes swooping out of season, trash pools whirling in ever-widening gyres, and species quietly going extinct. The long-term impact of the heating up of the earth’s surface is not entirely clear, but what is clear is that something needs to change.

In all of this discomfiting warmth, I am primarily concerned about people, and I am of a mind to start pointing fingers. Not at big industry, emerging nations, or even the U.S. government. I want to point at people who read the Christian Bible superficially, thus engendering misunderstandings that become powerful and damaging political ideologies. More specifically, I want to point fingers at Christian environmentalists who, with the best of intentions, take on the mantle of environmental “stewardship,” which they derive from the Bible, but actually use that mantle to the detriment both of the earth and to accurate readings of the Bible itself.

I’m talking about the Biblical treatment of stewardship. Many Christians invoke the idea of stewardship as a justification for their environmental stances. In one interpretation of Christian stewardship, God gave the earth unto mankind, so that mankind could act as steward of that gift, using the earth’s resources to the greatest possible advantage. Now, of course, many Christian Environmentalists understand stewardship not as carte blanche to do what they will with the earth, but as an obligation to manage God’s gift responsibly. But all too often, the idea of stewardship is impressed into the service of demands to drill for oil in the arctic or dump massive amounts of waste into the seas because, well, there those places are, kind of big and empty and underused.

What I find fascinating about the discourse on stewardship is that it misses the point of the steward parable – often by wrongly conflating it with the Parable of the Talents. The actual stewardship parable, often called the Parable of the Unjust Steward, tells a story of a steward who is entrusted to manage his lord’s wealth responsibly. But the steward fails in his assigned task, wasting all of the lord’s goods, so that the lord demands an account of his expenditures and fires him from his job. Bad news: it looks like there are pretty dire consequences for mismanaging the lord’s goods. But things get more interesting. In response to getting busted, the unjust steward goes to people who were in debt to the lord, and he reduces their debts by half. Now things get really weird: the lord praises him for redistributing the lord’s wealth in this way, for being “unjust,” and for taking wealth from the lord himself.

Needless to say, this parable has historically been a source of consternation for Biblical commentators. But in the 1380s, a cleric named Thomas Wimbledon had a great insight into it. He delivered a public sermon on the Unjust Steward to a group of Londoners, which emphasized how the steward’s original squandering of the lord’s wealth would have consequences for the weakest, poorest, and most desperate in society, and how that neglect to take care of those in need was his primary crime. Thus, the steward’s redistribution of wealth at the end makes sense: it is direct atonement for the initial act of wasting and squandering.

Now, the circumstances of the 1380s were different; Wimbledon wasn’t protesting environmental squandering by nation-states and corporations. But his fundamental insight is deeply relevant to our current socio-political and environmental situation. The Parable of the Unjust Steward only makes sense if you understand it as a claim for the importance of economic justice, the redistribution of wealth, and the protection of the poor. That is what the Bible endorses as the mandate of a steward. So, if the industrialized nations — in fact, I’ll just say the U.S. – wants to orient its environmental policy around the idea of stewardship, it needs to do so with the awareness that stewardship is ultimately about the protection of other people. Poorer people. People down the ladder of socio-economic stability and security.

In our current geopolitical moment, then, anyone who wants to lay claim to stewardship of the “earth” should actually make an effort to foster economic and environmental justice that will include, for instance, the Global South — the area of the surface of the earth that suffers the most acutely from the ongoing effects of colonialism, structural inequality, and environmental decay. If you want to be a good steward, a good Christian using the earth’s resources well and responsibly, you have to do so with an eye not simply toward the material preservation of what you have been given — like coal, oil, gas, or water — but also toward the people who have less than you have and who are structurally positioned to have less access to what you have.

So, as the earth continues in its perhaps doomed course of warming up, I would like to make a plea that people who rely on the Bible to justify their political stances on the environment read a little more carefully, so as to recognize that, to Jesus, the goods of the earth that we are most meant to preserve are the welfares of its human denizens.

Eleanor Johnson is a professor at Columbia University.

Review: Why People Pray by Mordecai Schreiber

Jun27

by: Alice Ogden Bellis on June 27th, 2016 | Comments Off

Rabbi Mordecai Schreiber’s Why People Pray is a remarkable book. It is ecumenical and yet aware of a great deal of the history of both Jewish and Christian spirituality, as well as Muslim and Eastern approaches. Rabbi Schreiber is learned, but down to Earth. He is not afraid to tackle the difficult questions (e.g., is anybody listening?) nor to give, on the one hand, the honest answer that ultimately we do not know many of the answers, but on the other hand, his own convictions born out of a lifetime of serious searching. The thirty-five chapters are short, most just a few pages, but they are packed with insights for the pious and even the free-thinkers. He quotes sources as disparate as Huckleberry Finn and Thomas Merton, William Blake and the Muslim Al-Hadid, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, and Stevie Wonder and Karen Armstrong, as well as much scripture from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and many traditional Jewish sources.

Born in Israel pre-1948 to secular Jews who had escaped the horrors of the Holocaust in time, Morry Schreiber found his way to religion on his own. Perhaps because of this, his approach to spirituality is fresh and open. He does not preach, but inspires and leads the reader gently to consider the value of prayer. The tone is conversational, and yet a great deal of wisdom from a life lived on three continents and that has traveled much of the globe is packed into this small volume.

The book is divided into three parts: What is prayer? What do people pray for? Prayer today. In the first chapter we learn about Rabbi Schreiber’s childhood and also his general approach to the subject, in which he says, more or less, that to live in a sense is to pray. The second chapter “Is Anyone Listening?” is one of the most important because the author’s honesty and openness is so clear. He admits that we do not know for sure, but he senses a divine presence in his life. Of course, he says it much more eloquently than that. He goes on to talk about the sources of prayer and then the essence of prayer, which he calls the “expression of our deepest emotions” (p.17). In this chapter the range of expression is seen, from the quiet of a traditional Quaker meeting to the exuberant African-American holiness worship service. An interesting chapter on prayer and magic explores the difference between magic in its negative connotations and at the same time explores the positive associations of the word magical in our understanding. Another interesting chapter deals with prayer and sacrifice and notes that after the Temple was destroyed, the rabbis used Hosea 14:3 as a way of transitioning from a religion of sacrifice to one of prayer:

Forgive all guilt

And accept what is good;

Instead of bulls we will pay

[The offering of] our lips[1]

In a chapter entitled “Creative and Static Prayer” the focus is on the need constantly to update written prayer materials so that they will reflect the current context. Nevertheless, some prayers are timeless and seem to be able to cross temporal boundaries better than others. Rabbi Schreiber gives a wonderful example of a fourteenth century Syrian Muslim prayer for peace which would be very appropriately prayed today. The next chapter is a reflection on the power of words, both their positive and their negative power, depending on how they are used. They were used rhetorically in very negative ways building up to the Holocaust, but they can also be used with great positive power. In the chapter called “Prayer, Work and Creativity” the concept of prayer is extended beyond words to the area of human work and especially creative work. The works of Van Gogh and Gauguin are briefly considered in this section.

In the section on prayer and meditation, Eastern spiritual traditions are brought into view, especially Buddhist practice. Rabbi Schreiber notes that in Judaism Kabbalistic traditions and in Christianity contemplation are also forms of meditation. He moves from meditation to life with people, in which he balances the individual nature of meditation with the communal aspects of prayer.

The next chapter is a reflection on praying to God as a father figure, where Rabbi Schreiber admits the problems inherent within Judaism and Christianity given the overwhelmingly masculine imagery in the Bible. He indicates that God is neither male nor female and that there is the Virgin Mary for Catholics, the Shekinah, the feminine divine presence for Jewish women, though this may be too abstract, and women biblical characters now included in the prayer book. What could also be said is that since God is neither male nor female, we can create new imagery for God that is gender neutral or that is binary: God as mother and father, since there is some female divine imagery in the Bible.

In the Kaddish and the Lord’s Prayer, Mordecai Schreiber not only shows the specific Jewish roots of the Christian Lord’s Prayer, but also tells a moving story about a group of Polish soldiers facing death who together recited the Lord’s Prayer, allowing them to go down in dignity. The next chapters deal with prayer and various attitudes/experiences: humility, triumphalism, suffering, repentance, afterlife. The final chapter in Part I deals with the efficacy of prayer. The bottom line is that there are no guarantees, but one should pray anyway.

In Part II about what people pray for, there are chapters on: Healing, prosperity, life cycle prayers, yearly cycle prayers, sabbath and prayer, prayer and peace of mind, prayer and war, and prayer and world peace. Part III on prayer today has several important chapters. “Prayer and the Holocaust” deals with the difficult issues of how to pray in the aftermath of the horrible genocide. The chapter on the “Detractors of Faith” deals with Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins and reflects on how to respond to their attacks on religion. “Prayer for Freethinkers” is a chapter making the case that prayer is not just for the pious, God-intoning crowd; there is plenty of room in his mind for those who are uncomfortable using God-language. The last two chapters are “Prayer as a Way of Life” and “A New Language of Prayer” in which Rabbi Schreiber considers some of the areas in which we need new vocabulary, less sin oriented, more gender neutral, less tolerant of poverty, more eco-friendly.

Why People Pray provides ample material for a study group and includes many anecdotes that will be of use to those preparing sermons. It could be used with teenagers straight through to senior citizens. This is a rare book, delightful, and wise.


[1] Jewish Publication Society, Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1985), Ho 14:3.

Alice Ogden Bellis is the Professor of Hebrew Bible at Howard University School of Divinity.