Happy Gregorian new year! I'm delighted to be able to begin the year with news that I have an essay in a new anthology of Jewish voices on prayer. It's called Shma Koleinu: A Jewish People's Commentary on the Siddur, edited by Rabbi Steven Schwarzman, and my essay is about one of my very favorite prayers, the modah ani prayer for gratitude.
Here's how the publisher describes the book:
Shma Koleinu: A Jewish People's Commentary on the Siddur will take you through deep reflections on prayers in the Jewish prayerbook, giving you new insights into the prayers and new courage to find your own.
Rabbi Steven Schwarzman and other writers, including rabbis, cantors, and "ordinary" people - people just like you - delve deeply into the prayers, their texts, their history, their melodies - and just as deeply into themselves.
As the Talmud says, come and hear. Come and hear these voices, and use them to strengthen your own voice in deeper Jewish prayer.
Advance reviews have been good, and I'm excited to see the whole book (my copy is on its way to me now.) Here's some of what people are saying:
"Shma Koleinu: A Jewish People's Commentary on the Siddur is just what the Jewish community needs: a commentary that consists of real and personal prayer experiences. This is not a removed, ivory-tower, collection of philosophical theories, but rather a collection of down-to-earth, engaged, deeply felt responses to the Jewish worship experience. That is why it is so powerfully inspiring!" - Rabbi Jeff Hoffman, D.H.L., Rabbi-in-Residence and Professor of Liturgy at The Academy for Jewish Religion, NY.
"Rabbi Steven Schwarzman has gathered a splendid collection of inspiring interpretations of many of the most important prayers in the Siddur. Reading these meaningful and personal readings on the Jewish treasure-house of petitions, supplications, and words of praise, will greatly enhance the spiritual experience of any worshiper." - Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, author of In the Spirit: Insights for Spiritual Renewal in the 21st Century
Order yourself a copy now! If you buy it via this Amazon link, a small donation will be made to ALEPH: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal.