Very near to You: Human Readings of the Torah/Covenant & Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible/Wisdom by the Week: The Weekly Torah Portion as an Inspiration for Thought and Creativity/Active Hope/The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups/Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World/Happiness

Article excerpt

Very Near to You: The Torah Avraham Burg Cefen Publishing House, 2012

Covenant & Conversation: A Weekly Reading of The Jewish Bible Jonathan Sacks Maggid Books, 2010

Wisdom by The Week: as an Inspiration for Thought and Creativity Edited by Naftoli Rothenberg KTAV Publishing House, 2012

Active Hope Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone New World Library, 2012

The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups Starhawk New Society Publishers, 2011

Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World Dalal Lama Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011

Happiness Joan Chittister William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011

The deeper you get into it, the more the Torah continues to inspire and educate. "Turn it, turn it, for everything is in it," say the rabbis. So, for more than 2,300 years, sensitive and inspired teachers have found within it a wealth of spiritual wisdom. These three books - different in tone but similar in unabashedly presenting new insights that are badly needed in the twenty-first century - draw on that wisdom. All are constructed as commentaries on the weekly Torah portion (parshat hashavua). Avraham Burg is the beautiful soul who became a leader of Peace Now, then a member of the Knesset, then the chair of the World Zionist Organization, then the chair of the Knesset. His engagement with Torah reflects the purity of heart that led him to resign from the Labor Party, to tell Haaretz that "to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end," and to write The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From Its Ashes (2008). Every page of this commentary reflects Burg's Jewish learning (his father was leader of the Orthodox party Mafdal), brilliance, and spiritual sensitivity. We hope it will become one of the foundational books for a renewal of Judaism in Israel.

Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, is a much more conventional thinker, yet quite brilliant in his restrained, refined way. This weekly reading of the Jewish Bible often grapples with philosophically difficult questions but might not satisfy those who wish to break through to the spiritual wealth of Torah. …


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