Worlds of Jewish Prayer: A Festschrift in Honor of Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi

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9780876685822: Worlds of Jewish Prayer: A Festschrift in Honor of Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi
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Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, known simply as Reb Zalman to his many devoted followers, was born in Poland to a hasidic father who had a deep interest in Western culture. As such, he grew up and was educated in both secular and religious schools in Vienna, where the family had moved and lived until the Nazis arrived in Austria. As Reb Zalman says of his upbringing, "I went to yeshivah and at the same time attended a leftist Zionist high school, where I learned Latin and modern Hebrew. I danced the horah with Marxist Zionists and also celebrated the farewell to the Sabbath with Orthodox anti-Zionists. My father wanted me to go both to gymnasium (secular co-ed high school) and to yeshivah after school. My own life - not only my father's - was always full of contradictions."
After receiving rabbinic ordination from the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York, in 1947, Reb Zalman began a lifelong career that would take him from roles as congregational rabbi to university professor. He has studied and taught with major religious figures in Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, and Christian traditions, served as Hillel chaplain, helped plant the seeds of the Havurah movement, ordained scores of rabbis and influenced countless others, has written over 175 books and articles, and created a number of audio and video cassettes.
His energy and enthusiasm have made him one of the most well known and beloved rebbes of our time. Reb Zalman was the person who taught many rabbis, Jewish scholars, poets, and songwriters to "rehydrate the freeze-dried" prayers of the prayer book, tie the words on the page to the experiences of a life "of spirit, soul, heart, mind, and body. " Worlds of Jewish Prayer is a festschrift, a tribute to Reb Zalman in an offering of words from students and colleagues on a subject dear to his heart, davvenology. Davvenology is a term coined by Reb Zalman to denote the study of davvenen.
What is davvenen? "Just as the eskimos have many words for snow, because their lives depend on it, so the Yiddin have many words for prayer, for we are a praying people," says Reb Zalman. "But davvening differs from both prayer and worship. . . . Davvenen is living the liturgical life in the presence of God. " Reb Zalman teaches that we must remember the Holy Presence not only in our sacred assemblies and feasts, but in the passing moments of our lives that have the potential for sanctity.
Worlds of Jewish Prayer: A Festschrift in Honor of Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi includes more than forty contributions on how to davven in new and exciting ways, including the use of dreams, meditations, and rituals, and how to bring davvenen into the process of repairing oneself and the world. Pieces by noted authors Arthur Green, Lawrence Kushner, Harold Schulweis, and Howard Schwartz, and feminist writers Ruth Brin and Deena Metzger, are gems set in a dazzling tiara of spiritual riches. It is a collection of interest to all who wish to connect their prayer lives to their dreams of a better, more joyous world or who seek to revitalize their worship.

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