Change Happens: Owning the Jewish Holidays in a Reconstructionist Tradition

Rabbi Sheryl Lewart; Milla Zeltzer [Illustrator]

Published by Cherbo Publishing Group, 2009
ISBN 10: 0615262260 / ISBN 13: 9780615262260
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Synopsis: Change Happens is a fascinating new book that is a fabulous resource AND a wonderful read. By using Change Happens you become part of the evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people and the transformation of Jewish tradition. This richly illustrated book begins with a chapter on celebrating the Sabbath, followed by all the holidays (from Rosh Hashanah through Shavuot) and ending with chapters on observing Rosh Hodesh, Yizkor, and Yahrtzeit. Each chapter opens with a meditation inviting you into a spiritual space where you can begin to envision, plan, and create how you, your family, and friends might celebrate that holiday. Next, a story about the holiday provides a framework for discussion and contemplation for all age levels. Brief reflections about each holiday, with relevant sacred Biblical text, help one discover why the holiday exists, and why within our evolving practices we continue to observe and cherish certain rituals. Another section offers the traditional prayers, rituals, and traditions for the holiday. All this leads to varied contemporary practices that serve as tools to make each holiday meaningful. Each holiday includes a spiritual chocolate moment, a gardening practice, and a tzedakah opportunity. Change Happens offers the opportunity for the reader to discover new practices and participate in the process of being part of an evolving religious civilization, to search for what makes these holidays valuable and important in developing one s own distinct Jewish identity. It is also designed and printed on a paper stock that allows the reader multiple places to insert personal reflections, holiday thoughts, photos and recipes. A perfect read, a perfect gift, this book belongs one very Jewish bookshelf and in the homes of parents, grandparents, college kids, interfaith families, newly married couples, and all families and friends who want to infuse their lives with a renewed sense of celebration and joy.

About the Author: Sheryl Lewart is a spiritual teacher who lectures and leads workshops and seminars in Mystical Judaism (Kabbalah, Hasidism, and Mussar). She serves as a rabbi of Kehillat Israel, the largest Reconstructionist congregation in the world, serving more than 1,000 households, in Los Angeles, California, and gives seminars regularly on values-based decision-making. After graduating from Cornell University with a bachelor of science in child development and family relationships, she taught school in a rural Mennonite community near Philadelphia while studying for her master s degree in education at Lehigh University. As an entrepreneur, she owned both an antiques business and a custom rug weaving business near New Hope, Pennyslvania, before beginning her rabbinical studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. As part of her study, she lived in Jerusalem for a year while attending Hebrew University, and she was ordained in 1994, graduating with a master s degree in Hebrew Letters. From 1994 to 1998, she was Director of Outreach for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, spending the summer of 1995 in Jerusalem. She is a founding rabbinic cohort member of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, which is dedicated to exploring, renewing, and applying the riches of Jewish spiritual traditions in order to enrich the inner lives of Jews and, ultimately, link the search for inner wholeness with social and environmental activism. She is also a member of Spiritual Directors International, whose calling it is to support and encourage holiness around the world and across spiritual traditions. Having studied Spiritual Formation at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California, Sheryl now offers spiritual direction and guidance in order to help others understand that by developing our own spirituality, we discover a deeper intimacy with God and a genuine compassion for all of creation. God, it has been suggested, is the wind that blows our ship, but it is up to us to turn the rudder and shift the sails in order to more fully catch the wind that freely blows. In addition to her many other activities, Sheryl has been an adjunct faculty member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; was the editor of Jewish, Alive & American, an innovative introduction to Judaism and conversion course in national distribution; has written a column for The Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia); and has been published in Reconstructionism Today and The Jewish Journal (Los Angeles). She is a mother and grandmother, and lives with her husband, Bob, in Los Angeles, California.

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Title: Change Happens: Owning the Jewish Holidays ...
Publisher: Cherbo Publishing Group
Publication Date: 2009
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: New

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