This month, in honor of Black History Month, I wanted to bring you a reading list featuring books by Black Jewish Writers. The Jewish community is a rich tapestry of many diverse voices and our literature is reflective of that. I’m looking forward to adding these books to my own reading list and learning more…
Judaism and Wellness 18 Great Books for You
Explore 18 books on wellness from a Jewish Point of View in celebration of National Wellness Month. Caring for your mental health is an important aspect of maintaining your overall well-being. August is the perfect month to start a new self-care routine.
To get you started, I’ve assembled a list of 18 titles that focus on Jewish rituals and practices to incorporate into your daily life to help with a new routine. Whether you’re a wellness novice or an expert, there is sure to be a title on this list to enhance your learning.
Join the conversation! Share your favorite wellness titles in the comments section, at the bottom of the page.
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Jewish traditional foods often have symbolic meanings. A Passover matzo is a taste of Egyptian slavery. The Hanukkah latke reminds us of the little jug of oil that burned, miraculously, for eight nights. Noshing hamentaschen at Purim, we remember the villain Haman, and his thwarted plan to destroy the Jews. Even more than in the synagogue, Jewish life takes place around the dining table. Jewish sages compare the dining table to an altar, and that isn’t an exaggeration. Jewish meals are ceremonies and celebrations that forge a pathway between body and soul. In this unique cookbook, Carol Ungar links the cultural and religious symbolism of Jewish foods to more than one hundred recipes drawn from international Jewish cultures and traditions. She offers easy-to-follow recipes for Shabbat meals and all the Jewish holidays, from Rosh Hashana to the nine days before Tisha b’Av, along with fascinating briefs on how many Jewish foods―challah, kreplach, farfel, and more―express core Jewish beliefs. With ingredients that can be found in any supermarket, and recipes adapted for the time- and health-conscious cook, this volume is for anyone who wishes to flavor Shabbat and holiday meals with Jewish soul.
Too often our health takes a back seat to our daily needs, ultimately draining our energy and making personal wellness a distant goal. For those seeking physical, emotional, and mental wellness, Kabbalah can be a powerful framework for employing energetic healing methods to restore balance in our lives. In this traditional approach to wellness training, Mark Stavish clarifies in detail the various schools of Kabbalah and how they can be applied in practical methods for healing and overall health. With simple, sustained practice – taking as little as fifteen minutes a day – you can restore your health and wellness using: •Techniques of guided imagery •Easy exercises that build upon one another •Powerful meditations, prayers, and rituals With a Kabbalistic approach to wellness, you’ll find your search for a heightened state of consciousness happily balanced with the practical health and wellness in daily life.
This book introduces an approach to mental health that dates back 3,000 years to an ancient body of Jewish spiritual wisdom. Known as the Connections Paradigm, the millennia-old method has been empirically shown to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. After being passed down from generation to generation and tested in clinical settings with private clients, it is presented here for the first time to a wide audience.
The idea behind the paradigm is that human beings, at any given moment, are either “connected” or “disconnected” across three key relationships. To be “connected” means to be in a loving, harmonious, and fulfilling relationship; to be “disconnected” means, of course, the opposite. The three relationships are those between our souls and our bodies, ourselves and others, and ourselves and God.
These relationships are hierarchal; each depends on the one that precedes it. This means that we can only connect with God to the extent that we connect with others, and we cannot connect with others if we don’t connect with ourselves. The author, Dr. David H. Rosmarin, devotes a section to each relationship, and describes techniques and practices to become a more connected individual. He also brings in compelling stories from his clinical practice to show the process in action.
Whether you’re a clinician working with clients, or a person seeking the healing balm of wisdom; whether you’re a member of the Jewish faith, or a person open to new spiritual perspectives, you will find this book sensible, practical, and timely, because, for all of us, connection leads to mental health.
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SEVEN PRAYERS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE: HOW TO USE JEWISH SPIRITUAL WISDOM TO ENHANCE YOUR HEALTH, RELATIONSHIPS, AND DAILY EFFECTIVENESS by Leonard Felder
The prayers from Seven Prayers That Can Change Your Life will assist you on a stressful day whether you consider yourself religious, spiritual, not very religious, or very skeptical. These 7 profound sources of strength include: How to Start Each Morning with a Much Better Frame of Mind. How to Refocus When You’re Feeling Stressed or Distracted. How to Resolve Tension and Misunderstandings Between You and Someone Else. A Creative Way to Unwind and Find Peace at Least Three Times a Day. Going Deeper into Prayers for Healing and Wholeness. How to Break Free from a Habit that Hurts You or Others. A Highly-Effective Way to End the Day with Deeper Insights and Serenity.
Using the Ten Commandments as a gateway, learn how Judaism teaches habits that lead to a healthy mind, body and spirit. Each Spark leads to a healthy habit or mindset. Suggestions at the end of each chapter help you apply the Spark to yourself, your family, your workplace and even your congregation. Each chapter also has a pathway to learning more about Judaism’s sacred texts and liturgy. No need to know Hebrew or have any prior Judaic knowledge, but any knowledge you do have will just lead to more profound connection!
This book is for mental health professionals, clergy, and researchers interested in the relationship between religion, spirituality and health in Judaism. A concise description of Jewish beliefs and practices is followed by a systematic review of the research literature, and then by recommendations for clinical practice based on the research findings. The author is a physician researcher who has spent over 30 years investigating the relationship between religion and health, and directs Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health. He is also a clinician who for decades has treated clients with a wide range of emotional disorders using a faith-based approach. In this well-documented and highly cited volume, he brings together over 50 years of research that has examined how religious faith impacts the mental health of those who call themselves Jews, and explains what this means for those who are seeking to provide hope, meaning, and healing to members of this faith tradition.
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Are you feeling overwhelmed, tired, even out of order? Does your life sometimes seem lost and out of control? Our world is busier than ever. Stress, anxiety, and fear are emotions that run rampant throughout our society. What if there was a way to be refreshed every week? What if there was a way to increase personal and family health, productivity, and spiritual peace? What if this way was simple, tested, and proven to work? Great news! There is a way to have restorative, refreshing rest. This rest is the kind which produces peace, order and health. In this book you will learn how G-d designed a weekly, monthly, and annual calendar so you can experience a passionate full life. This book will give you the Biblical plan and pattern of our creator, the historical realities, and a modern path to real, genuine G-d ordained REST. Take your life back as you discover The Art of Rest that lies in Shabbat!
Breaking the Jewish Code: 12 Secrets that Will Transform Your Life, Family, Health, and Finances by Perry Stone
The Jewish people have thrived for more than four thousand years under both good and unthinkable circumstances. In Breaking The Jewish Code, Perry Stone helps readers unlock the amazing secrets to this success. Anyone can apply these time-honored principles in their life to create wealth, live in health, build faith, raise successful children, and pass on generational blessings! Topics include:
- Understanding the Hebrew Covenant with God and why it works
- The feasts, Sabbaths and celebrations: why success is also about family and having fun
- The significance in the names you give your children o The spiritual principles of wealth and prosperity
- How to leave a legacy and pass on the blessing to future generations
- And much more!
Vladimir Solovyov, one of nineteenth-century Russia’s greatest Christian philosophers, was renowned as the leading defender of Jewish civil rights in tsarist Russia in the 1880s. The Burning Bush: Writings on Jews and Judaism presents an annotated translation of Solovyov’s complete oeuvre on the Jewish question, elucidating his terminology and identifying his references to persons, places, and texts, especially from biblical and rabbinic writings. Many texts are provided in English translation by Gregory Yuri Glazov for the first time, including Solovyov’s obituary for Joseph Rabinovitch, a pioneer of modern Messianic Judaism, and his letter in the London Times of 1890 advocating for greater Jewish civil rights in Russia, printed alongside a similar petition by Cardinal Manning. Glazov’s introduction presents a summary of Solovyov’s life, explains how the texts in this collection were chosen, and provides a survey of Russian Jewish history to help the reader understand the context and evaluate the significance of Solovyov’s work. In his extensive commentary in Part II, which draws on key memoirs from family and friends, Glazov paints a rich portrait of Solovyov’s encounters with Jews and Judaism and of the religious-philosophical ideas that he both brought to and derived from those encounters. The Burning Bush explains why Jews posthumously accorded Solovyov the accolade of a “righteous gentile,” and why his ecumenical hopes and struggles to reconcile Judaism and Christianity and persuade secular authorities to respect conscience and religious freedom still bear prophetic vitality.
Judaism and Health: A Handbook of Practical, Professional and Scholarly Resources by Jeff Levin, Phd, MPH
This authoritative volume—part professional handbook, part scholarly resource and part source of practical information for laypeople—melds the seemingly disparate elements of Judaism and health into a truly multidisciplinary collective, enhancing the work within each area and creating new possibilities for synergy across disciplines. It is ideal for medical and healthcare providers, rabbis, educators, academic scholars, healthcare researchers and caregivers, congregational leaders and laypeople with an interest in the most recent and most exciting developments in this new, important field.
Dr. Sheinkin offers Jews and non-Jews a basic initiation into the origins, history, principles, symbolism, language, and disciplines (including meditation methods) of Jewish spirituality and mysticism. It is an integral treatment of Kabbalah that speaks from the depths of classical Judaism, but is sensitive to contemporary spiritual seekers. The author creates a remarkable synthesis of psychology and mysticism. He gives a vast cosmic view of history within the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life doctrine, resting the outer world in the remarkably profound foundations of the inner world of the ten basic spiritual forces of the sefiroth.
Healing and the Jewish Imagination: Spiritual and Practical Perspectives on Judaism and Health by Rabbi William Cutter PhD
Where Judaism and health intersect, healing may begin.
Essential reading for people interested in the Jewish healing, spirituality and spiritual direction movements, this groundbreaking volume explores the Jewish tradition for comfort in times of illness and Judaism’s perspectives on the inevitable suffering with which we live.
Pushing the boundaries of Jewish knowledge, scholars, teachers, artists and activists examine the aspects of our mortality and the important distinctions between curing and healing. Topics discussed include:
- The Importance of the Individual
- Health and Healing among the Mystics
- Hope and the Hebrew Bible
- From Disability to Enablement
- Overcoming Stigma
- Jewish Bioethics
Drawing from literature, personal experience and the foundational texts of Judaism, these celebrated thinkers show us that healing is an idea that can both soften us so that we are open to inspiration as well as toughen us―like good scar tissue―in order to live with the consequences of being human.
The Jewish people have special concerns, approaches, and attitudes about health and wellness, due in part to certain illnesses known as “Jewish genetic diseases,” such as Tay-Sachs, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher, and others. Beyond these genetic diseases, however, the entire range of topics and issues related to health and wellness has long been of great interest to the religious and secular Jewish community. Jewish tradition has developed many special approaches to health and health-related issues, based on the hallowed traditions and precepts found in the Torah, its commentaries, and the vast literature written by rabbinic authorities throughout the centuries. Similarly Jewish secular culture has developed many special attitudes and approaches to the issues in this book regarding women’s health, nutrition, raising children, caregiving, and other special issues.
The Hadassah Jewish Family Book of Health and Wellness, written in collaboration with Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, known throughout the world for its leadership as a major force in health research and education, provides a much-needed resource and guide to physical health and spiritual issues that are of concern to Jewish families.
Creating a Life that Matters is a provocative, insightful guide to finding meaning amidst the often confusing challenges of today’s complex world. Whether it’s the personal struggle to discover the purpose of life, or difficulties in relationships in marriage and parenting, or answers to the ultimate questions of life, death, and a deeper connection with God, Rabbi Friedman offers a witty and sometimes not-so-commonsense approach to what matters most: living each moment with peace of mind, fullness of heart, and real, lasting happiness.
In this brief yet profound meditation on the meaning of the Seventh Day, Heschel introduced the idea of an “architecture of holiness” that appears not in space but in time Judaism, he argues, is a religion of time: it finds meaning not in space and the material things that fill it but in time and the eternity that imbues it, so that “the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals.”
oseph B. Soloveitchik, the rabbi known as “The Rav” by his followers worldwide, was a leading authority on the meaning of Jewish law and prominent force in building bridges between traditional Orthodox Judaism and the modern world. In The Lonely Man of Faith, a soaring, eloquent essay first published in Tradition magazine in 1965, Soloveitchik investigates the essential loneliness of the person of faith in our narcissistic, materially oriented, utilitarian society.
In this modern classic, Soloveitchik uses the story of Adam and Eve as a springboard, interweaving insights from such important Western philosophers as Kierkegaard and Kant with innovative readings of Genesis to provide guidance for the faithful in today’s world. He explains prayer as “the harbinger of moral reformation,” and discusses with empathy and understanding the despair and exasperation of individuals who seek personal redemption through direct knowledge of a God who seems remote and unapproachable. He shows that while the faithful may become members of a religious community, their true home is “the abode of loneliness.” In a moving personal testimony, Soloveitchik demonstrates a deep-seated commitment, intellectual courage, and integrity to which people of all religions will respond.
More for Your Reading List
In honor of Women’s History Month, I’ve compiled a list of books celebrating Jewish Women. As I was working on this list, I tried to pull from a variety of experiences. While this is by no means a comprehensive list, I hope I’ve managed to represent a number of view points across different time periods.…
According to the CDC 1% of the world’s population, or about seventy-five million people has an autism spectrum disorder. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I’ve compiled a list of books featuring Jewish writers and Jewish characters featuring people and characters impacted by autism. This is the fourth installment in my monthly series, celebrating the…
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