From Publishers Weekly
Have you dreamt recently that an ox kicked you? According to the Talmud, a long journey awaits you. Have you dreamt of wheat? Ancient wisdom says that peace will follow you throughout your life. Scholar and author Ochs does not pretend to be a Joseph who can interpret dreams with divine help. She does, however, set the stage for individuals to tackle their own dreams from a Jewish perspective. Ochs admits that she once thought of dreams as part of her private life, not subject to Jewish laws and teachings, and that her own Jewish dream knowledge was limited to biblical stories and dream sequences from Fiddler on the Roof. Then she discovered the Talmudic tractate Berakhot (Blessings), which opened a rich new resource. "I learned that long after biblical dreamers such as Abraham and Joseph, who saw their dreams as encounters with God, and long before modern dream interpreters such as Freud and Jung, who saw dreams as insights into the unconscious mind, the best Jewish minds of antiquity were putting their heads together to make sense of dreaming." Written with her daughter Elizabeth, Ochs divides her book into two sections: an overview of Jewish teachings on dreams and their interpretation; and a variety of "dream practices," such as keeping a book of dreams and preparing for dream "incubation" (a kind of intentional dreaming to solve a problem or answer a question). This slender book, illustrated with vivid paintings in deep dream-like blues, can clear a new pathway to self-knowledge.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Vanessa L. Ochs is the Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies and associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. A recipient of a fellowship in creative writing from the National Endowment of the Arts, she is author of several books, coauthor of The Jewish Dream Book: The Key to Opening the Inner Meaning of Your Dreams, and co-editor, with Rabbi Irwin Kula, of The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices: CLAL's Guide to Everyday & Holiday Rituals & Blessings (both Jewish Lights).
Vanessa L. Ochs is available to speak on the following topics:
- Jewish Ritual Innovation
- Jewish Feminism
- What Makes a Jewish Home Jewish
- Raising Kids with Jewish Values
Elizabeth Ochs is a student at Brown University. Her writing appears in God Within: Our Spiritual Future—As Told by Today's New Adults (SkyLight Paths).
Kristina Swarner is the award-winning illustrator of Yiddish Wisdom and Yiddish Wisdom for Parents (Chronicle). She lives in Chicago.