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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book, September 5, 2009
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This review is from: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book, the kind I have been looking for. It is an easy read and yet has a lot of deep concepts that makes one think. This combination is rare. This books takes the reader on journey through the High Holy Days in ways that anyone can relate to and helps the reader get prepared for the Holidays themselves. I have not been able to get through any one chapter in one reading. As I read each section I get lost in contemplation and in thinking about the content. This is a must have for every Jewish library including both the novice and yeshivah educated and all in between.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Someone with a passing interest in spiritual development, October 6, 2005
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This review is from: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (Hardcover)
This is a powerful book about opening your heart. Rabbi Lew combines Eastern philosophy with Jewish wisdom so that the reader enjoys the best of both worlds. The basic approach is that the Jewish High Holy Days provide us with an annual opportunity to acknowledge the dark shadows in our soul, accept our inevitable flaws, failings and transgressions, and emerge from the process fresh, whole and reinvigorated. Rabbi Lew writes beautifully and the message hits home. Highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable book for preparation for the High Holidays, or anytime., June 9, 2008
This review is from: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (Hardcover)
This is an invaluable book for preparation for the High Holidays; I think non-Jews would also benefit from Rabbi Lew's ideas. We go through life trying to shield ourselves from the inevitabilities of disappointment, death, and decay, at the same time insulating ourselves from joy and from the needs of others. Rabbi Lew focuses on the time from Tisha B'Av, the fast day commemorating the destruction of the Second Temple and other tragedies, to Sukkot, the harvest holiday where we acknowledge our vulnerabilities and celebrate joyfully in roofless shacks, having examined our lives, admitted our brokenness, forgiven slights against us and also forgiving ourselves. With additional Buddhist perspective that never falls into Buddhism Lite, this is a profound book that should be read over and over again.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growth and Depth During the High Holidays, September 28, 2011
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Eric Maroney (Trumansburg, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (Hardcover)
Rabbi Alan Lew, z"l was a pulpit rabbi (conservative) and a long time practitioner of mediation. For a decade before he became a rabbi, he practiced Zen type mediation.

His other two works, One God Clapping, and Be Still and Get Going, reflect this ongoing commitment to being halakically Jewish and also practicing mediation techniques that are inspirited by Buddhist tradition.

This work, This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared is his most Jewish in the sense that he takes the specific content, practices, ideas and liturgy of the time period from Tisha b'Av and Sukkoth and provides a conceptual framework that allows for growth and depth to the High Holiday experience.

The book in informed by his eastern religious background, but not dominated by it. When Rabbi Lew expresses that this world is but a fleeting thing, a narrow bridge with darkness on either side, he simply expresses very well-known rabbinical dicta about existence.

Our existence IS fleeting. Our time is short. Rabbi Lew reminds us that waking up to the reality of our transitory nature can make us see reality and ourselves for what it/we truly are; it can help us to see what is important in this little crack of light between the two zones of darkness that is our life.

Sadly, Rabbi Lew passed away in 2009. Reading this book with that in mind places the work in an almost prophetic light; several times Rabbi Lew expresses how close he feels to death based on his experience as a pulpit rabbi. He realized, watching so many people die, that death awaits us at at anytime. Sadly, he was right. But he left us some deeply intelligent and humane works as a legacy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Real and You Are Completely Umprepared, October 3, 2008
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This review is from: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (Hardcover)
Thoroughly worthwhile read before and during the High Holidays and after. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a fuller understanding of what's possible for the mind and heart at this time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful book, August 7, 2012
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This review is from: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (Hardcover)
This is a must read for High Holiday preparations. No one writes as movingly on the topic as Alan Lew. I did a lot of research looking into several alternatives and all were bland compared to Lew's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing, December 5, 2011
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This review is from: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (Hardcover)
This book fell into my hands at the very moment that I needed. The deailed composition, the vibrant style and the ascending rythm are breathtaking from beginning to end. Later I have read other books by the same author and I did not like them very much. But this one is really out of this world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!, December 12, 2013
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This review is from: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (Hardcover)
I re-read this book every year starting with Tisha b'Av. It always deepens my spiritual journey and helps me prepare for the High Holy Days.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!!!, December 9, 2013
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The book is so very relevant to everyone's day to day existence. It is extremely helpful in helping to sort out and solve probelms
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5.0 out of 5 stars an inspiring and educational book, September 22, 2013
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This is an inspiring, educational, and comforting book. I will recommend it to everyone I know who is trying to deepen their understanding of spirituality, tradition, Judaism and Jewish history. I will also recommend it to people who are trying to understand forgiveness. The process of reading the book in the last week has been like sitting with a kind teacher and storyteller, and listening to the stories and practices connected to the High Holidays. A deeply enriching experience.
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This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation
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