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Changing the World from the Inside Out: A Jewish Approach to Personal and Social Change Paperback – October 11, 2016
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“This wise book is essential reading for anyone who recognizes that the world’s problems demand spiritual solutions, because it is we who must change before we can expect to change the world. Rabbi Jaffe draws on deep and time-tested Jewish wisdom to guide us to become more effective activists by bringing our highest truth to bear on public issues. He shows us how to tap the wellsprings of motivation, channel emotions, and align our behavior with our highest values to make us more effective in serving the public good. Changing the World from the Inside Out is full of valuable lessons that will help ensure that your holy light shines like a beacon in these dark times, when we need it so much.”—Alan Morinis, author of Everyday Holiness
“David Jaffe offers an incisive investigation into the key questions that confront anyone who hopes to make individual or systemic change. He encourages us to understand our motivations and drives—and how to use these to move toward the change we want, to help others move with us, and to not burn out in the process.—Ruth W. Messinger, former President of the American Jewish World Service
“Changing the World from the Inside Out combines sweeping, idealistic visions to repair the planet with practical, realistic approaches that enable this to get done, one step at a time. It offers a path with directions how to repair one’s self and grow into a kind, understanding, nurturing partner in progress.”—Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, President Emeritus, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
"An inspiring integration of musar (inspirational) literature and practice with numerous examples of how one can take the insights of that “inner” discipline and use it to make a difference in the world.”—Raddi Sid Schwarz, New York Jewish Week
About the Author
DAVID JAFFE is a rabbi, a social worker, and an educational consultant to many major Jewish institutions in North America. He's a nationally recognized leader in the field of Mussar and applied Jewish ethics, and he is a frequent speaker at synagogues and Jewish conferences around the country. He's spent twenty-five years teaching and working in various areas of social justice outreach, including homelessness and interfaith community organizing. www.rabbidavidjaffe.com
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This book does an amazing job of explaining both Mussar and other Jewish teachings in a way that an everyday person can understand. What differentiates "Changing the World" from other Mussar books is the focus on social justice. Jaffe uses stories from his time as a community organizer, as well as other stories from social justice leaders to explain different aspects of Mussar practice.
Ultimately, if we want to change the world, we first need to change ourselves. If you are a social activist, looking to strengthen your resolve or overcome those things inside holding you back, this is a great book for you. And if you are on the spiritual path, the explanations of Mussar and real life examples will serve as both inspiration and a roadmap on your journey of personal transformation. I highly recommend that you buy it.
This book is beautifully written and is full of wisdom regarding how to manage one's inner life as an activist, idealist, and change agent. Jaffe mixes personal insights and vivid stories with deep Jewish philosophy and practices. For Jews, it's a window into a long tradition of Jewish approaches to spiritual development. For activists of any faith, it's a guide to understanding how to stay involved in the struggle to create change without burning out. The book is a gift that shares hard-earned wisdom gained over more than three decades as a scholar/ activist.
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Ever since I began the study of Mussar, fourteen years ago, I have asked my...Read more