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The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons Hardcover – September 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Every page reveals something new and fascinating in this innovative Jewish calendar that utilizes nature and the universe to mark each day by the holiday, person, characteristic or occurrence that best defines it. Instead of dividing the calendar by months, Hammer guides us through each of eight segments by focusing on seasonal developments and their correlation to the human spirit and experience, interweaving the values of Judaism with the importance of remaining faithful to the natural world. Each day's entry includes a biblical quote, a midrash and an observation highlighting the connection between the text and the months, seasons and cycles of the year. Nearly every Jewish theme is touched upon, providing readers with an excellent overview of Jewish history, life and lore. Hammer expounds nicely upon the day's theme by quoting ancient and medieval Torah luminaries as well as modern-day scholars, but at times, her biblical quotes merely repeat much of what she has already expressed, and the space might have been better used for quoting sources that shed new light. The calendar begins with a well-researched analysis of the myriad elements and divisions of nature, ends with a thorough explanation of solstices and equinoxes, and contains a treasure chest of Jewish gems within. (Oct.)
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Jill Hammer, clearly very knowledgeable in Jewish texts and tradition, reveals how Judaism embraces perspectives on nature and women that we might not credit Judaism with.
I've always tried to keep track of the cycles of the moon and seasons at the same time I keep track of the Jewish year, but it took this insightful, well-educated woman to unite the two in a meaningful and Jewish way. Thank you, Rabbi Hammer!
The introductory sections of the book are informative, and each day, in addition to her own teaching, Rabbi Hammer includes one quote from Tanach (Bible) and one quote from Talmud, Rashi, or other Jewish texts. I expect to turn to this book daily for the next year (and probably years to come), to learn and to deepen my spiritual life.
I can't recommend this volume highly enough. BUY YOURSELF THIS BOOK!
(Just a note: it's bound well, and under the pretty dust-jacket, the brown and gold cover would look really nice next to any Metsudah siddurs or machzors you might own.)