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Jewish Spiritual Guidance: Finding Our Way to God Paperback – January 10, 2009
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"In engaging fashion, Ochs and Olitzky combine interviews, case studies, stories from ancient Jewish texts and Jewish practices to illustrate the various ways in which people may "find their way to God." (Publishers Weekly)
"This book is so caring, thoughtful, constructive, and healing that it will touch and inspire individuals of every denomination and faith." (Rabbi Irving Greenberg, president, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership)
"Ochs and Olitzky have written a wonderful book that is both grounded in the tradition and responsive to the spiritual and social needs of a new generation. They show how seeker and guide can draw nourishment from our sacred tradition. This book brings Jewish spirituality into maturity. [It is] an invaluable tool." (Rabbi Lawrence S. Kushner, rabbi of Congregation Beth El of Sudbury, MA, and author of God Was in This Place and I, I Did Not Know)
"Interweaving classical Jewish texts with personal narrative, Ochs and Olitzky offer fresh insight into the transformative nature of the human-divine encounter. This enormously helpful guide provides inspiration and illumination to those willing to embark on, or help navigate, a lifelong spiritual journey." (Ellen M. Umansky, coeditor of Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality)
"The authors have joined rays of heavenly light and globs of earthly dust to fuse a Jewish spirituality that is both transcAndental and yet firmly grounded in reality. This excellent handbook makes a significant contribution to those who want to understand and practice spiritual guidance in the framework of Jewish tradition." (Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, spiritual leader of the Jewish Center, Princeton, NJ,and coeditor of Jewish Chicken Soup for the Soul)
"Each verse of an ancient psalm, each story of a spiritual seeker in our lives today, spoke to me. I found myself reading the book not as a report about spiritual direction, but as itself an opportunity to seek and begin to find new spiritual direction in my own life." (Rabbi Arthur Waskow, a Pathfinder of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and author of Down-to-Earth Judaism)
"An inspiring guide for all those who seek a full and rich life. Jewish Spiritual Guidance offers words of challenge and comfort drawn from the great religious teachings of Judaism, and addresses itself to the complexities and confusions of contemporary society." (Susannah Heschel, author of Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus)
From the Inside Flap
This sensitively written book explains the process of spiritual guidance, encourages us to seek it out, and helps prepare those who feel called to become spiritual guides. Drawing from their personal and professional experience, as well as a rich array of traditional Jewish sources, the authors explore what Judaism has to say about the spiritual journey and the ways in which spiritual guidance can help us open more fully to God's presence in our lives.Carol Ochs and Kerry M. Olitzky examine the broad principles of spiritual guidance, describing it as the journey of two people?seeker and guide?through the wilderness toward God. The central relationship is not between the seeker and the guide, they say, but between the seeker and God. The guide is a companion who helps the seeker discover patterns, articulate insights, and remain faithful. All the lessons that the guide teaches the seeker are lessons that the guide is also learning, again and again.Using the book of Exodus, the Song of Songs, and the psalms as roadmaps?and sharing stories of contemporary Jews engaged in their own spiritual explorations?Ochs and Olitzky explore prayer as a relationship with God, listening as a key to recognizing all that is holy, and discernment as a way to distinguish the real from the apparent. They identify fear as an inherent part of the spiritual life and show how, through study, we can re-form our childhood image of God with adult understanding.With caring and insight,the authors help us consider temptation, sin, and repentance, and show us that the spiritual life is not a single challenge or heroic feat, but the shape of a lifetime and the ongoing Andurance of "the desert." The individual journey toward God leads ultimately, they say, to an active spiritual life grounded in community.Jewish Spiritual Guidance draws deeply from a wellspring of traditional sources, including the Torah; rabbinical texts such as the Mishnah, Talmud, midrash, codes, and medieval et