Jewish Men Pray: Words of Yearning, Praise, Petition, Gratitude and Wonder from Traditional and Contemporary Sources

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About the Author
Stuart M. Matlins is founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of Jewish Lights Publishing and SkyLight Paths Publishing. Both imprints focus on religion and spirituality from a broad non-denominational perspective. He is author or editor of several books, including the best-selling How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook (SkyLight Paths); The Jewish Lights Spirituality Handbook: A Guide to Understanding, Exploring & Living a Spiritual Life (Jewish Lights); The Perfect Stranger's Guide to Wedding Ceremonies: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People's Religious Ceremonies; and The Perfect Stranger's Guide to Funerals and Grieving Practices: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People's Religious Ceremonies (both SkyLight Paths).Stuart was the 2014 recipient of the Abraham Geiger Medal, an award recognizing outstanding service to religious pluralism, and the 2006 recipient of the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award, an annual presentation of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He was a member of the First Catholic/Jewish Lay Conference at the Vatican in October 2007, an event under the auspices of the Interreligious Information Center.Among his many speaking appearances, Stuart has been the scholar-in-residence or guest lecturer at the National Funeral Director's Association convention, Temple Isaiah (Palm Springs, CA), The Jewish Center of the Hamptons (East Hampton, NY), Temple Sholom (Plainfield, NJ), Israel Congregation (Manchester, NH) and at the annual gatherings of the Jewish Community Centers Association and the Jewish Outreach Institute. He also has been a featured speaker or panel member at many Book Expo America conventions, and at the biennial Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College, as well as at churches and other conferences.Before publishing took over his life, he was a management consultant for over thirty years as a managing partner with Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. and then heading his own consulting firm.He is the cofounder of an innovative synagogue in Woodstock, Vermont, with his wife, Antoinette Matlins, and served as lay spiritual leader for nineteen of its twenty-one years. He has served for over twenty years on the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and was chair of the Board of Overseers of its New York School. He is widely recognized as a leader in the spiritual transformation of Judaism in our time.Stuart is listed in Who's Who in America.
Rabbi Kerry Olitzky led Big Tent Judaism and taught at Hebrew Union College. A leader in the development of innovative Jewish education, he is the author of more than 70 books. He lives in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Daniel S. Alexander is rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in
Charlottesville, Virginia.

Alexandri (third century CE) was one of two Talmudic Rabbis from
the Land of Israel of the same name.

Bezalel Aloni is managing director and producer of Piano Music in

Samuel Barth, rabbi, is senior lecturer in liturgy at The Jewish
Theological Seminary of America.

Hillel Bavli (1893-1961) was a Hebrew poet, author, and professor of
Hebrew literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Shye Ben-Tzur is an Israeli qawwali singer who composes qawwalis
(Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia) in Hebrew.

Chaim Nachman Bialik (1873-1934) was a Russian-born Hebrew
poet and essayist.

Sheldon H. Blank (1896-1989), PhD, rabbi, was a professor of Bible
at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati,

Ben Zion Bokser (1907-1984) was a major figure in the Conservative
rabbinate and an advocate of social justice.

Harold Braunstein lives in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York.

Rabbi Daniel Silberman Brenner is a Senior Teaching Fellow at CLAL. He received his M.A. in Hebrew Letters and his ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Eliezer Bugatin is a Hebrew poet.

Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994) was a rabbi, musician, and founder of
the House of Love and Peace in San Francisco, California.

Avraham Chalfi (1904-1980) was an Israeli actor and poet.

Rabbi Mike Comins, the founder of TorahTrek Spiritual Wilderness Adventures ( and the Institute for Jewish Wilderness Spirituality (, is the author of A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism and Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer Is Difficult and What to Do about It (both Jewish Lights). He studied classical Jewish texts at the Pardes Institute, earned his MA in Jewish education from Hebrew University and was ordained in the Israeli rabbinical program of Hebrew Union College. He was a founding member and the first director of education at Kehilat Kol Haneshama in Jerusalem. He lives, teaches and writes in Los Angeles, and serves as a scholar-in-residence for schools and synagogues around the world.Rabbi Mike Comins is available to speak on the following topics: Finding God in Nature: Buber, Heschel and the Kabbalah on the Experience of Divinity in the Natural WorldHow the Jews Lost Nature and Why We Need to Get Her BackMaking Prayer Real: Why Prayer Is Difficult and What to Do about ItPrayer, Teshuvah and Coping with LossThe Spiritual Dynamics of Traditional Prayer

Howard Cooper is widely recognized as one of the most eloquent and vital new voices of spirituality in the world today. He is a rabbi in London.

Menachem Creditor, rabbi, is the spiritual leader of CongregationNetivot Shalom in Berkeley, CA; author of the poetry collectionFissures and Love; and editor of Peace in Our Cities: Rabbi AgainstGun Violence. His latest musical recording is Within. He blogs

Abraham Danziger (1748-1820), rabbi, was a contemporary of Rabbi
Nachman and author of Chayei Adam.

Harry K. Danziger is rabbi emeritus of Temple Israel in Memphis,

Elazar (end of first century CE), although mentioned by his first name,
was probably Elazar ben Azariah, teacher in the Talmud, whose
name is also mentioned in the Haggadah for Pesach.

Elimelech of Lizhensk (1717-1787) was one of the great founding
rabbis of the Hasidic movement, in Poland.

Dov Peretz Elkins combines the skills of a biblical scholar, the pedagogy of an experienced educator and Rabbi, and the talent of an accomplished writer in this latest book. His previous work, Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul (coauthored with Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen), was a New York Times bestseller. He has a doctoral degree in counseling and education and works as consultant to Fortune 500 companies. Author and editor of over thirty books, he brings a lifetime of experience of teaching Bible to young and old alike. He resides with his wife in Princeton, New Jersey.

Abraham ibn Ezra (1089-1164) was a Spanish rabbi who is recognized
as one of the most distinguished philosophers of the Middle Ages.

Morley T. Feinstein is rabbi of the University Synagogue in Los
Angeles, California.

Rabbi Edward Feld is currently rabbi-in-residence at The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he mentors a new generation of student rabbis. He has served as a college chaplain at Princeton University, Smith and Amherst Colleges and the University of Illinois. He is author of The Spirit of Renewal: Finding Faith after the Holocaust. He has also served as rabbi to New York's Society for the Advancement of Judaism. He is currently chair of the new High Holiday Prayerbook Commission of the Rabbinical Assembly and a member of the steering committee of Rabbis for Human Rights, North America. Active as a teacher of spirituality to university students, scholars and rabbis, he has also worked with Catholic and Protestant spiritual leaders. He was a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and the organizer of its theology seminar.

Sharing his unique and moving message with people around the world, Rabbi Edward Feld has lectured at many institutions of learning, including: The Jewish Theological Seminary; Mt. Saviour Monastery; The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; the University of California; and the University of Chicago.
Rabbi Edward Feld is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Why Words?
  • The Making of a Mahzor
  • Joy and Despair: Reading Psalms
  • A Taste of Talmud: How Do We Talk with Each Other?
  • A Taste of Talmud: Is Compromise Just?

Mordecai Finley is rabbi of Ohr Hatorah in Los Angeles, California.

Adam D. Fisher is rabbi emeritus at Temple Isaiah in Stony Brook,
New York.

Ira Flax is rabbi for youth and education at Temple Beth El in
Birmingham, Alabama.

Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021-1058) was a Spanish-Jewish philosopher
and Hebrew poet.

Elihu Gevirtz has worked as a professional biologist and land-use
planner in Southern and Central California and subsequently
studied for the rabbinate at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los
Angeles, California.

Jeffrey Goldwasser is rabbi of Temple Beit HaYam in Stuart, Florida.

JAY M. HOLDER, D.C., C.Ad., Ph.D. Laureate-Albert Schweitzer Prize in Medicine is Founder and Medical Director of the Exodus Treatment Center in Miami Beach, Florida. He is President of the American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders.

Arthur Green, PhD, is recognized as one of the world's preeminent authorities on Jewish thought and spirituality. He is the Irving Brudnick professor of philosophy and religion at Hebrew College and rector of the Rabbinical School, which he founded in 2004. Professor emeritus at Brandeis University, he also taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he served as dean and president.

Dr. Green is author of several books including Judaism's Ten Best Ideas: A Brief Guide for Seekers; Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow; Seek My Face: A Jewish Mystical Theology; Your Word Is Fire: The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer and Tormented Master: The Life and Spiritual Quest of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav (all Jewish Lights). He is also author of Radical Judaism (Yale University Press) and coauthor of Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from around the Maggid's Table. He is long associated with the Havurah movement and a neo-Hasidic approach to Judaism.

Sidney Greenberg (1917-2003) was rabbi of Temple Sinai in Dresher,
Pennsylvania, for over fifty years.

Judah HaLevi (1075-1141) was a Spanish liturgical poet and author
of The Kuzari.

Jules Harlow, rabbi and liturgist, edited the prayer books for the
Conservative movement, including the Sim Shalom series.

Rabbi Shai Held is cofounder, rosh ha-yeshiva, and chair in Jewish thought at
Mechon Hadar in New York City. He is completing a doctoral dissertation on the
religious thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel at Harvard University. He contributed
to Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections and Jewish Theology in Our Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations and
Future of Jewish Belief
(both Jewish Lights).

Hayim Herring, rabbi, is CEO of Herring Consulting Network.

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was internationally known as a scholar, author, activist, and theologian. He was Professor of Ethics and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, has served for more than three decades as professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He is a world-renowned liturgist and holder of the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair in Liturgy, Worship and Ritual. His work combines research in Jewish ritual, worship and spirituality with a passion for the spiritual renewal of contemporary Judaism.His many books, written and edited, include seven volumes in the Prayers of Awe series: Who by Fire, Who by Water--Un'taneh Tokef; All These Vows--Kol Nidre; We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism--Ashamnu and Al Chet; May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism--Yizkor; All the World: Universalism, Particularism and the High Holy Days; Naming God: Avinu Malkeinu--Our Father, Our King; and Encountering God: El Rachum V'chanun--God Merciful and Gracious. Hoffman also edited the ten-volume series My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; and coedited My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award (all Jewish Lights).Rabbi Hoffman cofounded and developed Synagogue 2/3000, a transdenominational project to envision and implement the ideal synagogue of the spirit for the twenty-first century. In that capacity, he wrote Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life (Jewish Lights).

David A. Ingber is rabbi of Romemu in New York, New York.

Ben Kamin is a nationally known clergyman, teacher, counselor, and author of eight books on human values, civil rights, and spirituality.

Yehuda Karni (1884-1949) was a Hebrew poet from Minsk who
eventually settled in Israel and was on the editorial board of Haaretz
until his death.

Rabbi Paul Kipnes is spiritual leader of Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, California. A former camp director, North American Federation of Temple Youth regional advisor and national award-winning Jewish educator, he lectures regularly on raising ethical, resilient Jewish children.

Eliahu J. Klein is a Jewish chaplain for the State of California.

Jeffrey Klepper serves as cantor of Temple Sinai in Sharon,

Michael Knopf is a rabbi at Har Zion Temple in Philadelphia,

Harold Kohn is a member of the faculty of the University of North
Carolina School of Pharmacy.

Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935), mystic and kabbalist, served as the
first chief rabbi of Israel.

Andy Koren is rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, North

Cary Kozberg is director of rabbinical and pastoral services for Wexner Heritage Village in Columbus, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Ellen, and their four children.

Rabbi Elliot Rose Kukla received his ordination at Hebrew Union College in 2006. Currently a fellow in clinical pastoral education at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, he previously served as the rabbi of Danforth Jewish Circle. Kukla is the author of a number of articles on the intersections between Judaism and justice.

Rabbi Irwin Kula is president of CLAL--The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leading voice for religious pluralism in the Jewish community. A sought-after speaker, he was named by the PBS program Religion & Ethics Newsweekly as one of the 10 People to Watch helping to shape the American spiritual landscape. Fast Company magazine listed him as one of the seventeen new economy leaders, and Forward newspaper named him one of the top fifty Jewish leaders in America. He received his rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Harold S. Kushner is author of the best-selling books When Bad Things Happen to Good People and Living a Life That Matters.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is one of the most widely read authors by people of all faiths on Jewish spiritual life. He is the best-selling author of such books as Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary; God Was in This Place & I, i Did Not Know: Finding Self, Spirituality and Ultimate Meaning; Honey from the Rock: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism; The Book of Letters: A Mystical Hebrew Alphabet; The Book of Miracles: A Young Person's Guide to Jewish Spiritual Awareness; The Book of Words: Talking Spiritual Life, Living Spiritual Talk; Eyes Remade for Wonder: A Lawrence Kushner Reader; I'm God, You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion and other Disguises of the Ego; Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians; The River of Light: Jewish Mystical Awareness; The Way Into Jewish Mystical Tradition; and co-author of Because Nothing Looks Like God; How Does God Make Things Happen?; Where Is God?; What Does God Look Like?; and In God's Hands. He is the Emanu-El Scholar at San Francisco's Congregation Emanu-El and an adjunct professor of Jewish mysticism and spirituality at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is available to speak on the following topics:
- Jewish Mystical Imagination- Rymanover's Silent Aleph: What Really Happened on Sinai- Zohar on Romance and Revelation- What Makes Kabbalah Kabbalah- Sacred Stories of the Ordinary: When God Makes a Surprise Appearance in Everyday LifeClick here to contact the author.

Rabbi Robert N. Levine is widely recognized as one of the most inspiring spiritual teachers of his generation. He is senior rabbi of the largest synagogue on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Temple Rodeph Sholom. A sought-after speaker and media guest, and an active participant in interfaith dialogue and teaching, he is also the author of Where Are You When I Need You?

Stan Levy is founder, rabbi, and spiritual leader of B'nai Horin--
Children of Freedom in Los Angeles, California.

Immanuel Lubliner (1923-1997) served as rabbi of Greenburgh
Jewish Center in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) was a rabbi, theologian, and
physician, in Moorish Spain and then in Egypt, and is considered
by many as the greatest medieval Jewish philosopher.

Mar the son of Rabina (fourth century) was a Talmudic Rabbi.

Craig Marantz is rabbi of Congregation Kol Haverim in Gastonbury,

Danny Maseng is a singer songwriter, and chazzan of Temple Israel in
Hollywood, California.

Daniel C. Matt is a leading authority on the Zohar and Kabbalah. He is the author of the bestselling The Essential Kabbalah (translated into seven languages); Zohar: The Book of Enlightenment; God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science and Spirituality; and Zohar: Annotated and Explained. He was professor of Jewish spirituality for over twenty years at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and he continues to lecture around the country on Jewish mysticism and spirituality. He is the author of the first nine volumes of the annotated translation The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, hailed as "a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought."

Hershel Jonah Matt (1922-1987) served as rabbi of several
congregations, the last of which was the Princeton Jewish Center
in New Jersey.

Ralph D. Mecklenburger speaks nationally on topics related to science and religion, Judaism and Jewish-Christian dialogue. He is rabbi at Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth, Texas, an adjunct faculty member at Brite Divinity School and has served as the Jewish co-chair of the Texas Conference of Churches' Jewish-Christian Forum.

Andrew Meit is a graphic artist and programmer.

Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler is a noted spiritual leader and educator, recognized for his ability to connect the importance of Jewish tradition with everyday life. He is coauthor of The JGuy's Guide: The GPS for Jewish Teen Guys and author of A Man's Responsibility: A Jewish Guide to Being a Son, a Partner in Marriage, a Father and a Community Leader; Witnesses to the One: The Spiritual History of the Sh'ma and Facing Illness, Finding God: How Judaism Can Help You and Caregivers Cope When Body or Spirit Fails (all Jewish Lights). He is the rabbi at Temple Sinai in Sharon, Massachusetts, and an instructor at the Kehillah Schechter Academy.Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler is available to speak on the following topics: The Spiritual History of the Sh'ma: What "God Is One" Might MeanNot Your Father's Brotherhood: What Being a Jewish Man Meant Then and NowHow Judaism Can Help You Cope with Illness

Jay Michaelson has taught Kabbalah, mindfulness, and embodied spiritual practice at Yale University, City College, Elat Chayyim, the Skirball Center, and the Wexner Summer Institute, among other institutions. Chief editor of Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, he is a regular contributor to the Forward, the Jerusalem Post, Slate and other publications. He holds a JD from Yale and an MA in religious studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he is currently a doctoral candidate.

Rabbi James L. Mirel has served as spiritual leader of Temple B'nai Torah in Bellevue, Washington, for more than a decade. He is one of the most respected congregational rabbis in the United States, and has received awards and recognition for his work in Jewish and communal services. He has served as a religion columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and as a radio talk show host on the award-winning God Talk.

Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) was founder of the Breslov Hasidic
movement, known for its spiritual approach to Judaism.

Dr. Louis E. Newman is the John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is author of Past Imperatives: Studies in the History and Theory of Jewish Ethics; An Introduction to Jewish Ethics; and the LifeLights(TM) pastoral care booklet Doing Teshuvah: Undoing Mistakes, Repairing Relationships and Finding Inner Peace (Jewish Lights). Dr. Newman is available for scholar-in-residence weekends and repentance workshops.

Dr. Louis Newman is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Repentance: It's Easier Than You Think, It's Harder Than You Imagine
  • Curses and Stumbling-blocks: How to Relate to the Vulnerable among Us
  • Judaism and Politics: Is Torah Liberal or Conservative?
  • Whistle-blowing: Am I My Brother's (and Sister's) Keeper?
  • The Narrative and the Normative: The Value of Stories for Jewish Ethics

Dan Nichols is a singer and songwriter.

Reb Noson (1780-1844) was the primary disciple and scribe of Rabbi
Nachman of Breslov.

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL (, an inspiring speaker and educator, holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is vice president of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He is a member of the philosophy department, supervises the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and mentors Camp Ramah in California. He is also dean of Zecharias Frankel College in Potsdam, Germany, ordaining rabbis for the European Union. A regular columnist for the Huffington Post, he is author of many articles and books, including God of Becoming and Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology and Passing Life's Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, the Binding of Isaac (both Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL, is available to speak on the following topics:

- Almighty? No Way! Loving the God You Actually Believe in

- What I Learned Ordaining and Installing Uganda's First African Rabbi (and Sailing up the Nile!)

- All God's Children: Sharing Life with My Autistic Son

- Embracing the World: Science and Religion

- Jewish Continuity: What's in It for Me?


"[A] rare book whose execution is as skillful as the need is deep. We need to learn how to pray as men and here is the guidance that will help us along this sacred path."
--Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, California; author, Why Faith Matters

"This is not a book about how Jewish men pray; on the contrary, it is a meaningful, thoughtful, spiritually uplifting book of prayers composed by men ... for anyone and everyone who seeks to be inspired at any moment of the day."
--Rabbi Charles Simon, executive director, Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs; author, Building a Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community

"Beautifully done. I hope it will be used extensively by individuals and organized Jewish men's groups."
--Doug Barden, executive director, Men of Reform Judaism

"Gives you the most sensitive, poignant and powerful words of men at prayer. It will shatter your stereotypes and lift your soul. You'll want to bring it with you to synagogue!"
--Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, editor, The Modern Men's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Jewish Men on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions

"What? Me, pray? Open this book and see if you connect. Here is help finding your voice."
--Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler, author, A Man's Responsibility: A Jewish Guide to Being a Son, a Partner in Marriage, a Father and a Community Leader

"Beautiful, heartfelt, uplifting ... will provide inspiration and guidance to anyone seeking a more intimate relationship with the Divine. I hope this spiritually elegant book is read by people of all faiths."
--Larry Dossey, MD, author, Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine; executive editor, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing

"Offers graceful interpretations of formal prayers and creative writing of soulful 'rebbes' who transform prayer into what it is intended to be--a service of the heart."
--Rabbi Avi Weiss, senior rabbi, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale; author, Spiritual Activism: A Jewish Guide to Leadership and Repairing the World

"A rich collection.... Many men will find themselves resonating deeply with these meditations, which are certainly not for men only."
--Harry Brod, professor of philosophy and world religions, University of Northern Iowa; editor, A Mensch Among Men

"Remarkable--a book of prayers to live by and turn to in good times and in challenging times."
--Rabbi Naomi Levy, author, Talking to God; spiritual leader, Nashuva

"Heartfelt, enlightening, irresistible. Part siddur, part encyclopedia, there's something here to nourish the soul of every Jewish man. I can't put it down."
--Jeff Levin, PhD, MPH, university professor of epidemiology and population health, Baylor University; coeditor, Judaism and Health: A Handbook of Practical, Professional and Scholarly Resources