Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life

Product Details
$19.99  $18.59
Jewish Lights Publishing
Publish Date
6.04 X 0.64 X 8.98 inches | 0.74 pounds
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About the Author

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.

He has written and edited many books, including All the World: Universalism, Particularism and the High Holy Days; May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism--Yizkor, We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism--Ashamnu and Al Chet, Who by Fire, Who by Water--Un'taneh Tokef and All These Vows--Kol Nidre, the first five volumes in the Prayers of Awe series; the My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries series, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; and he is coeditor of My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries (all Jewish Lights), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

Rabbi Hoffman is a developer of Synagogue 3000, a transdenominational project designed to envision and implement the ideal synagogue of the spirit for the twenty-first century.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, is available to speak on the following topics:

  • A Day of Wine and Moses: The Passover Haggadah and the Seder You Have Always Wanted
  • Preparing for the High Holy Days: How to Appreciate the Liturgy of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
  • The Essence of Jewish Prayer: The Prayer Book in Context and Worship in Our Time
  • Beyond Ethnicity: The Coming Project for North American Jewish Identity
  • Synagogue Change: Transforming Synagogues as Spiritual and Moral Centers for the Twenty-First Century

Click here to contact the author.


"No one involved in synagogue life should miss the privilege of using these new, creative and imaginative tools to re-create their synagogue as a sacred community, and a place that is welcoming, accepting and alive with excitement."
--Jewish Media Review

"A must read for lay leaders, professionals, congregants--anyone truly interested in doing synagogue in a new way.... Synthesizes powerful ideas from sociology, economics, history, physics and other disciplines ... gives us a distinctively Jewish take on synagogue life. If you want to change the conversation about synagogue transformation and have something radically meaningful to say, this is the book for you."
--Lee M. Hendler, author, The Year Mom Got Religion: One Woman's Mid-Life Journey into Judaism; past president, Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Baltimore

"Challenges lay leaders as well as Jewish professionals.... Provides a creative and fresh approach to 'doing synagogue'.... A wonderful resource."

"An important study.... A powerful and persuasive case for rethinking synagogues as sacred communities, above all else."
--Prof. Jack Wertheimer, provost, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America

"Daring.... A passionate call to reawaken core beliefs ... and reexamine the meaning of living and passing on the Jewish faith."
--Midwest Book Review

"Challenges many of our assumptions about synagogue and Jewish communal life, and offers a new lens through which we can examine those changes that may be necessary.... When the glorious history of American synagogues in the twenty-first century is written, there is no doubt that Hoffman will be acknowledged as one of the primary architects of its transformation, revitalization and health."
--Rabbi Daniel Freelander, vice president, Union for Reform Judaism

"The first book to address the practical issues of transformation for contemporary American synagogues. A must read not just for synagogues but for all congregations.... Uniquely balances the academic with the practical. Those looking for 'how do I do it' best practices will find plenty of nuts and bolts here."
--Rabbi Aaron Spiegel, Indianapolis Center for Congregations, Inc.