January 26, 2020
Since his passing over twenty years ago, the absence of Rav Professor Yitzhak (Isadore) Twerky zt”l has been sorely felt by those who learned his Torah, studied his scholarship, and saw in him a model of spiritual engagement integrated with intellectual rigor.
We are now gratefully in the debt of R. Twersky’s disciple, Rabbi David Shapiro, who has published the first volume of Torah of the Mind, Torah of the Heart: Divrei Torah of the Talner Rebbe on Bereshit and Shemot (Urim Publications), which records a sampling of R. Twersky’s teachings in the Talner Beis Midrash where he served as the Admor (the only Harvard Professor ever to lay claim to such a position outside the Ivory Tower). The short essays in the book, arranged according to the weekly portion, focus on religious-philosophical themes. Central among these are: the need for humility and inwardness, avoiding routinization in religious life, developing sensitivity to God’s role in our daily encounters, and the centrality of kedusha and our responsibility to generate it within society.
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December 9, 2019
Hadassah Magazine’s Guide to Jewish Literature
“During my teaching career I often had students entering the field of medicine and nursing. I would tell them to always remember that they are doing God’s work. Rabbi Dr. Goldstein is such a person, who did God’s work as a chaplain for close to forty years… Rabbis, social workers, physicians, nurses and children with aging parents will want to read this book.”
-Rabbi Dr. Norman Strickman.
September 27, 2019
Roger S. Kohn, Silver Spring, MD ● AJL News and Reviews
This a traditional Haggadah, with translation in English, supplemented by a commentary that is drawn from twelve books and three articles of Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits (1908–1992), a Modern Orthodox rabbi and educator. Almost two hundred excerpts are included here, and a quarter of these are from only four books, Faith after the Holocaust, 1973 (17 excerpts), Man and God, 1969 (13), God, Man, and History, 2004 (13), and Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, 1945 (11). The excerpts can be quite long, often over one or two pages, and introduced in the translation with a word or words in bold type; the same expression found in the translation is then used to introduce the excerpt. As the editor warns us in his introduction, the excerpts are all from published works “sometimes with abridgments and slight edits.”
Recommended to all readers interested in the writings of Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits.
September 26, 2019
Harvey Sukenic, Hebrew College Library, Newton Centre, MA ● AJL News and Reviews
Benjamin Epstein, a Jerusalem-based psychologist and
rabbi, argues that Jewish mindfulness is both a traditional Jewish practice and
essential to our spiritual life and growth. He sees mindfulness, termed yishuv hada’at, as not mere tranquility or
peace of mind, but rather “settling into (unifying with) present moment
awareness.” For Epstein, yishuv hada’at is a fundamental way of looking at life, indispensable
for our basic spiritual life and growth. This state of mindfulness, he posits,
can be achieved by anyone with practice and work. Living in the present moment
is key to connecting to the Divine. We can be aware of the Divine in everyday
life, and in our religious life, but to achieve this, we need a change of
attitude; we need to let things be as they are, to slow down, be in the moment,
to explore and control our thoughts.
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March 22, 2019
Jewish Media Review ● Dov Peretz Elkins
Have you ever questioned the
purpose of our earthly existence? Why am I here? What is my role in the overall
scheme? And what should I do to make that purpose meaningful and fulfilling?
The answer, explains Psychologist and Mindfulness Meditation teacher and
consultant Benjamin Epstein, is by “Living in the Presence.” Living in the
present has become a therapeutic cornerstone; living in the presence transforms
the technique into a life-changing experience. With exquisite simplicity,
straightforwardness, and heartfulness, “Dr. Benjy” presents an approach culled
from the teachings of the great Jewish spiritual masters that span thousands of
This approach demonstrates
how Jewish tradition is extraordinary in conjoining the Divine and the mundane,
essentially postulating that the present moment–each present moment– holds
the key to connecting to the Divine. Imbuing workaday life with transcendent
meaning, this book demonstrates that our awareness of the divinity manifest
within the present moment consecrates the present with presence, and makes it
both meaningful and holy. This book is designed to introduce you to who you
are, as God made you, and to the gift God has placed within you. Living
in the Presence – a Jewish Mindfulness Guide for Everyday Life provides
a practical and hands-on roadmap to discover purpose in your life, to capture
and experience some of the benefits of the world-to-come…right now, in this
Rabbi Benjamin Epstein,
Ph.D. is an experienced psychologist, author, and speaker who blends
traditional Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) with cognitive
behavioral, spiritual, and acceptance techniques. Dr. Benjy works effectively
across a broad spectrum of age groups to enhance well-being by teaching how to
live more mindfully and in the present. In addition to his private practice and
mindfulness seminars, he spends his summers as the Director of Staff
Development and Clinical Research in Camp HASC.