Words for Blessing the World: Poems in Hebrew and English, by Herb Levine

Article number: 1934730645
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“Herbert Levine’s poems build a precious bridge across the secular-religious gap in Jewish life with top-of-the-line intellectual and spiritual building materials. His work engrosses, exalts, and amuses me all at the same time, bringing me to many of the ah-ha! moments that liturgy and poetry, at their best, can evoke.” — Lawrence Bush, editor, Jewish Currents “These writings express a profoundly earth-based theology in a language that is clear and comprehensible. Herbert Levine has thought through his ideas and expresses them in a plain style that won’t be denied. These are works to study and learn from.” — Rodger Kamenetz, author of The Jew in the Lotus “Words for Blessing the World by Herbert Levine, a collection of poems and prayers in Hebrew and English, is a learned and sincere engagement with Jewish tradition. The author suggests that we can pray ‘in a world without a master.’ The poems express a faith that is committed to human evolution toward more compassion, love, unity and justice. We might call this Judaism without supernaturalism if the title had not been taken nearly 85 years ago by Mordechai Kaplan. It is still a very relevant project. The poems are resonant with Biblical poetry and story. The Hebrew is elegant and prayerful. Altogether, this collection is a gracious and powerful spiritual tool for our time.” — Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg, author of God Loves the Stranger: Stories, Poems and Prayers; co-founder of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. “In his timely and thought-provoking Words for Blessing the World, Herbert Levine takes us on a moving and challenging journey of the spirit. ‘To know that enough is as good as a feast,’ he writes with the wisdom of one who has struggled with the desires and terrors of existence. His poetry is instructive, its language in the register of everyday speech, yet with a complexity that combines scientific facts with a human search for meaning. These are private and public prayers, poems that demand of both the speaker and the reader to address the world in which we live – where there is violence and hatred between brothers – with compassion toward the self and others. He asks, ‘what difference does it make if you have heard the voice of the oppressed and don’t change your life?’ His poetry can awaken us to action, as Prospero says in The Tempest ‘The rarer action is/in virtue than in vengeance.’ — Linda Zisquit, author of Havoc: New and Selected Poems

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