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Entering Jewish Prayer

"Learning about prayer is a way of entering the world of Jewish tradition, " Rabbi Hammer writes, and the Siddur - the Jewish prayerbook - is the best possible introduction into that world. In it, one is brought face-to-face with Judaism's central struggle for an understanding of God, human life, and the world. Mastery of the Siddur enables one to worship as a Jew and to grasp the essence of Judaism. Now, in this engaging and highly informative book, Rabbi Hammer provides an introduction to the liturgy of the Siddur. More than a "how-to" guide, Entering Jewish Prayer deals with the basic issues in prayer for the modern worshipper; the historical compilation of the Siddur; the orchestration of the daily, Sabbath, and festival prayers; the themes of special prayers, such as the Blessing After Meals and the Kaddish; and the essential experience of making prayer a vital part of one's life. For anyone who has ever felt lost or confused at a Jewish service, or anyone interested in an introduction to this facet of Jewish literacy, Entering Jewish Prayer provides a key to meaningful participation and spiritual growth.
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About the Author

REUVEN HAMMER earned his rabbinical ordination and a doctorate in theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He lives and teaches in Jerusalem.


Hammer, a rabbi who now lives and teaches in Jerusalem, clearly discusses various aspects of Jewish prayer: its forms, history, prayerbooks, and daily order. He covers both Sabbath and holiday prayers, as well as prayers of mourning. Presenting Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform options, he offers practical advice about private prayer and about choosing a synagogue and prayerbook. He addresses issues of sexist language and the exclusion of women from many traditional formulas. Throughout, he encourages the development of deep spirituality. Highly recommended both for Jews and non-Jews.

"Anyone who wants to make use of the traditional prayerbook especially meaningful would do well to acquire this magnificent commentary. [It] will add to one's appreciation of one of Judaism's most prized treasures--its liturgy." --Emanuel Rackman, Chancellor, Bar-Ilan University "Reuven Hammer has achieved brilliantly and with great success what many had thought impossible--an inspirational guide to Jewish devotion wedded to impeccable scholarship." --Louis Jacobs, author of Hasidic Prayer "A useful and enlightening account of the meaning of Jewish prayer. It should be read by all who want to speak to God in the language of Jewish tradition." --Arthur Hertzberg "A thoughtful, helpful book that will open the hearts and minds of many Jews to finding new meaning in the traditional prayer." --Harold S. Kushner "Those who already know how to pray will find this book enhances their knowledge of the service. For those to whom the service is one vast mystery, it will open the door to greater understanding and spirituality." --Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University "Accessible and thoughtful . . . a wonderful place for the beginner to start." --David Teutsch, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

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