Catalogue


The journey home : discovering the deep spiritual wisdom of the Jewish tradition /
Lawrence A. Hoffman.
imprint
Boston : Beacon Press, c2002.
description
223 p.
ISBN
080703620X
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Boston : Beacon Press, c2002.
isbn
080703620X
catalogue key
4701115
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman is professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College -- Jewish Institute of Religion. His studies on spirituality form the basis for "Synagogue 2000," an internationally recognized institute helping synagogues to become moral and spiritual centers for the twenty-first century. Hoffman writes a column on the weekly Torah portion that is syndicated in the U.S. and abroad, and lectures widely to Jewish and Christian audiences
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
Chapter 1 Returning Home Spirituality with Jewish Integrity Return, O Israel, to Adonai, your God. Hosea 14:1 Return again, return again, return to the land of your soul. Current liturgical song My first brush with spirituality came with an unexpected question, back in 1975. Literally and metaphorically, I was far away from home giving a guest lecture to the Theology Department of the University of Notre Dame, on the rituals of Passover. "What is the spirituality of the seder?" a woman wanted to know. "You have talked for a week, covering every conceivable aspect of the Passover experience, but not once have you addressed anything spiritual. Isn't there such a thing as Jewish spirituality?" Unbelievable as it may seem a quarter of a century later, I was at the time completely stumped: I had no idea what to say. The next day marked my return in more ways than one. I was newly committed to discovering the spiritual foundations of Judaism, and my journey home to Jewish spirituality is still in process. More than twenty-five years have passed since then, but the curiosity over Jewish spirituality has only grown. Now, not only Catholics at Notre Dame want to know what it is. Everyone is asking the question. And they are mostly getting the wrong answers. The search for spirituality is endemic to North American society. Its sociological roots lie in the demise of extended families, neighborhoods, and ethnic communities. Demographically, It is an outgrowth of baby- boomers reaching middle age; their parents living longer in retirement years; and the generation in their twenties and thirties postponing marriage and looking for some abiding principles of life as they change careers and try out new identities. It comes from the information explosion which instantly connects us with far-off traditions that we once would have considered alien. It arises from the panoply of worldwide religious traditions migrating from countries we never heard of to our own neighborhood and work place. It is a consequence of feminism, which has successfully critiqued the solo voice of corporate men in church and synagogue seminaries and boardrooms. It is the result of a national distrust of institutional wisdom, and a concurrent failure of denominations to speak as compellingly as they once did. Psychologically, it grows from the "me-generation" claim that each of us has a self; that the self is sacrosanct; and that the self needs nurturing within, not just without. It is especially important to see just how pervasive the spiritual search has become. It is not just a leisure-time project of intellectuals; spirituality has become big-business, fueled by rampant marketing in a popular vein. Book shelves stock every conceivable tract on the life of faith. I have yet to encounter The Underground Guide to the Babylonian Talmud or Thomas Aquinas for Fools, but I know they are coming. They will sit alongside an undifferentiated melange of offerings on such topics as returning from the dead, health foods from the Bible, channeling and rolfing. Spirituality was mainstreamed in the 1990s. A 1994 Newsweek cover trumpeted "The Search for the Sacred: America's Quest for Spiritual Meaning," and two years later, it diagnosed America as "hooked on the paranormal." By 1998, even The Wall Street Journal ran a lead story about executives who hunt down spiritual directors to monitor the state of their soul for "internal movements of God"; and as late as July, 2001, Fortune Magazine carried a cover story entitled, "God and Business: The Surprising Quest for Spiritual Renewal in the American Workplace." This popularized spirituality was a far cry from what anyone could have predicted back at Notre Dame in
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2002-06-10:
HWe can go home again but to a home we never knew we had, says Hoffman, author and professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College in New York. He defines home as the "deep-down insights of Jewish tradition: its liturgy of blessings; its metaphors that connect life's dots; its thrill of textual discovery; its rootedness in a sacred land; its honest spiritual thinking; and [during times of suffering] its insistence on the simple presence of human meeting." His book explores each of those concepts as a path of Jewish spirituality, which he redefines as "the system of connectedness by which we make sense of our lives." Through seamless excursions into history, law, comparative religion, art, music, literature, psychology, sociology and philosophy, he examines the Jewish way of "mapping reality" to meet our most important challenge: finding shape in our lives. Hoffman's powerful yet simple explanations of Jewish basics are often themselves rooted in metaphor: for example, he compares the stages of life to the books of the Torah (Genesis as childhood, Deuteronomy as old age). Reading the Mishnah (the Jewish legal code) for spirituality, he says, is like "reading the raw data of the Census Bureau for world history." Yet he manages to explain precisely why that, too, represents a spiritual undertaking: to master its incredible detail is to open one's eyes to the presence of God in minutiae. Hoffman's lucid and eloquent interpretations will appeal to Jewish and non-Jewish readers searching to understand Judaism and to "connect the dots" in their own lives. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2002-06-15:
Rabbi Hoffman is a respected author on matters of Judaism whose books include What Is a Jew? and Israel: A Spiritual Travel Guide. In this book he takes up the question of Jewish spirituality in an attempt to address the current climate of spiritual seeking, in which many members of traditional faiths find themselves unfulfilled and either augment their practice by borrowing from other traditions or abandon their tradition altogether. Hoffman's basic premise is that much of what passes for spirituality these days is superficial and unstructured compared with the richness of well-established traditions. Unfortunately, the text doesn't make a case for the spiritual richness of Judaism that is likely to satisfy the type of disaffected seeker Hoffman describes. His own understanding of the tradition and the fulfillment it affords him is, however, evident, and perceptive readers will find this inspiring. The real strength of the book is its overview and analysis of Judaism, which makes it a useful guide for non-Jews who want to understand what it means to be a practicing Jew. This title would work well for most public and academic collections but is not an essential purchase. Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, June 2002
Publishers Weekly, June 2002
Booklist, July 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Discovering the Deep Spiritual Wisdom of the Jewish Tradition "Larry Hoffman is one of contemporary Judaism 's most perceptive and creative teachers." -Lawrence Kushner, author of Eyes Remade for Wonder Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman is widely recognized as a leader in bringing spiritual innovation into modern Jewish life and worship. Now, drawing on a lifetime of study, he explores the Jewish way of being in the world-the Jewish relationship to God and to questions of human purpose that lie just below the surface of biblical and rabbinic literature. This is Jewish spiritual wisdom-the wisdom that unites thousands of years of texts and ritual. In learned but accessible language Hoffman discusses: the importance of blessings, that quintessentially Jewish form of prayer, and what they reveal about the Jewish worldview the meaning of study in Jewish life, and what it tells us is sacred the spirituality of being a "landed" religion, and what Israel stands for in the Jewish imagination the significance of Jewish metaphors for shaping our lives how Judaism speaks spiritually even to the suffering The Journey Home is a book for spiritual seekers everywhere: Jews looking for the spiritual component of Judaism, Jews estranged from their roots, and non-Jews who wonder what Judaism has to say about life's great questions.
Publisher Fact Sheet
Drawing on a lifetime of study, Hoffman explores the Jewish way of being in the world--the Jewish relationship to God and to questions of human purpose that lie just below the surface of biblical and rabbinic literature.
Unpaid Annotation
Discovering the Deep Spiritual Wisdom of the Jewish Tradition"Larry Hoffman is one of contemporary Judaism 's most perceptive and creative teachers." --Lawrence Kushner, author of Eyes Remade for Wonder Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman is widely recognized as a leader in bringing spiritual innovation into modern Jewish life and worship. Now, drawing on a lifetime of study, he explores the Jewish way of being in the world--the Jewish relationship to God and to questions of human purpose that lie just below the surface of biblical and rabbinic literature. This is Jewish spiritual wisdom--the wisdom that unites thousands of years of texts and ritual. In learned but accessible language Hoffman discusses: the importance of blessings, that quintessentially Jewish form of prayer, and what they reveal about the Jewish worldview the meaning of study in Jewish life, and what it tells us is sacred the spirituality of being a "landed" religion, and what Israel stands for in the Jewish imagination the significance of Jewish metaphors for shaping our lives how Judaism speaks spiritually even to the suffering The Journey Home is a book for spiritual seekers everywhere: Jews looking for the spiritual component of Judaism, Jews estranged from their roots, and non-Jews who wonder what Judaism has to say about life's great questions.
Table of Contents
Returning Home: Spirituality with Jewish Integrityp. 1
Connecting the Dots: The Spirituality of Jewish Metaphorp. 19
Living with Blessings: The Spirituality of Stewardshipp. 45
Living by Torah: The Spirituality of Discoveryp. 68
Having a Home: The Spirituality of Landednessp. 95
Spiritual Thinking: The Spirituality of Translationp. 123
When It Is Night: Spirituality for the Sufferingp. 160
A Fourth Generation: Spirituality of Communityp. 189
Notesp. 215
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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