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. His many books, written and edited, include seven volumes in the Prayers of Awe series: Who by Fire, Who by Water--Un'taneh Tokef; All These Vows--Kol Nidre; We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism--Ashamnu and Al Chet; May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism--Yizkor; All the World: Universalism, Particularism and the High Holy Days; Naming God: Avinu Malkeinu--Our Father, Our King; and Encountering God: El Rachum V'chanun--God Merciful and Gracious. Hoffman also edited the ten-volume series My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; and coedited My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award (all Jewish Lights). Rabbi Hoffman cofounded and developed Synagogue 2/3000, a transdenominational project to envision and implement the ideal synagogue of the spirit for the twenty-first century. In that capacity, he wrote Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life (Jewish Lights).
"Add[s] a great deal to the understanding of the prayers....
[Will] appeal to an American Jewry searching for a deepened
spirituality without compromising pluralism."
--Jewish Book World"By juxtaposing ... different commentaries, we get some sense of how rich, how suggestive, and how alive the words of the Shema are.... Enlightening.... [Introduces] us to the world of Jewish thought that centers around these six inexhaustible words."
--Jewish Book World"Lucidly reviews prayer's development and current structure."
--Hadassah"Beautifully produced ... will provide insight to the prayer service to anyone, whether an accomplished scholar or a novice seeking meaning in the prayers. The translations, which are new for this series, are quite meaningful.... A useful addition to the library of anyone who desires to find more meaning in their davenning."
--Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs Torchlight"Thorough."
--Reform Judaism"[An] outstanding guide to the siddur.... Engages the mind and heart ... [and] demonstrates the joy that can be found in the study of Jewish texts. And it challenges one 's assumptions at whatever level of understanding one brings to the text. What more could one ask of a book?"
--Houston Jewish Herald-Voice"A remarkable achievement.... The caliber of the commentaries and the beautiful format of the book make this an exceptional work."
--Conservative Judaism Quarterly"The first [prayerbook], in any language, deliberately to acknowledge and exploit the rich variety of ways in which modern Jews approach their liturgy.... Represents an important step in ... creating the tools for English-speaking Jews ' greater spiritual engagement with their liturgical heritage."
--CCAR Reform Jewish Quarterly "Christian readers will be enriched by this exploration of Jewish prayer as the oldest and deepest roots of Christian prayer.... Rich."